Top of Form
By Mary McColgan and Lilianna Maxwell
"I told you, you're not blue!" said my sister, holding a gleaming mirror up to my face.
Yes I am
She doesn't understand how I see the world. She's always yelling at me and calling me names. She's older then I am and she won't accept me for who I am because I can’t see things the way she does. She’s convinced that something’s wrong with me. The thing that always gets her really angry is when I tell her she is blue. It’s the truth; everyone is colored blue that I've ever seen. They're not all the same shade of blue, though: Some are lighter and some are darker, but none are ever as light and fluorescent a blue as I am.
But my sister never believes any of that. She only believes what she sees to be solid, confident, rules of reality.
Maybe I am wrong? She seems so sure. Maybe my mind really is just a myriad of broken shards of glass that never seem to fit together in the shape that they’re supposed to create. And the harder I try to fit them together the more I keep cutting myself on the harsh, rough edges.
“Solazul, why do you even ask me questions like that? Are you trying to make fun of me or something? Do you think I’m stupid? Well, I’m not the stupid one here. I understand what’s real and what’s hallucinating, you’re the one who doesn’t even understand something as basic as that!”
I don’t understand.
My sister’s words shoved into me and I stumbled backwards.
Then I found myself falling…slowly…falling backwards…
It was in slow motion. I saw my sister covering her paralyzed expression of fear behind her blue hands, as she realized what had just happened. I saw the top of the window frame above me…then the bricks on the outside wall…then the blue sky, another blue face, like my sister, staring helplessly at me as I fell out my sister’s window and slipped through the feeble grasp of the curtains. They couldn’t save me. No one could save me. I couldn’t even save myself. I was hopeless.
I closed my eyes, so I didn’t have to see any more fear-stricken blue faces. I waited until I was sure I had floated all the way to the ground, and then opened my eyes. I couldn’t seem to breathe right, and I couldn’t seem to move right, either. So I just waited.
The warm grass smiled at me and snuggled against my cheek. The healing sun lent me strength until I could get to my feet and start walking. I didn’t know where I was walking, but I needed to do something. I thought maybe somehow, something would lead me somewhere. I needed to find something that would help me understand this confusing world. I was so confused.
I walked along the giggling cobblestones and wandered through the streets.
Wandering and wondering.
I wondered why I was so different. Why was my image in the mirror such a luminescent shade of blue, and everyone else such deeper shades of true blue? And why couldn’t those blue-blue figures see what was dangling right in front of their eyes? Why didn’t that woman see the poison that was spilling from that man’s words? Why didn’t she see that her hand was soaking up the venomous liquid as she shook his hand? Why didn’t that mother try to blow away, or even notice the stormy grey cloud that was whirling furiously around her little boy’s head?
As I walked, I saw a little calico cat on top of a low roof. It was hesitating, afraid to jump. Why didn’t it realize that it had beautiful rainbow wings on its back? If it just trusted in itself it could learn to fly.
My thoughts drifted drowsily toward the strange dream I had had last night. For as long as I can remember, my dreams have always been filled with a kind but overwhelmingly bright, pure light. It pains me to be near it in my dreams, because I want so badly to become a part of it, and even though it’s all around me, at the same time, I can never reach it.
But something was a little different last night; I saw a blinding white light just like usual but this time, I also felt a strange aura and saw all the colors I could imagine and many, many more that were brighter and more vivid than any colors I can name. I can't explain the Aura I felt, but I'm sure I felt it and I've felt it before. Then I woke up and saw a floating, misty looking figure beside my bed, holding a ball of glowing, gold light in her right hand. Then it faded away before I got a good look at it, and I fell asleep again.
Maybe that dream was an omen of that indescribable feeling that was simmering inside of me. Something about me was starting to bang on the walls of the translucent tunnel I traveled. Something was changing…very slowly, but something was coming, I knew.
Yet, aside from this strange intuition, things looked the same.
I was still frustrated by how different my way of seeing things was from others, as always. No matter how many times I tell everyone, they don't believe me when I say that we go everywhere in speedy giant hollow jumping snails, traveling the winding roads. Everyone else says we ride in cars. I've asked what cars are, and if they are not speedy giant hollow jumping snails, but no one ever believes that I seriously want to know. They laugh and explain in a teasing voice. All the descriptions sound like they're the same thing, so I know I'm the only one who sees things differently. My sister said cars come in all colors and they have wheels and people can ride in them.
