| Yellow. A pale yellow, slightly watered. That was what color I saw when he came home and told us what the doctors said. That was the color I saw on the back of my eyelids when I closed them. He said, “It will work out. It will be fine.” And I smiled like I believed him. And I went to him and hugged him. He felt pale yellow, watered and washing away.
Yellow faded to purple. A purple that looked like it used to be rich and regal and soft and bright and dazzling, but was now rubbed and worn, faded to traces of what it used to be. That is what I saw when his joints glazed over and he sat in a chair with wheels and a bag with fluid and smiled at me. I saw him weak and tried to smile at him. And I put my arm around his shoulders, and was afraid to hurt him if I hugged him. He felt purple, worn out and tired.
Purple faded to a pink mist. Nothing permanent. A floating dream, a hope. That is what we all felt when the doctors said it would get better. That he would remember where his door was. Where to go to sleep. When to take his pills. And I smiled at him, happy and hoping, and he smiled back. And I held his arm, because I was afraid to hurt him if I put my arm around him. He felt pink, in a mist of dream, but also confusion.
Pink vanished. A deep dark blue. A well. Falling. That is what I was when he looked at me and squinted. And I smiled at him. And he asked me where he was. And I told him he was in the hospital. And he asked me why he was there. And I told him because the doctors were making him better. Then he looked at me, and asked me who I was. And I smiled at him, and held his hand, because I was afraid to scare him. He felt blue, azure, forever swimming in the dizzying whirlpool that is life.
Blue dripped to a slow green. It was an artichoke green. A grass green. That was the color when he asked me why he never saw the grass anymore. And I told him he would see the grass when the doctors made him better. And he asked me if I was a doctor. I said no. He asked me if I was there to hurt him. I said no. And he asked me, “Then why are you here?” and I smiled at him and told him I loved him. And he asked why. He didn’t remember anymore. And I smiled at him and pushed his wheelchair, because he didn’t want anyone but the doctors to touch him. And it was green, even though tears are blue.
Red. Not an angry red. A surprise red. Harsh. Shocking. That was what I saw when they told me I had two weeks. Maybe more. Maybe less. And I went to him and kissed his forehead, even though he protested and called to the doctors to take this stranger away. And I told the doctor I wanted him to see the grass, because the grass was green, and he had been a week ago. The doctor said maybe tomorrow. And I smiled at him and told him he would see the grass. And he looked at me confusedly, and asked who I was and why I cared about grass. And he wasn’t red, and I wasn’t red, but the moment was red.
Now black. Or white. I can’t decide. It doesn’t matter now. It was less than two weeks. I’m sure of it. And the doctor told me to come in and say goodbye so they could do it, and I sat next to him and wanted to hug him but didn’t want to tangle the wires. And I wanted to hold him but I didn’t want to hurt him. So I touched his hand and he looked at me blankly, not knowing who I was, and neither did I. And I told him about grass, the grass I knew he’d never see. And I talked to him while they gave him the medicine and stepped back. They told me it may take a few minutes. And he looked at me. And he didn’t know where he was. And he didn’t know what he was. And he didn’t know who he was. And he didn’t know who I was. But he did remember to tell me seventy-one. Seventy-one what? I asked. Sonnets he said. Then he squinted at me and asked me who I was. And he turned his head away and closed his eyes. And I started to cry, and he rolled his head back to face me, and his eyes were open. And he didn’t know, but he was seventy-one. And I hoped that where ever he was, he was happy with his grass and his sonnets, and maybe knew who I was, because I didn’t.
I don’t care what color. I looked up sonnet seventy-one. And it said:
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell.
Nay, if you read this line, remember no
The hand that writ it, for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe,
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I, perhaps, compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I am gone.