Blue Mondays (Synesthesia)

It’s Sterling Brown’s first day of high school. He’s nervous, but prepared. A coward’s confidence. He has his backpack full of everything that he could possibly need on his first day. A pencil sharpener, six folders all with matching binders, a set of pens (all different color inks), his inhaler, loose leaf paper, and a second pair of pants just in case all fit in the pockets and pouches.

His older brother Asher, on the other hand, carried a pencil in his dusty hat and one binder with every subject stuffed within it. Lined paper poked out their crumpled corners from the ends of the binder. He sat down with Sterling for breakfast.

Cereal this time. Green and yellow and red. The colors swirled around each other , hypnotizing the boys to keep their heads down as they ate. The colors began merging.

Their sister, Olivia Brown, came bouncing into the kitchen. Her pony tail bobbed up and down as she maneuvered her way through the kitchen. She poured herself a modest bowl of cereal and sat at the table with her two brothers.

“So, Sterling. Your first day of high school, huh?” she asked.

Sterling finally looked away from the grey milk in his bowl and over to his sister. “Yeah, I guess.”

“You guess?” Olivia said as she inspected her little brother, “It looks to me like you’re ready as you’re going to get.”

“They’re going to eat you alive,” Asher said. He shoved a spoonful of reds and greens in his mouth.

“Shut up, Asher. Hey, don’t listen to him. You’re ready for high school. High school is not ready for you,” she said.

“Thanks,” Sterling replied.

“No, I’m serious. Look at that backpack of yours. You got like 2,000 folders stashed in there. Right?” she asked.

“Yeah, one for each subject,” Sterling grabbed his backpack from behind him. He took out the colorful folders tucked in the pouches, “look.” Sterling fanned out six folders out like playing cards. “This red one is for Math and this blue one is for Science.”

“Science isn’t blue, you idiot,” Asher said.

“What?” Sterling replied.

“Science isn’t a blue subject. It’s a green one. Your green folder should be for Science,” said Asher.

“No. My green one is for Social Studies.”

“Wait, Social Studies is yellow,” Olivia said.

“No, English is yellow,” the two boys replied in unison.

“You’re telling me English is yellow. Asher, I do think Science is green, but I think you two are off your rockers if you think English yellow when it is clearly red,” she said.

“Dude, Gym is red,” Asher replied.

“Gym doesn’t even have a color,” she said.

“How does Gym not have a color. Its’s a foundational course! Thus it is red,” said Asher.

“You don’t even have folders to color code, Asher. You wouldn’t know what’s what,” she said.

“Yeah, but if I had some, I’d have Gym be my red folder and my Science folder would be green,” he said.

“Since when does someone need a folder for Gym class? Clearly it has no color,” she argued.

Olivia and Asher argued over the validity of Gym class in the education system as Sterling was sucked back into swirling milk. He managed to look up after a minute. “So what color is Tuesday?”

Olivia and Asher quit arguing.

“It’s purple,” said Asher.

“In what world is it purple, Asher?”

“In the fucking real world, Olivia,” he replied.

Sterling chimed in. “See, I think it’s like a lime-green.”

“Quit being an idiot,” Asher and Olivia said in unison.

Olivia clicked her pink fingernails on the tables in between syllables. “Tuesday is orange. T is an inherently orange letter. It’s a warm letter. It gives out a warm vibe.”

“Please, Olivia how does it feel orange?” Asher asked.

Olivia clicked her fingernails harder. “The same way it feels purple to you.”

The three looked back down at their cereal bowls. The milk had become fully grey. Asher was the first to break the trance again. “But Mondays are blue, right?”

“Mondays are blue,” Sterling and Olivia said in unison.

The three were tickled pink that they could all agree on something.

-Hec

 

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