Once I passed the road, I came to houses. I saw Easter decorations and kids riding skateboards and bikes in gardens. In the gardens were all sorts of plants. That unfortunately included turnips. I hate turnips because they have little mouths. So when you try to eat them they bite you and if you feed them too much, they grow and until they are practically house-sized. It’s the same with donuts. I used to have my eyes checked over and over again when I was younger because of all the weird things I see. Now my mom thinks I’ve grown out of my “insane imagination” but it’s really that I just don’t even bother telling her the things I see anymore.
Zopato's fluffy fur moved in the soft wind. Zopato is my puppy. His name means shoe in Spanish. He is six months old and he has black, white, and brown fur. He's so furry his fur covers most of his eyes. He's an aussiedoodle.
We passed the witch's house and a gnome garden. Mom says the witch isn't a witch and that she's just not the nicest person around. I know she is wrong because I saw her working on her most recent potion and she lives in a gingerbread house and I've heard the story of Hansel and Gretel. She is also one of the few people that aren’t quite blue. She’s more of a quirky shade of turquoise; suspicious. As Zopato and I walked by, we saw her cackling to herself. I wondered what creepy scheme she was planning. As we walked, the little beady eyes of the gnomes followed us until we were back to the side of the road drowning in sounds of giant snails.
As I looked at the birds, squirrels, stray cats, and dogs on walks, I noticed none of them were blue and some of them even glow.
Why? Why, why, why!
So many hidden things that only I could see, I didn’t understand any of it!
I don’t understand anything!
In frustration, my tears turned suicidal and threw themselves onto the grass. The clovers sympathetically rocked them in the breeze as the teardrops glittered in the sunlight.
I stepped out from the shade and let the sun touch me. She gently stroked my wet cheeks, drying them with her warm smile.
You’ll find it, Solazul, don’t worry. It just takes time.
The sun’s whisper echoed soft encouragement, and for a moment, I was happy. The sun was so familiar to me; like a mother. She reminded me of the light that always surrounded me in my dreams, only less overwhelming.
Then the sun started to fade again like a slow exhale, and I swallowed my smile without thinking. Once again, I was flattened by the exasperating weight of my questions.
Why can’t I just be a blue person?
The blue people seemed so sure about living…they must understand. Maybe I could understand if I was just…bluer…?
My eyes slid over to a small bucket of paint.
A paintbrush lay invitingly next to it. Without even thinking, I rushed over, lathered the brush in glossy paint, and I started blue strokes down my arms.
The paint burned cold against my skin and the chemical smell was suffocating me, but I couldn’t stop. The desire to understand was so strong and controlling, that I couldn’t even slow down. I watched as each bit of skin showing was slowly choked with a blue that was much thicker, and darker, and artificial compared to my natural hue. Even when all my skin was covered, my hand was lifted in a desperate trance to my head and the paint started to seep like poison from the brush onto my hair. And even though my skin had repulsed this paint that was smothering me, this other part of me, my hair, soaked it up like it had been thirsting for this easy answer forever.
I could only stop when the paint began to harden, and I could barely move my limbs inside my deep blue shell. Every bit of skin showing was now a much darker shade of blue.
“I’m a real Blue Person now!” I cried to no one. “But I still…I still don’t understand anything!!!”
I was really crying now, so hard that I couldn’t see past my tears to see the face of the voice that answered me. A warm voice that said quietly,
“Don’t do this to yourself. You just have to trust that you’ll find it in time…for now, let yourself fall back on confusion, take a breath, and trust that someone will catch you.”
I couldn’t seem to get the pathetic question out of my throat, but she seemed to hear it anyway, because she answered;
* * *
I was falling into sleep, sinking from the small arms that held me as I cried. I could feel that overwhelming light that always, always filled my dreams. It pained me to be near it, because I wanted so badly to become a part of it, and even though it was all around me, at the same time, I could never reach it.
Again, something was different, and the faint aura was different from last night…
The bright glow was dimmer, and I could see faint whorls of color swimming before my eyes, growing more and more vivid by the moment. The brightest was a blue the same shade as the paint. This blob of swirling blue was growing and getter closer…too close. It was going to paint me into something new.
A Blue Person.
Wait; was this really what I had wanted? I wasn’t sure anymore, but the blue was coming too fast for me to change my mind. The other colors were gone now, and so was the light. All that was left was an icy glow of blue with hypnotizing crackles of blue thunder snaking around its hazy outline.
