The Color on the Walls
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“Hi, uh, um, I'm calling to report a domestic incident. I am trying to gather all of my belongings and my mother will not let me do so, she will not stop hitting me. Can you please send someone to 48-01 108th street. Thank you. I'm sorry.” My hand reaches up to nervously twirl a strand of hair, all while pushing down tears and attempting to swallow the lump in the back of my throat.
“Do you need medical assistance?”
“No, I’m fine,”
“Okay, a car is on its way.”
I lock the door behind me and glance hesitantly at the bright green finish that is splashed on the eggshell walls. I gently run my fingers back and forth against the stain lacquered oak armoire and muster up the courage to take in the colors of the wall once again.
This time when I look at the walls I see the bright yellow from four years ago. In a blink, the walls turn a soft pastel mauve, a color from six years ago. The last color I see is a russet brown hue - the color the walls were when we first moved in and the color that they were the longest.
I walk over and wake my sister. Groggily, she rubs her eyes and sits up in bed.
“You know the plan, I’m leaving.
I’m grabbing all of my things and I move into the room today. You have to stay here until I find an apartment for us.”
“Wait, what? Not yet. Not now. What do I do if I need help?
What do I do if she starts to hit me now?
What do I do if, what do I do if...” The pauses between her cries are closer and closer, her eyes are sad, yearning for me to stay.
I interrupt her before she can ask another question, she is already in a tailspin and has never been on her own without me. “Listen, the police are on their way. I am not a minor but I will still file a report. That will keep you safe. You have my phone number, if you need anything, reach out to me right away. Everything will be alright, I promise. I promise. This is temporary.
I reach out to her and hold her tight. Her long thick hair is in wet clusters, stuck to the tears streaming down her face. I pull her in again, my only supporter. I catch a glimpse of the green wall and like a colorful Rolodex, the colors start to peel back in my mind.
The color green symbolizes the blows to my face and back. Green, the color of the bruises on their last days. The color of the snot you expelled from me with each of your blows.
Yellow, the color of my walls, the day that your punches came so fast and so strong that you knocked me out. When I awoke, the sunlight shone against that yellow, blindingly and mockingly.
The color purple, the color that I almost tasted, that day that you slammed me into the wall. The color that encapsulated my left shoulder and torso. The color I had to conceal, with long sleeves in the dead of summer.
The color brown, the most hideous color, the color I internalized, the first day I realized that someone I loved so much could cause me this much harm.
I hear some knocks at the door. My salvation song. I snap out of my reminiscing. I give my sister one last strong embrace and with that, I say goodbye to her and to those layers of colors on the walls.