• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 07
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Memories of Blue

When cancer ousted composting, Bill sank into the wheel swing and aimed his blue rifle at cockroaches. Nightmares of gigantic cockroaches crawling across his body, devouring flesh swept away dreams of blue continuity. Breakfast became an unsuccessful game of spot the difference. Inverted cockroach in a crescendo of loud hissing or marmalade toast? “Go back to bed, dear Bill,” repeated Betty each morning until the gates to the fair finally clang shut behind Bill’s teetering gait.

Betty slithered her arm across the sheets. Forty years is a long time to share a bed, run a fair, and gather apple, orange and potato peels, coiled, purple-veined leaves, and cow dung.

A shaft of light brimming in fairy dust carried memories of blue. Blue night dreams, blue day-dreams, blue ink transforming into blue truths. Blue fairs crowded with running children begging for more, more, more, balloon strings gasping, locked within sweaty palms, butterscotch ice cream melting along sugar cone wafers.

Betty perked her head out of the crumbled sheets and redefined composting. She threw in Bill's straw hat, gingham red and white shirt, muddy gumboots, his blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices in the compost heap. Inauguration photos, the most popular fair in town newspaper clippings, and the paintbrush that stroked indigo over rusted grey leaned against the planks of wood. Refining the soil with past fragments, expanding the narrow, stepping back, a nod, granting growth.

Betty hung up Bill's rifle on the brick wall, tied the tyre to a sycamore tree—debonair and practical—and even had a turn as if Bill were still giving her a gentle push daring her to swing higher. She always did.


Memories of Blue

A child rushed to the freshly-painted gates. Held onto the bars as if prison were on the outside. Betty patted down her bluebell-printed dress, smoothed out the wrinkles, twirled a lock of auburn hair behind her ear and reopened the gates to Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and helter skelters in hues of blue.