Green and Green Alone


Eloise stands at the window staring out at Hump Featherstone sitting atop his tractor sniffing the wind.  The corn at the edges of the field is brown and withered and this reminds Eloise of her hands.  She reaches to the window sill for her cream and rubs some into her hands, absently smoothing away the dryness.  “The cricket song is slowing, Jason.  You know that that means.” 

“Fall is coming.”

She turns and smiles at her grandson, coloring at her kitchen table.  Well, truth be told, the child is scribbling: The sun is a mass of purple.  The grass is red and orange. 

Years ago, with her own children, Eloise would have insisted the sun be the proper color.  She would have told her children that the sun absolutely does not have a smiley face and a fringe of yellow and orange and red rays encircling it.  Years ago, the grass was supposed to be green and green alone. 

She pulls out the chair to watch Jason color the sky.  She wonders whether she made a mistake with her own children, insisting always upon the right colors, the right words, the right manners.  Now, scientists and doctors, Eloise fears she’s destroyed the imaginations of her children.  They’ve forgotten how to dream in color.

Suddenly she recalls the watercolor set she bought a few years back.  She put them away because she never could get perspective right.  She rises and heads to the hallway.  She stands at the bottom of the stair.  “Henry?”  She calls and places a hand on the banister.  She waits a moment before calling again.  “Henry?”

Her husband appears.  “I thought we weren’t to be yelling in this house.”

“I’m hardly yelling, Henry.”  She smiles.  “Besides I can’t leave Jason alone in the kitchen.”

Henry raises his eyebrows.  “What kind of trouble can the boy get into, outside of sneaking a cookie or two?”

She ignores this.  “Do you know what happened to my old watercolor set?”

“Watercolors?”  He scratches his head, hikes up his pants, and frowns intently.  “I think you put them in the shed with the easel.  Shall I have a look?”

“Could you?  I’ll put on a fresh pot of coffee.”

“Deal.”  He nods.  “This for Jason?”

She feels herself blushing.  “Well, no.  For me, actually.”  She turns and heads into the kitchen to wait, to avoid further questions.  But already her fingers are itching.  She makes coffee then turns to look at Jason’s work.  The clouds are feathered with pink and blue like billows of cotton candy you can pluck right from the sky.  She smiles at the purple sun; the orange grass.

“Beautiful,” she says. 

“It’s for you, Grandma.”

“Let’s put it on the fridge, to show your momma when she comes to fetch you.” 

Jason walks to the refrigerator, solemnly selects a flowered magnet and posts his picture on the refrigerator.

Eloise hears the sound of tires on gravel; Jack barks three times.  “Sounds like your momma’s here now.”  She packs a container of chocolate chip cookies into his backpack; helps him slip into his raincoat. 

“Hi, Mom.” 

“Hi, Lydia.”  She smiles at her daughter. 

Lydia looks at Jason.  “You ready Buddy?”

“Look, Mommy.”  He leads her to his picture.  Points.

“Oh…”  She frowns at her mother.  “What’s going on?”

Eloise forces her voice to take on a note of cheer.  “Didn’t Jason do beautiful work, Lydia?”     

Lydia points.  “But, Jason.  We just went over that yesterday.  Grass is green.”

Jason’s face falls.  “I want to stay with Grandma.”

“But…?”

Eloise smiles.  Too often parents see the mistakes of a child.  Grandparents merely want to love.  But this is a lesson Lydia must learn on her own.  “See you tomorrow morning, Jason?”

“Say thank you, Jason,” Lydia says, ushering him out the door.

Henry returns from the shed carrying a wrinkled grocery bag.  “You’ve got cobwebs in your eyebrows,” she says, laughing and reaching to pull at one.  “Did you find the watercolors?”

“Yep.”  He hands her the bag; pours himself a cup of coffee.  Sits watching her.  “Well?”  He nods at the paper bag.

She removes the watercolors; pulls a page from Henry’s coloring book.  She fills a cup with water and dips in the brush.  “Don't you need cream, Henry?”

“I’m fine, Eloise.”  He continues watching.

She nods.  Again, she picks up the brush; paints the sky a brilliant yellow.


For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Christine gave me this prompt: It's the end of summer. What comes next? Give us a story about transitions. I gave kat this prompt: Tic tac toe.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Green and Green Alone

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Green and Green Alone


Eloise stands at the window staring out at Hump Featherstone sitting atop his tractor sniffing the wind.  The corn at the edges of the field is brown and withered and this reminds Eloise of her hands.  She reaches to the window sill for her cream and rubs some into her hands, absently smoothing away the dryness.  “The cricket song is slowing, Jason.  You know that that means.” 

