Why Is Colour So Important? by David Leigh

“Why are those people shouting?” Her green eyes held the innocence of an eight-year-old as she watched the television across the room. Michael Da Silva considered his answer carefully so as not to upset his daughter.

Mica sipped at her tea and studied her father’s face.

“America” he said, “had an election six months ago and president Trump is now in the White House.”

Mica put her cup on the breakfast table. “Is that the man with the orange face?” She got up from her chair and grabbed her schoolbag. Her homework from the night before lay beside her plate at the table and she carefully put it into her bag along with her favourite friend ‘Furby’, making sure the eye mask was on so that the pink creature would sleep.

“Yes, the man with the orange face is the president of America.” Michael tried not to look sad but Mica sensed all was not well. She held the straps of her small backpack and waited.

In the car, news of rioting around the world took over from the usual lively chatter and created a sombre mood. They arrived at the bus stop.

News of yet another missile launch from North Korea rang out from the car radio and of Trump’s ban on immigrants from six Muslin countries,

Mica asked her father why the news was so bad and grabbed her bag from the floor.

“Trump dislikes people who are different from him.” He tried to be diplomatic and not instil anger and hatred into what innocence remained in his daughter’s mind.

She gave her father a kiss and got out of the car.

The school bus was parked just in front. “Have a good day pigeon and I’ll see you and Furby here this afternoon”. She looked distant, maybe a little sad as she headed for the bus.

Today should be like any other day, he thought but somehow, he knew it was not. He watched as the bus pulled away from the stop and then started the car. He checked the rear view mirror and indicated. As he started to pull away he saw Mica standing at the roadside, crying. He quickly got out of the car and ran to her. “What’s happened?” he said, as he comforted his daughter.

She sobbed “They won’t let me on the bus.” Tears ran down her pretty face. “They said black people have to walk to school.” Her sobbing became a full cry and she sat down on the grass. “Why am I different to the other kids?”

Michael swept her up into his arms. “Who said you can’t get on the bus?”

“There… there was a group of boys… and the driver laughed and, and he shut the door and drove away.”

Michael looked down at her homework scattered on the ground. Furby lay in the grass, mask removed. The creature’s eyes showed immense sadness. It was as though a child’s toy had a greater understanding of what was taking place globally than he and the people in his small community ever could. He wondered how one man, one ugly individual on the other side of the world could instil so much hate into everybody.

Furby’s eyes appeared to know the answer; they were all knowing, all seeing. Michael re-masked the creature and picked up the homework. The problem, he thought, was where he and his daughter could go. They had fled Indonesia after rioters had killed his wife and son. Mica was all he had left of his family and he thought Australia and in particular, Tasmania, would be a safe place, away from the problems that plagued Asia. Now, he thought, America’s problems had invaded his quiet community and lifted the thin veneer that masked the underlying hatred that obviously existed everywhere. He felt bitter and the question on his mind was how he could make the world a safer place for his daughter? He looked at the fluffy pink toy.

Mica looked tearfully at her father as he held her and the creature. “Why is colour so important” she said.

Michael looked blankly at his daughter.

She smiled as though she had just found the answer. “Maybe Furby should be President of the United States. Pink is a much better colour than orange.”