"Well," she said, leaning over to us like a secret, "it feels like a gust of wind blowing inside your heart. It feels like bright yellow paint." - The Persistence of Yellow
I do have a book that is called The Persistence of Yellow and the entire cover is yellow (obviously). It's a collection of recipes and poems about life (don't you want a recipe about life dedicated to the color yellow? Of course. Don't worry that most of them are fairly odd. Yellow has always been doing its own thing.
I went over to sit with my friend yesterday while she painted her new house. I am a good sitter. My friends like to have me come by while they do things like clean or paint, I've noticed.
I offered her to help but she said just pull up a chair. She wanted to paint, she wanted me for the talking.
The room we were in would have been her little girl's big girl room. Yellow was her favorite color. It's mine, too.
Yellow rooms just make things better. Painting over white walls, adding color, there's beauty in that.
As I typed the word paint, just now it came out pain..
Pain is everywhere, that's fitting. There are weighty situations at work. There's often pain in my body. It's inside my heart as I think of my friend's loss.
But through the visit, I push against what seems dark because the room is filled with light.
I try to find the paint in my heart.
It's there in our conversation, even if spotty at times. It starts to feel natural again to laugh at stories told while the white walls get covered up.
I leave from my friend and I have to get ready for a baby shower and a four year old birthday party.
Death and life are so mixed together and right now I hate it. The life part of this equation creates a sadness in me, thinking of my friends enduring now this side of heaven.
We are here not to live isolated but to live life together.
That's the point of recording these visits, these coffees, I remind myself. To remember that it's true.
But what of the light here, in the mourning?
The light is usually easy to find in my coffee encounters.
I love adventure, and if I was seeking one out, I'd prefer lighthearted please, with all kinds of interesting strangers and characters to bring added humor to the mix and can we save the heartbreaking stories for another day?
But if I'm writing (let's hope!) a book that's supposed to be true to life and people, that's not the whole picture.
The good news is even the hardest stories to tell, thankfully, include some yellow paint..
*one from the archives