Copyright 2016 Lea Tassie
Shakespir Edition March 2016
Cover photo copyright 2016 by David Wagar
All rights reserved.
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I love blue, I said to the woman on the park bench. It’s my favorite color. Blue skies, blue sea, blue butterflies in Costa Rica, fluttering through the soft afternoons.
The sea we’re looking at out there isn’t blue, she said. Water is clear. It looks blue in sunlight only because it is reflecting the sky.
You are obviously a practical person, I said, but I prefer to think of the sea as blue. Deep blue, green-blue, gray-blue, azure.
The sky isn’t really blue either, she said.
What about the butterflies? I pleaded.
You’re not facing reality. She gave me a sharp glance.
Mine or yours? I asked.
There’s only one reality, she said. The real one.
I took off my sunglasses.
Oh my God! she gasped. You have blue eyes. No wonder you see the sky and sea as blue. Put those glasses back on.
I did as she asked. I’m not a complete fool.
Are you from another planet? she demanded. Don’t you know you can be put in jail, even executed, for having blue eyes?
I’m from the country. I know very little.
This has always been a brown-eyed land, she said. Didn’t your people tell you that blue eyes are a disease?
We may be country people, but we are not uneducated. We often discuss such subjects around the dinner table.
The dinner table, she repeated, shuddering. The law says blue eyes are an abomination. You should go to a hospital to be cured. They will give you hormone shots to change your eyes to brown. Brown is the only acceptable color.
I don’t want another color. I was born with blue eyes and I like them. When I look in the mirror, I’m happy with what I see.
But you have an illness, she said. If you truly love your country and its laws, you will take the cure.
Do the laws permit contact lenses? I asked.
No. That’s considered the same as wearing sunglasses. It’s dishonest, like wearing a beard to hide bad skin.
Then it would be dishonest for me to have brown eyes. I am a blue-eyed boy.
Don’t be silly, she said. You will be happier when you are like everyone else.
I’ve met other people like me. We’re actually very nice, once you get to know us.
You seem to be addicted to your condition. She shrank from me. And no, do not move any closer. Some people say blue eyes are contagious.
I’ve never known it to happen.
Just the same, I don’t want to risk it, she said. And it’s not a good idea for you to hang out with other addicts. That just makes it more difficult to see what is real and true.
I wanted to tell her that I always seek reality, though truth has no color. I paused for a moment to stare out at the blue, blue sea sparkling under the sun, then said, Why is it wrong for me to have blue eyes when I was born with them? If there is any fault, it is with my mother. She dreamed of forget-me-nots when she was carrying me.
Perhaps it is the universe’s way of testing your loyalty, she said.
I’m as loyal as the next person. Why would I choose to have blue eyes, when the penalties are so severe? It is apparently my nature to have blue eyes and I believe it is wrong, perhaps even dangerous, to interfere with nature.
That is beside the point, she said. You must overcome your desire to be different, which is disloyal. It’s foolish to deliberately disobey the law.
I would prefer to be loved for myself, not hated for the color of my eyes.
Your affliction can be cured, she said. That is what the law says. There is no reason not to have the treatment.
I am so blue, I said. Too blue.
But you told me blue is your favorite color, she said.
Not when it’s killing me.
I see a policeman walking toward us, she said. I am going to tell him about your eyes. You’ll thank me for it later.
I suppose he will put me in jail. Or a hospital. Or shoot me.
Yes, she said, yes. It’s all over now, baby blue.
Also by Lea Tassie
Tour Into Danger
Cats in Clover
Cat Under Cover
Cats & Crayons
A Clear Eye
Green Blood Rising
Red Blood Falling