That Pretty Blue

by nicolecallihan

The sky is that pretty blue that always seems to surround disaster or would-be disaster or get-in- the-car-and-drive-as-fast-as-you-can-back-to-Brooklyn-just-in-case-it’s-the-end-of-the-world-disaster; that pretty blue that seems to be the color of every wife I know’s wedding china, of every dress I fall in love with, every flower that makes me stop, makes me surprised it doesn’t smell more like wind or sea; pretty blue of Eva’s eyes, of ocean, of rear-view mirror sky.

When I was young, there was a painting my mother had hanging in the kitchen. It was of a trapeze swing suspended from the clouds. We lost it, I think, in a move. Or maybe it was replaced by something with more gravity: a wooden bowl, an emperor, a child with a kite.

Mornings like this, I miss it. I remember there was one spot in the kitchen–over by the glass that the birds sometimes flew senselessly into–and if I stood just so, it would look like the trapeze was swinging, ever so slightly, back and forth, a trick of light and artistry. If I had wanted to, I could have stayed there all day watching it, but of course I didn’t. There were sodas to drink and legs to shave and cars to ride in.

I wonder what I’d do with it now; if I’d go about boiling eggs and filing nails and scrubbing rings; or if I’d let myself be taken by the magic, let myself stare into that pretty blue until the trapeze started swinging, until it swung so hard that I might be tempted to reach out my hand and see if it was real.