The Palette of Love

by Francesca Weekes

You said you hated pink.
Up until the age of nine and four months,
pink – pretty, pearly, rosy pink – was utterly acceptable.
But now you’re nine, nine and four months,
and the only colour for you is blue,
cool blue, like an ocean in your room.
I wait a little, for you to change your mind.
But every time I look, I see smooth blue walls
reflected in the sunscape of your hazel eyes.
I give in.

We buy a pot of blue. It’s called Blue Lagoon
and makes me think of mists sweeping back
across an almost-grey lake.
You say it’s like my eyes, but I know
they were never that forgetful.

We paint your room in broad swathes of blue.
I hold the roller; you do the fiddly brushwork.
Your hand is remarkably steady.
The smell rises like the sky, or bread.
We have to stick our heads out of the window
and pull funny faces.

You get paint on your nose,
and fling some at me.
We throw colour like warriors.
By the end of the day, we are spattered
like robins’ eggs.
I make lunch in cans like builders would have:
egg sandwiches, red apples and coffee cake.
We eat, sitting in a room with walls
as blue as the Pacific.
It’s as perfect a day as any.

When you come to me a few months later,
frown pasted firmly on, telling me about
your friend whose room has white walls,
I am happy that I can wrap my arms around you
and rest my chin on top of your head,

That I can say, It doesn’t matter what colour
surrounds us, as long as it’s a happy one.
The walls of our lives don’t matter
once we’ve torn them down,
as we always do by living.
The castle of our hearts will always remain standing.
Paint your walls whatever colour you’d like, love,
as long as your heart’s in it.

But I quite like the blue.
Perhaps we could stick with it for a little while longer.