His and Hers
His: Caught red handed
The girl lying before him was black and blue
Hers: Golden opportunity
Rose coloured view of a day made for two
Hers: It was Valentine’s Day, and Mark was going to propose. Valerie knew it, and she was giddy. He’d been acting strange towards her all week - She’d spotted him catching glances at her across the room, his knee bobbing nervously. So she had read all the magazine articles, done her studying - the signs were all there. Mark didn’t know, but Valerie had been watching his finances - inexplicably, he was saving up to riches. One of her rings was missing (stolen to measure the size, she figured), he’d asked for access to a few accounts - Valerie, of course, had never been secretive about her private wedding board on Pinterest. Best of all, they had a very romantic evening plan. Mark had been hinting about the “special” plans for days, and Val could sense her partner’s excitement behind all the nerves. She herself was excited beyond words.
His: Today was the day. The day where he would finally execute his plan, where he would finally start his life how he wanted, with whom he knew he’d be safe. His longtime girlfriend, Val, had gotten mysteriously interested about his money all of a sudden, and while he couldn’t find anything odd on her own accounts, he was beginning to suspect something off. Mark knew better than to let this go on - his own gold digging mother had nearly ruined things for Mark and his father. He had to end it. He was nervous, of
course - but that was why he was hiding behind the most romantic day of the year. Val would be thinking of everything but sabotage on this night.
Val entered their hotel room that night to Mark pouring out champagne into crystal flutes, smiling to himself. The window to their hotel room was thrown open, but the curtains were drawn, fluttering gently in the wind like wings. Four vases stuffed full of blood red roses scattered the room, filling it with heavenly perfume. The largest bouquet lay on the coffee table next to the bottle of champagne. Soft petals from its flowers lay artfully on the glass surface, curled up to the ornate ceilings. The couch faced the door, a beautiful thing - deep red, upholstered, with curving arms and elaborate claw feet. Val’s lips parted in awe at the beautiful room, her gloved hand coming to rest over her heart. Her dress was beautiful - a satin slip, fiery red, complemented by her lace gloves and shining lips. Mark wore all black - a tight button down tucked into fine dress pants. His dark hair was slicked back, his sleeves rolled to just below the elbow. The two were bare-footed, a tradition for this perfect, golden couple.
The night did not end perfect or golden for these two, though the sunrise shone through the sheer curtains, illuminating the room with a seraphic glow. The night ended rather with Val beaten and bruised, bloody and unbreathing on the antique carpet. It ended with Mark on his knees, his heart aching but his head sure what he’d done was just, necessary. At the end of the night, Mark pressed the heels of his bloody hands into his eyes one last time and took a deep breath. He raised his head, lifted his eyelids - and stared directly into the busboy’s eyes, wide with fear
She steps out of the front door looking resplendent
Her hair falls in ultramarine waves like a swimming pool
Her delicate sister follows
Dirty blonde hair parted to one side
The sister slings her grey purse over her shoulder
The strap resembles a seatbelt
They walk through the trees
Air smelling heavily of pine and sap
The base of the sky
Is streaked in reds and oranges
From the setting sun
The rest of the sky
Standing on tiptoes
Fingers brush pale petals
Pine replaced with lilac
Trees are climbed
Two heads of hair
Swing in sync
Like a grandfather clock
In the warm summer evening
With lover’s initials
And scribbly pentagrams
Littered with cigarette buts
And strands of gum
Blue gum everywhere
Dollarama is closed
The blue haired girl
Turns the air blue
Enters corner store
Purse strap snaps
Silver coins roll everywhere
Frees plastic cup
Bites off straw wrapper
Blows into sister’s face
Pushes on leaver
Electric blue froster
For a slippery cup
And the heavy drink tumbles
A puddle of blue slush
Stuck between the devil
And the blue sea
Feet are washed
In sudsy water
Pine and lilac
Replaced with soap
Plastic bags and free drinks
The girls walk into the night
Gossiping and giggling
Bloodstains line the sidewalk
Broken pearly whites
Numbed with icy
Strawberry lemonade and
They stop on top of a hill
Photos are taken
Of the girl with the bloody mouth
And the girl with her heart on her sleeve
A blue night
They open the screen door
And step inside
A wisp of ultramarine hair
Before the door closes
I am sitting in the big chair outside a room with a big brown sign that says “Dr. Jenkowitz”. “Autism spectrum” are the two words I catch, and I hold onto them in my mind like butterflies trapped in a net. My mommies look sad when they come out. I am colouring when mommy comes to me and said "You have to go to a new school, sweetie, one where there's more kids like you", and I finish the wings on my butterflies. They are blue. I write on the back "Me, mommy, and mommy" so I won’t forget.