“Fall is coming.”

She turns and smiles at her grandson, coloring at her kitchen table.  Well, truth be told, the child is scribbling: The sun is a mass of purple.  The grass is red and orange. 

Years ago, with her own children, Eloise would have insisted the sun be the proper color.  She would have told her children that the sun absolutely does not have a smiley face and a fringe of yellow and orange and red rays encircling it.  Years ago, the grass was supposed to be green and green alone. 

She pulls out the chair to watch Jason color the sky.  She wonders whether she made a mistake with her own children, insisting always upon the right colors, the right words, the right manners.  Now, scientists and doctors, Eloise fears she’s destroyed the imaginations of her children.  They’ve forgotten how to dream in color.

Suddenly she recalls the watercolor set she bought a few years back.  She put them away because she never could get perspective right.  She rises and heads to the hallway.  She stands at the bottom of the stair.  “Henry?”  She calls and places a hand on the banister.  She waits a moment before calling again.  “Henry?”

Her husband appears.  “I thought we weren’t to be yelling in this house.”

“I’m hardly yelling, Henry.”  She smiles.  “Besides I can’t leave Jason alone in the kitchen.”

Henry raises his eyebrows.  “What kind of trouble can the boy get into, outside of sneaking a cookie or two?”

She ignores this.  “Do you know what happened to my old watercolor set?”

“Watercolors?”  He scratches his head, hikes up his pants, and frowns intently.  “I think you put them in the shed with the easel.  Shall I have a look?”

“Could you?  I’ll put on a fresh pot of coffee.”

“Deal.”  He nods.  “This for Jason?”

She feels herself blushing.  “Well, no.  For me, actually.”  She turns and heads into the kitchen to wait, to avoid further questions.  But already her fingers are itching.  She makes coffee then turns to look at Jason’s work.  The clouds are feathered with pink and blue like billows of cotton candy you can pluck right from the sky.  She smiles at the purple sun; the orange grass.

“Beautiful,” she says. 

“It’s for you, Grandma.”

“Let’s put it on the fridge, to show your momma when she comes to fetch you.” 

Jason walks to the refrigerator, solemnly selects a flowered magnet and posts his picture on the refrigerator.

Eloise hears the sound of tires on gravel; Jack barks three times.  “Sounds like your momma’s here now.”  She packs a container of chocolate chip cookies into his backpack; helps him slip into his raincoat. 

“Hi, Mom.” 

“Hi, Lydia.”  She smiles at her daughter. 

Lydia looks at Jason.  “You ready Buddy?”

“Look, Mommy.”  He leads her to his picture.  Points.

“Oh…”  She frowns at her mother.  “What’s going on?”

Eloise forces her voice to take on a note of cheer.  “Didn’t Jason do beautiful work, Lydia?”     

Lydia points.  “But, Jason.  We just went over that yesterday.  Grass is green.”

Jason’s face falls.  “I want to stay with Grandma.”

“But…?”

Eloise smiles.  Too often parents see the mistakes of a child.  Grandparents merely want to love.  But this is a lesson Lydia must learn on her own.  “See you tomorrow morning, Jason?”

“Say thank you, Jason,” Lydia says, ushering him out the door.

Henry returns from the shed carrying a wrinkled grocery bag.  “You’ve got cobwebs in your eyebrows,” she says, laughing and reaching to pull at one.  “Did you find the watercolors?”

“Yep.”  He hands her the bag; pours himself a cup of coffee.  Sits watching her.  “Well?”  He nods at the paper bag.

She removes the watercolors; pulls a page from Henry’s coloring book.  She fills a cup with water and dips in the brush.  “Don't you need cream, Henry?”

“I’m fine, Eloise.”  He continues watching.

She nods.  Again, she picks up the brush; paints the sky a brilliant yellow.


For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Christine gave me this prompt: It's the end of summer. What comes next? Give us a story about transitions. I gave kat this prompt: Tic tac toe.

Labels: ,

3 Comments:

At September 3, 2012 at 2:47 AM , Anonymous Becca said...

That is an awesome post. Very well written.

 
At September 4, 2012 at 10:33 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

Nice. That makes me want to drag out my colored pencils and pretend I have skills in the visual arts one more time!

 
At September 6, 2012 at 9:13 PM , Anonymous Christine said...

Fantastic - I love how you took the obvious transition (summer into fall) and expanded that in so many other directions: summer of life into autumn, motherhood to grandmotherhood, and the letting loose of old habits and inhibitions. This line really drew me in: "The corn at the edges of the field is brown and withered and this reminds Eloise of her hands." I like the image, and the flow of the words. Also? I *love* the name Eloise. :)

 

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