I chose white everything when I did my room. White walls, white doors, white desk, white shelves. Even the frames and fairy lights are white. Symbolism was never my intention—though it is my nature—I just thought it would be harder to get tired of the absence of colour than colour itself.
But it is Day 48, and I have grown tired. I tire of white. In my once dreamless sleeps, I have begun to see colours I used to take for granted.
I see the scarlet of my lips, the smoke of my lids, and the seafoam of my top as I glance at myself before I head out in the morning. The jade of the damp grass I avoid treading, because I dislike how the heels of my charcoal pumps sink into the copper mud beneath. The slate of the sidewalk that a pair abreast, in their navy shirt and mustard sundress, insist on taking up in its entirety.
I see the livid of the morning sky over the coal of the highway, as my driver describes the cerulean of the same sky over his beloved Sydney. The ochre of the walls in my office, the berry of the slippers my colleague dons, and the silver of the mirror that sits by my monitor. The primrose of the seasoned rice I decline at lunch, and the emerald of the ripe avocado I accept.
I see the amber, salmon, and vermillion of the sky at six reluctantly give way to the ink and denim of eight. The hickory of my best friend’s hair, and the salt of her new blouse at Friday night dinner. The ruby of the tuna and the gold of the tempura they serve alongside the beige, ivory, and clover soup.
It is Day 48, and I have grown tired. I tire of white. But I understand how fortunate I am to be able to see this white, how it is because of the ones who continue to brave the reds, blues, greens, and yellows each day that I am able to see this white.
It is Day 49, and I am thankful and hopeful.
An attempt at prose poetry for one who's always found solace in free verse. Here's to all the essential workers who brave the outside world each day in these strange times to keep things running for the rest of us. Please, if you're not an essential worker, or conducting an essential activity, stay home. Do it for them, for you, for yours, for everyone.