My mommies take me to the zoo. There are hundreds of people here -- I’ve counted them all -- and most of them have a mommy and a daddy and a pretty little kid. Pi, 3.14. That’s the average number of people in a Canadian family. The normal number. I like numbers, but I don’t like people, especially number 127. “This is a zoo, not a circus” he says when he walks by, and my mommies just smile all nice and pull me along. They take me to see the elephants, Moody and Rudy, and I colour them in yellow in my “Scavenger Hunt at the Toronto Zoo!” colouring book because yellow is the colour of happiness.
It should be the first day of grade three, but here there are no grades, just a big white and red banner above the door that says "Learning together, making friends!" in bubble letters. A smiling lady with sticky pink lipstick comes over to tell me where to hang my bag. Her breath smells of old coffee, and I tell her this. I think maybe she is blue because she frowns, but then her face is red like a tomato and she puts me on a carpet in the corner named “The Reflection Spot”. She walks back over to the other smiling lady (who does not smell like old coffee) and they start talking about me and “Extensive Socialization Therapy”. I pick a marker out of my bag and start to draw on my arm. I draw my pet fish, Sun, who isn't named that because he's red like the sun. He's named after the author of "The Art of War", a book covered in red.
"Hi, uh, can I sit?"
It's a girl. She has yellow hair (I was told it's polite to call it blonde) and faded blue jeans. I've seen her in class, but she never comes over. I say yes, because that's what you're supposed to do when someone comes up to you. She asks me what I'm drawing. I point to the school yard and hand her the paper.
"It's really nice, but where's the grass?"
I follow her to a tiny patch of grass on our mostly-asphalt yard. She sits down in the grass and brushes her hands in it like she's stroking a cat. "Sit" she says, and I do.
Mom once told me that the phrase "being green" is being new at something. When the girl, Elizabeth, reaches out her hand to shake mine, I realize we're both green together.
I am odd, I am new
I wonder if you are too…
A poem. That’s a poem mom showed me when the others were teasing me. She told me that I’m not alone -- that there are other kids like me.
… I want not to feel blue
I am odd, I am new "
Blue… am I blue? I remember being blue. I am blue. I am yellow. I am red. I am green.
I pick up my crayons, the ones that hadn’t left my pencil case for years because I’m too old for kid stuff.
I am Moody, I am Rudy. It’s warm and sunny out and I am up on mommy’s shoulders so it feels like I am one of the elephants. I am yellow.
It forms on the page. I am two trapped butterflies, the words ‘autism spectrum’ trying to fly free from my mind. I am my mommies’ tears at night. I am blue.
It forms on the page. I am Sun, my dead fish. He used to slam himself against the glass of his bowl and people thought he was stupid. Maybe he was just trying too hard for people to understand. I am red.
It forms on the page. I am me and Elizabeth on the grass. She talks and I listen, and she never asks anything of me, she just tells me stories and I draw them. I never had a friend before. I am green.
It forms on the page. I am blue. I am yellow. I am red. I am green.
I am me.
I am a spectrum, a rainbow on the page. Maybe that word isn’t so bad after all. Maybe it’s just different.