Suddenly, it shot forward headed straight for me. I wanted to run, but some desire inside of me was holding me to the spot.
Then a sudden burst of white light split the blue into little blots of color that wriggled and faded away. When my eyes adjusted to the brightness, I saw that it was a little fluffy, glowing dog (he looked kind of like Zopoto) with a little orb of liquid light somehow clenched tightly in its teeth. As it trotted towards me, little drops of light rolled down the orb and slid down the edges of the dog’s snout, splashing onto the floor in a spray of shimmering crystals, which drifted back up to rejoined the orb of light. I had never seen anything so beautiful. I reached out to tenderly stroke its soft fur, but suddenly, as if hearing a sharp whistle, the dog stopped short. It then turned around slowly and faded from my sight.
I opened my eyes.
“Are you feeling better?” Asked the voice of the one who had comforted me. To my surprise, it was a little girl no more than seven years old…and she wasn’t blue at all. She didn’t even have a pale trace of blue like I did; her skin and hair were as pure white as the little dog in my dream. A peaceful glow emanated from her too.
“Were you the dog in my dream?” I wondered out loud.
Her laugh was like silver wind chimes singing in a soft autumn breeze.
“No, silly, I’m not a puppy. I’m just like this…or a bunny, sometimes…”
She was silent for a moment, just looking at me with wide amber eyes. Something about her gaze intimidated me, and I looked down. I noticed that my arms were their original color again. This girl had washed away the paint.
“Blue isn’t understanding.” She said suddenly.
“What?” I was startled.
“You thought if you were a true Blue Person, you would understand, right? You wouldn’t. Blue people are farther away than you from understanding.”
“What?” I asked again, still not getting it. “I’m the one who can never understand. Blue people can see things clearly, like my sister. I wish I was like her; she’s so sure of everything.”
“That’s because she trusts rules. She lies to herself.”
“How do you know?” I didn’t even have to wonder if she was wrong. It seemed impossible for this mystical girl to speak a word of anything but truth.
“Because I understand.”
She put everything so bluntly. It was too simple for me to comprehend.
“You want to see, don’t you? That’s how you understand, right, seeing things? I always needed to listen to understand. The music tells me everything. Anyway, just look at the world through your sister’s eyes and you’ll see that she is lost. I’ll wait here for you.”
I didn’t need to ask her what to do; I just…trusted her.
“And before you go, you should know; my name is Melody.”
I nodded and stood up.
* * *
A little while later, I peeked through the door to my sister’s room. She had fallen asleep in front of her mini TV. It suddenly hit me that the color of her skin had changed. It had paled from the blue of the drowsy evening, to the blue of a crisp morning sky, like my skin. Why did she change color while she slept? I would have to let Melody explain it to me…after I did this.
See through her eyes.
My eyes drifted to my sister’s glasses.
I carefully slid them off of her nose, and gingerly placed them on mine and walked outside. Everything was so…still…and lifeless. The lines of everything were perfectly straight. The images were perfectly in focus, not hazy at the edges, and didn’t shift around.
A walked slowly feeling oddly balanced.
The colors were…wrong. They were all so grey and depressing. The dappled shades of sprightly greens on the leaves of the kindly trees had sunk to a single, flat, grey-green. The golden sun’s honey-thick rays of warmth had dimmed, and no smile adorned her face. She had no face, just a blank circle of orange. The charming red bricks on the houses looked melancholy. The soft cashmere soil in the garden looked hard and grainy and the friendly sprinkling of multicolored flowers growing in it looked plastic.
It was all fake.
My sister didn’t understand. She thought she knew everything, but she was just living in her own lies, which shaded her from the wonderful colors of truth...it’s so depressing. Why can’t she just forget her stupid, precious rules of “reality” so she can see what she was missing?
I removed the glasses from my aching eyes, and breathed a sigh of relief as I sank back into my beautiful colors and let them gently lead me back to Melody.
* * *
I must have been almost seven years older than Melody, but I still ran crying to her as if I was the toddler and she were my mother.
“She really can’t see anything!! It’s so…depressing..!” I cried.
“That’s only because she won’t let herself see. She blinds herself with rules because…she’s afraid of not understanding. Unlike you. You accept that you don’t understand everything, and that’s why you can learn to understand much easier.”
“Melody…will you teach me?” I asked nervously.
“Of course! I’ll teach you everything. Why else would I be here? Come with me and I’ll tell you everything right now.”
