The Sparkle and the Shame
It was Mrs. Dayle who first gave me a term for the way I thought - "picture words".
"Look out the window and tell me what you see." Hands waved around the room, "the sky," "a bird", "the flag"... and then Mrs. Dayle said "I see red, white and blue, our country watching over us and our need to watch over her." I fell in love right then for the first time in third grade.
And so, when we were assigned a story I wanted it to be perfect, dripping with picture words for Mrs. Dayle, of the slate blue hair who perfumed the space between she and I with the soft scent of talcuum powder. Our assignment was to write a short story about a color. I picked blue of course in her honor. My father, passing by as I stared at the ceiling thinking, added that blue didn't always have to be a color but could be a feeling. I wrote a story about a little girl who was orphaned and missing her father on her birthday, "desperate in the 'slashing rain' to share one more cake with him" she cries herself to sleep, only to wake and find a sodden box on the front porch, when she slowly opens the lid there inside is a pink spun sugar cake with the words Happy Birthday Baby.
Mrs. Dayle read my story aloud and said that I had a 'rare talent'. Because my father had told me that a color could be a feeling I felt only shame as Mrs. Dayle's slate blue eyes sparkled, mine lowered to the scuff marks in waxed tiles on the school-room floor.
submitted at 4:23am
13 February 2011
Pearl Ketover Prilik's web: