She had lost the ability to see, or even visualize the color blue.
Well, that wasn’t entirely true– Eloise still could see and visualize greens and purples, but not blue.
That hadn’t been the truth either. For whatever reason, she could only visualize a blue giraffe. A specific blue giraffe in a picture book she read as a child. What had happened?
Eloise sighed as she tried to apply the color blue to a high-heeled shoe. Her mind couldn’t grasp it; the shoe came out gray. She looked towards the sky and wished to tell if it was a rainy day or not. If the sun hadn’t been there, she couldn’t tell.
She never told a soul about her condition. After all of those commercials about premature babies, beaten dogs and children starving in Africa, not being able to see blue felt kind of… dumb, if she was being honest. There were more important things. Love. Friends. Her gray toenail polish.
Eloise stared at her toes. She really missed the color blue. It wasn’t even her favorite color; that title belonged to orange, blue’s foe. She slipped on orange and black socks to cover up her gray toes.
She thought of the giraffe again. She hated it, but it had become necessary to maintain sanity. Blue giraffe… Eloise considered listening to Eiffel 65’s “Blue,” but her depression talked her out of it. Would she ever see blue again? Da ba dee da ba da? The song stuck in her head like a fever dream.
Laughing at her misery, Eloise rolled over on the couch. She’d try to forget the giraffe, but it danced around in her thoughts. Nothing seemed to please her anymore. Her son drew a cat with a blue crayon and she cried into it. Her husband wondered why they didn’t sleep together anymore, and then told her he had “blue balls.” She just lied back and told him to go for it. Sensing something was wrong, he went to sleep instead.
She dreamed of greens and reds and yellows, but no blue. Then the damn blue giraffe showed up and began to sing.
“Hello, hello, hello me dearie! I’m here to show ye– okay, that’s enough. I’m here to open your subconscious.”
Eloise frowned. “No thanks. If I can’t remember when I lost my ability to see blue, I don’t think–”
The giraffe put a hoof up to Eloise’s lips. “Non, non, child. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to show you why you stuck me in your brain.”
The world swirled around them in shades of peach and vermilion and pewter, but no blue. Then she saw herself as a child.
Young Eloise was holding a gray crayon… no, the label read “Berry Blue.” She was coloring a book of zoo animals. She could tell that this is where the giraffe came from. On the money, she spotted a page with a giraffe, colored entirely blue.
Her uncle stormed in, drunk as ever. “I bought you that coloring book and those crayons, and you only use blue, blue, BLUE! Little brat!” At that, he stomped on all of the blue crayons. With tears in her eyes, Young Eloise vowed not to let her guardian control her color choices.
“And that is why you still visualize my blue skin. Your defiance stuck.” The giraffe sounded proud of his colorist.
“But tell me, please, why can’t I see blue anymore? I must have lost the ability six months or so ago, not as a child!”
“What else happened six or seven months ago?”
“Well… the company had the merger… I bought that blue toenail polish, and it looks gray now… my uncle died… My uncle?”
“Nail equals hit on head! He was controlling of your choices as a child, and when he died, you didn’t have to hold onto color defiance any longer! All your life, you’ve controlled your own color choices. He died and your need to control color spontaneously vanished!”
Eloise mulled this over in her mind. “That’s dumb and so are you. My uncle’s death was no great loss to me and I hated him. Why would that make me forget how blue looks?”
The giraffe turned dark. “Okay, level time. It had nothing to do with color control. You’re nothing more than a filthy murderer. He was going to leave everything in his will to the dog, so you killed him. Eloise, the murderer, blocked out blue in shock. Maybe it had to do with that crayon-stomping incident, maybe not. But you should turn yourself in or die of guilt.”
Eloise popped up awake. She looked at the sky. Black. She slept through the day.
Eloise walked into her son’s bedroom and kissed him on the forehead, careful not to wake him up.
She went into her husband’s study and began to kiss him passionately, as if she’d never see him again. The two spent the night entangled.
The next day, Eloise turned herself in. However, after a few hours behind bars, she was let go.
“But I killed my uncle! I could kill again!”
The sergeant sighed. “If you do, please turn yourself in. The doctor who did your uncle’s autopsy was questioned about Mr. Pietro’s passing, and she said it was clearly caused by lung cancer. Why did you think you killed him?”
“B-but… the blue giraffe in my dream said…”
“If we listened to our dreams, I’d be a ballet dancer by now. Go home, Mrs. Mulberry.”
Pleased that she wasn’t a murderer and that she could get the giraffe out of her mind, Eloise looked upward. Still gray, but it appeared a little bluer than usual. And who needed blue when she had plenty of other colors to admire, to utilize, to wear? She went to the drug store and picked up a bottle of orange nail polish.
Nineteen months later, the color blue came back, but in her eyes, beige faded. She decided it was “no great loss.”