She slipped her small, white hand in mine and led me down the street.
We reached a little café wedged, snug, between two apartment buildings with peeling paint. Then Melody started walking up invisible stairs to the roof, a flat glowing circle appearing briefly on the air beneath her feet with each step she took. I smiled and hurried after her.
We sat on the roof shingles, feet dangling off the edge.
“Why here?” I asked.
“You need to see things to understand. So I thought it might help if you could see the big picture of this town to help you visualize the big picture of your world I’ll be explaining to you.”
“Oh. I guess that makes…sense. You keep mentioning how I see things to understand. How do you understand?”
“I listen. I’ve always been able to hear that quiet music of everyone’s subtext of their thoughts and emotions and intentions. Everything sings…to me.”
“Hmm, “She continued, “I should probably start explaining now.
You’re name is Solazul, right? Yeah. So…the Solazul that is listening to me right now is actually only half of who you really are. You’re soul is split when you are born into this world. Half of you is placed inside a sheer blue shell and born into the world to live and fail and succeed and grow strong and learn who you are. Let’s say that this is the “Azul” part of you, since azul means blue in Spanish. Isn’t that cool? I love coincidences.”
She giggled her silver-chimes laugh and I couldn’t help joining her. It felt like the first time I had laughed in a long time.
“And you know what’s even cooler? The part of your name that’s left is Sol, which sounds just like Soul, as in your other half soul which remains a part of the Glow, connecting you to it until you’re strong enough to be on your own as a whole. The Glow is understanding. Hmm, the easiest word to describe the Glow would be love, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
Oh! Another coincidence! Sol also means sun in Spanish, and the half-souls inside people kind of look like little suns!”
I looked down at the Blue People below us, and when I looked closer, I could make out a faint light shining from within like a tiny sun behind a blue cloud. And…they also held a shocking resemblance to the sphere of liquid light that the dog in my dream had held in its teeth.
That reminded me…
“Melody…do you know about dreams?”
“Of course! You dream of bright light, right?”
“That light is the understanding I was talking about. Since even Blue People can’t worry about rules in their dreams, everyone is closer to understanding in your dreams. That’s why your sister was light blue when you saw her sleeping. In her dreams, she sees like you do, so her blue rules don’t block out her light when she sleeps. It’s like a dark blue candle-holder; when the candle inside is bright, the lines shines through and makes the candle holder look light blue.
And since you already see like that awake, you are so close to understanding in your sleep, that you can already see the Glow.”
“Ooh…but sometimes I see…other things too.”
Melody grinned proudly,
“I visited you once!”
“I knew your aura was familiar! But there was also a dog…”
“Did it look like your dog?”
“Sometimes, the spirit of an animal you are close to is entrusted with bringing the other half of your soul to you to be reunited. Having that dream means you are very close.”
We sat in contented quiet for a moment. I was so happy not to be alone.
“Want to go to the fountain? We can pet pink dolphins while we talk!”
Melody led the way, following the music of the gurgling water, and chirping of pink dappled dolphins.
“Oh, I forgot to mention,” Melody said as we walked, “You know those shards of glass you pictured in your mind? Fitting them together would then leave no room for imagination. Just scatter them on the ground and let trust be the cement that holds them into a beautiful mosaic.”
* * *
I can’t describe how long I continued to travel towards understanding with Melody’s guidance. I’ve never understood time very well. I just know what’s “now” and the memories of “then.” It seemed like I had known Melody forever, but at the same time, all my time with her seemed to be part of the same precious day.
My skin was barely blue anymore and had a soft glow now, and it was growing stronger everyday as the light of my soul grew brighter and closer to understanding.
* * *
I looked at Melody with bittersweet gratitude and wondered,
what would have happened to me if you hadn’t been there to catch me?
“You would have caught yourself,” she replied unfazed,
“You’re strong, you didn’t really need me. I just…made things…easier for you. I just didn’t think you deserved to suffer alone.”
“I do need you Melody.”
Melody looked at me, doubtful for a moment, then spun around, ran up and hugged me. Without letting go, she murmured;
“That really means a lot. Thank you.”
I let my tears wash away all the blue in my heart.
When she finally let go, she exclaimed softly,
“‘Azul! Both of us…are glowing brighter…
Every time…you welcome someone in to your heart, like real family, both of our Glow inside of us will double!”
We laughed together, and for once, that un-reachable light of understanding didn’t seem quite so far away.
