Colour Phenomena; Sensations

The bookmark is a sample card of a colour called High Hopes from the DIY shop’s paint department. Take the card home and hold it against the wall, the skirting; it shifts in the light, no? Someone somewhere came up with the name High Hopes. I might say it was jade but truthfully I do not know how to describe it. There were so many colours, arranged chromatically across the display. I plucked exactly seven sample cards like feathers, took them back to my parents’, where I was staying at the time, and lay them on the sofa, where I stared at them in the dying light of the day. I cannot remember the name of the colour I chose in the end, for the card was handed to the man behind the desk; he put a five-litre can into a harness, hole in the wall, and an embracing machine turned brilliant white into Spun Sugar.
    The colour in my hallway is named Spun Sugar, I remember that much. It is not applied perfectly, there are light patches, where the application is a bit thinner, but I care not to address them. In everything there are light patches. The copyright trial of Candy Floss [1934, citation needed] was arduous and disruptive; it changed everything. Not a soul can afford the license, and so they defer to spun sugar, or the more formal Spun Sugar, because no sane man would call it cotton candy. It complements my white bookshelf and mid-century coat & shoe rack [citation needed]; it complements my Yves Klein [80x100cm] and Ellen Rogers prints [various], my gift from a former colleague, current friend, it complements my Elise Wouters prints out by Ilford’s Mediterranean and a Rose McGowan nude taken in her living room [face obscured]. And, you see, if it is called, by some biased manufacturer or overburdened intern, Spun Sugar, then I, a lowly mechanical engineer, will, with limited vocabulary, describe it as strawberry milkshake and be on my merry way.
    It happened again. This time I was not on a call but sat right there, in front of them, as they asked one another down the pub. And what a clown I must have seemed! as not a single person offered me an invitation. This is indeed a strange office, a sad strange office, I thought to myself. Be it exclusive or cliquey, who can say? Three months now, the customs and rituals remain a mystery. I shook my head. I shake my head! They all left and I remained. ‘I would have thought they’d invite you out just to just get a measure of you, see what you’reabout—’ ‘Even dogs sniff each other’s arseholes!’ ‘Well, I didn’t want to put it that way, but yeah, yes.’ There were three women at the building’s exit and I knew that at least one did not like me, one was stupid, and the other was friendly enough to say good morning to me everyday; when I passed I sought a good-by, but there was nothing, heads down, and I almost burst into a fit of laughter that they should ignore me so resolutely. Something from my youth, something wholly unpleasant exhumed from secondary school. I put my headphones on and stormed off into the market where the thick smell of old meat lingered and couples passed me by in a fading halo of young autumn.
    A couple of months ago I spied something on the train home that I could not ignore: a woman’s foot from underneath the chair, her toenail varnish, unchipped and growing away. The colour of the nail varnish was Strawberry Milkshake. It is not enough to make notes in the phone; one must act upon them. In the software, I wrote—

        nail varnish, amount of time
        that has passed

        trains on hot I want
        a strawberry milkshake.

    Her cuticle, like foam upon the shore, waved good-bye to a receding pink sea. In the hot soup of a July bathroom she took a razor to the reductions of her ankle & calf. She did not seem so interesting, no, but her body, so much of it revealed in the heat and stupor of our journey home, came to be a book of details. It was really something how the colour was perfect and no one else at that moment saw except for me. Spun sugar.
    There are two other paint colour cards in my bedside table: Candy Kisses andSpring Laughter; the former is lighter than the latter. Ordinarily I would avoid such pinks on account of their awful names. Why do I keep them so close to my sleeping head?
    Colours are fine but faraway edges blur. ‘When was the last time you had an eye test?’ ‘Never,’ I told him—‘Maybe as a kid but I can’t remember.’ The village optometrist was next to an Indian restaurant on our walk to school. The restaurant had an ornate façade, neon lights day and night, and such a fine smell emanating permanently from its cracks and seals that one barely noticed the neighbouring optometrist. Many of the locals joked that the first part of the eye test was actually finding the place. The man put my chin in a cradle, sliding lines of light into my eyes and magnificent flashes that caused me to weep. I had the giggles and it was early on a Saturday morning. I was not happy but still I grinned at some thoughts in my head, which may have caused those I met to assume I was in good spirits. He gave me a card with some numbers on, asking me to wait in the waiting area or to peruse the frames if I desired. The waiting area was busy and confined. I stood in the front of the shop, listening to music, looking out at the street where the sun came down, where young men waited for the burgershop to open. A clerk approached me. ‘Maurice Willers?’ I told her that was me, but then I thought for a moment longer and realised it was not me at all. ‘Sorry.’ What a mistake, to think I was one person when really I was another. A trembling older gentleman approached the till. In a soft unsteady voice, he thanked the lady behind the till; last weekend they had noticed something unusual with his right eye and referred him immediately to A.&E. who informed him that he had just avoided going completely blind in that eye. The lady was modest, and others, who gathered at the till to pick up receipts or run charges, also graciously accepted his thanks. My giggles had gone. I smiled and resumed looking out of the window at the street where the sun came down until I heard my name called. It was my name I heard called and it was only small.