June 1, 2016
She is the crimson streak at dawn, up above everyone else, fiery and fierce; energy explodes through her fingertips. He is her complement, a soft mauve, muted, a support color, not one to stand out by itself. She is the red leaves clothing the trees at fall, skipping along the sidewalk, barely skimming the sodden ground, dancing with the wind.
She floats barely above him, the vermillion, vibrant leaf scraping the faded red paint along the edge of the curb. He shrinks for the comfort of the shadows but discovers he cannot escape her touch. She is everywhere. She’s in the plants, in the trees, on the streets, in the sky, inundating his life, until all he can see is red. At first, she finds his faded, apathetic outlook a challenge and takes it upon herself to brighten him. But sharing all the rich red she has with him saps her energy, and she finds herself worn and defeated. And so the dancing leaf and the peeling paint separate.
Until one day, they find middle ground in the copper ambience of autumn and in the red blood cells that flow through both of them. They realize that their differences, their vibrant and pale reds, are nothing more than different wavelengths; one of them absorbs more light and heat than the other, and the other scatters light better. He counters her blinding fire-engine red and teaches her the soft promise of a coral splattered sunrise so she doesn’t drown herself in her own horizon. And she repaints him, the color of stalwart firebrick, so he doesn’t fade away, becoming nothing and forgetting everything. She teaches him to live.
They make an odd couple, and everyone stares in wonder at the girl with untamed, molten gold-red hair, defying gravity and everything around her, and the boy with squeaky-clean cardinal sneakers, not a speck of dust smudging his shoes. Wild and intense. Rigid and proper.
But they don’t see her burgundy bleeding heart, throbbing, pulsing, exposing herself to him, the world blaring carmine traffic lights that scream at her to stop. She’s raw and hurting, and her crimson dissolves, so he does what he does best — support. He’s the sturdy mahogany, the venetian red blanket that drapes quietly over her. She allows herself to melt into him and discovers within him the same fiery passion that she once exuded so vibrantly. It is he that reignites her ashen spirit.
And all their unconventional, flawed palettes of red — red and everything in the visible spectrum — blend together to create the classic shade of love.