“Follow me,” she said, “I want to bring you somewhere; I think you’re ready now.”
I didn’t bother to asking questions, she would explain everything in time. She led the way, and I followed curiously.
I found myself unable to keep track of where we were walking. Each time I blinked, we seemed to be somewhere different, or the places would just kind of fade in to the next. It abandoned all simple-minded rules. It was such beautiful imperfection.
Finally we arrived in a lush forest of miss-matched trees; palm trees side by side with blue spruce and the great redwood trees and lovely weeping willows. Melody led me to the trunk of a tall Baobob tree. It was unnaturally taller than even the redwoods.
Melody squeezed my hand and we soared up towards the breezy blue sky, through the plush wind and plump white clouds. We landed in the very top branches of the tree and I gazed in awe at the incomparable view of the forest from above. I felt no fear; this peaceful place welcomed me…It felt like home.
I wanted to stay forever, wedged between these sturdy warm-brown branches. Comforting rays of honey golden sunshine streaming through the deep green leaves, which gently stroked my cheeks as they danced and twirled with the wind.
“Here,” Melody’s voice somehow spoke without disturbing the silence. It simply sent slow ripples through the peaceful waters into my mind.
She placed a small collection of acorns in my hands.
“These are going to become pieces of your soul, to call the other pieces of your soul to you. Just relax, and do what first comes to your subconscious mind.”
Melody began to sing.
The song was beautiful, and was so familiar to me. It felt as if she was collecting my soul and weaving it into music. Then she tossed the acorns into the air and the music pulled them this way and that and swirled them around until they were six glowing pieces of my soul.
Then she reached out and plucked five of them right out of the air. Then she gave an authoritative whistle and the sixth shot up into the air and disappeared into the summer sky.
Then I felt a sharp pang as that piece of my soul departed from this world.
I doubled over in quiet shock from being separated from a part of myself so suddenly.
Pressing the remaining five soul slices back into my chest, Melody reassured me,
“It’ll be back. I’ve just sent it to find the rest of you. Now you should rest while we wait for it to come back.”
I took a deep breath and nestled into the branches.
Slowly, the sky tenderly tucked the sun under the horizon’s blanket of trees and Melody fell asleep beside me up in the top of the bao-bob tree.
As I gazed up at the stars that sparkled with hope, I reflected all of the amazing things that Melody had shown me. She was the first to ever show me kindness that was sincere. Everyone else had just tried to shove me into a narrow tunnel of rules. Melody was simply guiding me towards breaking through my own tunnel’s walls of translucent crystal. I could always see outside the tunnel of reality, but only Melody had encouraged me to break the barrier to finally reach understanding. I am so thankful.
Melody shared her light with me and is teaching me how to light my own candle. I think, when I understand, I would like nothing more than to be able to spread that light with other’s like Melody did for me. I want to help that warm glow continue to grow and fill every Blue Person’s heart with understanding…
As soon as that thought slipped through my mind, one of the stars seemed to wink at me; momentarily gleaming brighter than the rest. In that moment, I knew I’d struck the right answer.
I watched, still as ice, as the star grew brighter and brighter, and I realized it was falling.
A shooting star.
The warm light descended gently through the deep, velvet-blue night sky, coming closer and closer until it was as radiant as the light in my dreams.
“Sol,” I whispered in silent wonder. My soul.
Suddenly I could feel my two pieces bonding together to become a shining whole. The feeling is so hard to explain, an indescribable, overwhelming feeling of fulfillment from becoming everything I’m meant to be.
Through the blinding light, I could see Melody smiling at me through her glimmering tears. I smiled back graciously.
I was so filled to bursting with joy, because finally…finally…
Melody explained everything to me. She told me my way of seeing things is right and I didn't understand it then but it was. I am glad to know. Now I understand. I know that cars are just built by blue people and don’t have a real soul, so they might as well just be jumping snail shells. I also know that animals, along with fertilizing the ground and plants, carry the missing half's of people's souls when they come down from understanding (the Glow). She also told me about the group of people that understand and glow just like she does. The group of people is called the enlighteners. She invited me to join them because now I understand and glow too. I will always be thankful to Melody. I would never have understood without her. She blew away my biggest storm clouds and made beautiful rainbows in the soft rain that remained. She banished my darkest shadows and brightened my whole world with her smile. I will also always love and thank Zopato for always staying by me and eventually presenting my soul to me.
Now I am content, and someday I hope I will get to get blue people like my sister to understand, too.