White (an opposite story)



“White,” he says.
“Black,” I answer. Then I correct myself: “Snow.”
He doesn’t look up, just keeps filling my answers into little printed boxes.

“Street,” he says.
“Sign,” I answer.
He takes his time.

My mind keeps playing his game while I wait for the next task. House Mouse. Trap Escape. Door Window…

“Now pick a color,” he says.
He places 6 cards in front of me. Blue Yellow Red. Green Orange Violet.
“White,” I say.
He doesn’t get the joke. Or maybe it’s part of the rules: no humor.
“Pick a color”, he says.
“Orange,” I answer.
He takes the card, takes another note.

We repeat the color game until there is only green left.
“Hope goes last,” I comment. I can’t help it.
“They are complementary,” he informs me. “If you add all of them, you arrive at white.”

I hadn’t known that. Or maybe I had, a long time ago. I lean back, waiting for the next stupid telling question, but we are done. He hands me a cheque.

On the way home, I buy a box of water colors. I make sure that all six colors are included, blue yellow red, green orange violet. I paint them on a boxless page, one after the other. I try. I try again. White, I say. White Sky. White Squares. White Lies. I try and try. But the only places I arrive at are brown, gray, nameless.


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