It started with the colors.

They were shades of nude. Earth like. Blending. Beige, taupe, oatmeal. Neutral. Sand. Or browns. Yes, there were browns too. Brown nudes.

Sometimes there was pigment. It hung there. For years really. Just in case.

The vanilla. Vanilla has flavor. All these disagreements about vanilla as plain or regular. It can’t be. I have tasted the vanilla. Organic extract in the refrigerator. Added to the buckwheat pancakes. Pewter pancakes. Thick and heavy. Dense.

Or was it black licorice? I never really liked black licorice.

I can’t remember if I can tell the difference between black licorice and vanilla? Your black licorice became my vanilla. Poignant. You — the color keeper.

Until I took it down. The crimson that hung. Gave it to the girl who wore everything I gave like we were twins 22 years apart.

Flattened.

Piles of boxes. The sapphire velvet curtains. Who could predict taking curtains down would split our house open. She and I held in that space. This collective memory now collected. Like the boxes. The moves. The rainbow prism chandelier.

There are plants now, she says, a whole houseful. This news feels like saffron. Like suffocation.

I searched for a multicolored rug. Hung it on the floor. Rummage for every pattern and prismatic fabric.

Desperate for a promise that I can keep myself. The color.

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