What if you were to turn to your partner and tell her, as she sipped her second morning coffee, that you’ve fallen in love with a colour? Perhaps her mouth would pull tight and she would ask ‘What colour?’ and ‘How could something like this happen?’
It’s not you, you’ll say. It’s me.
She might look at her coffee as if it’s become foul – That’s bullshit, and you know it.
Look, you deserve someone who loves all of you completely, and with all their heart. I’m sorry.
What’s this colour’s name?
It does to me, she’ll say.
You might take a deep breath – Grey. The colour’s name is grey.
Grey? Banal, bland, insipid grey? That’s the colour you’ve fallen for?
You underestimate Grey. Grey has many names. Have you considered Horizon grey? Trout grey? Lava grey? What about bee hives? Clouded grey? And there’s silver grey, harbor, pearl, steel, iron, ember, ash, Coventry, seal, smoke, shadow, elephant, slate, dove pewter, flannel, zinc, flint, fog...
You might stop to catch your breath.
Your partner sighs – How long has this been going on?
One morning up at Jasper, years ago – before we met, sitting in one of the red Adirondacks above the river with a pot of coffee and the newspaper. The air was still and cool and there was a promise of warm day in every breath. The sky was a washed-away zinc. It was a silver-toned picture of itself. I can’t remember who I was with – I think she was still sleeping. It was just that perfect colour and me, and the mountains, and that becalmed morning. I was utterly smitten.
All this time, she’ll say. All this time you’ve felt this way?
Yes, all that time.
Your wife might look at you and smile with a mock pity in her eyes – as if she believes you’ve lost your mind, but you’re her crazy person and she’s fine with you as you are.
Thomas Trofimuk is an Edmonton writer who has four novels out in the world (The 52nd Poem, Doubting Yourself to the Bone, Waiting for Columbus, and This is All a Lie) and is currently shopping a story called “The Elephant on Karlův Bridge.” He’s a long-time teacher at Youthwrite (a fantastic writing camp for kids), and quite possibly, a world famous, spasmodic dancer who may have trained with the Bolshoi Ballet Company.