Black….well duh. The go to choice, respectful and respectable. A million Victorian matrons can’t be wrong. see them swathed in serge and velvet and bombazine. A year of black and then grief dependant, a move to purple or grey or sensible navy blue.
Black is the colour of my true love’s hair.
Black is the colour of suburban goth, the colour of the beatnik, the colour of the broken-hearted.
But, black drains you, everyone knows that and today, if she is drained of anything else, she will be weightless, nothing left, an empty husk and may simply float away, carried by the winds, drifting above this car on this journey.
White, think of all those tiny wizened asian widows wrapped in layers of silk and cotton as if they are something fragile to be protected by tissue paper. White widows, sometimes with a incongruous pop of colour, a fire engine red pac a mac, lime green crocs, a tartan shopping trolley on wheels.
And white is the colour of virgins, of bridal nights and lost innocence and in this, her new state, she too is virginal, touched for the very last time.
And although her anger is white-hot, burning hot, her grief is making her clumsy, awkward.
White requires too much poise, a neatness and a lack of tears.
Red, red for passion and roses and valentines day and god knows there was passion and hearts and flowers and unsuitable underwear in not quite the right size.
And red says, warning and danger and look at me and red says stop.
Stop, she thinks, I want this to stop, but all the traffic lights in the world cannot stop this journey, in this car to that place.
All week, the women in her phone have been sending soft fabric packages, some have come with long letters, others just signed with a kiss, but all have added those five letters, their rallying call when life gives you fucking lemons, again.
(chin chin, up your bum)
Don’t be a lady
Don’t dress for your age
Don’t be quiet
Most of all, don’t be quiet
Do not go quietly into this or any other dark night
The women in her phone have been sending her things
A sequined jacket
A leopard print beret
A dress of spots and stripes and stars
But most of all, they have been sending her lipsticks, red lipsticks,
some clearly expensive, nestling in black velvet drawstring bags, others picked up in the weekly grocery shop, dropped in to the trolley, their purchase easy to hide from cock wombles and non cock wombles alike.
Lip sticks have names and right now, in this car on this journey she finds herself head bowed, lips moving, not in prayer, there is no prayer to make this better, but instead she lists the names of all the lipsticks that now cover her dressing table.
Fire and Ice
She is surprised how comforting this is.