Color

One day he woke up and he was old, said he only knew by the cracks in his feet: they hadn’t been there when he was slipping them into bell-bottoms and stepping into boots–a time divided neatly between color and greyscale. In the box: black and white, outside it: psychedelia. I was raised in the time of 1080p but I humor him. We are sitting in the garden of our house on a rusted picnic set with chairs that swing back and forth but only barely. His sock-covered feet slip in and out of his black rubber slippers. He swirls his instant coffee in his red mug. This is how he was raised: milk for his cereal, coffee mate for his coffee. I’m eating bread and getting crumbs on my chin. We go inside when the sun gets too hot. The sudden shade of the house tinges everything green. We stumble a little and lean on each other. He climbs the stairs slowly so I pause at the landing to wait. I look at a photo on the wall of him and my mother in Manila in the 70s, posing against a stranger’s BMW. When he gets to where I’m standing, he only says one word: Savory. As in chicken, as in lazy susan, as in the sign in signature font scrawled in scarlet in the background, as in burned down five years ago. At his funeral, I wear white and it becomes simpler to me–before: Kodak full-color, after: a box, scentless flowers.

 

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