“I used to be scared of reimagining the colors, you know. Always scared that I’d forget and start making them all up again.”
“Imagine this,” the guide said. He stared into the man’s eyes. “In front of you is ‘The David.’ Not the big one, but the bronze one, slender and sly. Donatello’s. What color is it?”
“You just said it. It’s bronze.”
“No, it’s made of bronze. What color is it?”
“Oh.” The man stood still. Rubbed his fingers together. “It’s red. Yes, it’s red.”
The man’s eyes strained. His blunted black tux, frayed at the fringes, seemed to compress his form. What had once seemed a lean figure had warped into a gaunt frame, lines creasing the corners of his eyes. The cane tapped.
“I… I can’t seem to remember. The shade escapes me.”
“Red.” The guide pondered. An image of a red “The David” crossed his mind, and he smiled. Then he focused on the task at hand. “Excuse me for asking, but what are you doing here? A blind man in a museum of art?”
“A friend. She said I should come. She said you could return the colors.”
The guide paused, forgetting, losing vision of what he was to do. “Where do I begin? What do you see?”
“Nothing. It’s all red.”
“What is red? What does that mean?”
“Funny, I don’t know. A feeling, I suppose. What is red?”
What is red? Around him the aroma of colors, wisps of pink and dashes of crimson spiraling. The fears that had once held him captive dissipated, and the world behind his bleached retinas bloomed of laughter and magic.
Red, a shade out of his world, a gift amidst forgotten memories. Something he could shape into his own. And really, what else could it possibly be?