BLUE/RED #1 The Sky, 7/4/1985
The sun was setting on Independence Day. Bottle rockets cackled and shrieked on the blacktop and in backyards invisible from the cul-de-sac. Edgar lounged inside his parents’ house, but the rays shone in through the large picture window. He kept lifting his hand to shade his eyes. Tomas, a friend of the family drunk on appropriated ideas, sat across from Edgar on a burgundy velveteen couch. A gilt outline of light framed Tomas’ face.
“How do you know that the sky is blue?” Tomas asked, in a fit of profundity. He stared at Edgar with an aura of cosmic importance.
“What do you mean?” said Edgar. “Of course it’s blue.”
“If someone told you, when you were growing up, that the sky was red, and all you ever heard was red, red, red—would the sky be red?”
Edgar glanced at his, (he thought), pale green chair, not sure if he understood. Tomas licked his upper lip in anticipation of an answer.
“No. Lava is red. Blood is red. Not the sky.”
“What if you call it blue, but really see red? You can never know that you see the same color of the sky as everyone else, or even anyone else.”
“I guess not.”
Dinner interrupted them, and Tomas’ conspiratorial remarks faded with the last bites of desert. Edgar would have probably forgotten them completely, if not for the events of that night. He was awakened from a sleep without dreams by a fire engine’s siren. A stray bottle rocket caught in the branches of a dehydrated, overarching chestnut. The tree burned. From his bedroom window, Edgar could see his neighbor’s yard—and the smoky sky above, pulsing like an angry red vein from the glare of the flames and the flashing light of the siren.