Friday, April 17, 2009

In the Pink of an Eye

She had very rigid standards for other people. At first I thought it was cute, endearing, charming, but I was a prisoner in the Kingdom of Poor Judgment. I was falling in love.

Pink disgusted her. Made her need to vomit. I almost didn't notice I had stopped wearing it; when I felt strong and independent I would slip on a pale pink t-shirt. Nice shirt she'd snarl, but didn't want to seem rude so she'd say she didn't mind it as long as it was mostly covered. When something pinkly-pigmented crept into her own wardrobe, she'd clarify that it was mauve. Dusty rose. Salmon. All names for Butch Pink.

I suppose we should have known it was over that shopping day. I unloaded bags, boxes, bundles. Pink socks, pink boots, pink slippers. Seven pairs of pink panties, all embroidered with Any Damn Day I Please. Not a molecule of rose in the lot. Mauve? For pink-lovers who are still in the closet. This was straight-up, in-your-face, Mary Kay pink, and I had come out.

The garish pink rose swag went up in the living room, over the bedroom door. Just a reminder that through this door lies a lot more pink. "I hope you sleep well on the pink sheets. Bon Ton was having their yearly Pink Sale."

"Oh hon, you feel nauseous? Let me get you some Pepto-Bismol. A Canada mint? Cherry Rolaids? Strawberry Starburst?"

I came home one autumn day, just after noon. She was sitting limply on the Candystripe slipcover, shielding her eyes from the suffuse glow of the Baby's Breath Pink wallpaper I'd hung from three walls. The fourth was a tasteful Ice Pink accent paint (from Sherwin-Williams' "I Adore Pink!" collection). "I tried to start dinner," she mumbled faintly, "but the cookware made me feel weak."

"You have something against Cooking For the Cure?" I sniffed.

"No, I just ..." and she pulled the opalescent throw pillow over and curled into a fetal position. I suppose it was foolish to have installed the new Petal Pink bathroom fixtures, and I did feel a little guilty later when she had to be sick in the petal-y bowl. "Poor dear," I cooed, "think of the toilet as Dusty Rose."

One night, as I brushed my Didi Conn-pink hair she asked, looking away, if she was sensing hostility. "Don't be silly, dear. Tell me if my Hello Kitty jammies match my Cotton Candy bathrobe."

She seemed to be growing more fragile, and one evening she barely managed to climb the stairs. She unlocked the door and fell onto the Peppermint Stick carpeting, tossing Jungle Pink seat covers onto the Ice Cream Shoppe Formica tabletop. "I ... can't ... use these. It was a ... nice ... " and she rested there a while until she found the strength to get up.

"That's okay, Gumdrop. Just relax until supper is ready. We're having borscht."

By the start of winter, she could barely rise in the mornings, and would have stayed home, I suspect, but for the healthy glow of the bedroom. Personally, I liked it.

Just after the New Year, she begged me to meet her at a sports bar. When I arrived, she began. "I've been thinking we're not getting along. Too many of my needs aren't being met. I don't think my standards are unreasonable, and if you can't meet them, maybe I should go."

"Go? Really?” I bit the tip of my Pink Passion pinky nail.

“It’s really for the best. Our relationship isn’t good for me.” She handed me back the rose gold band inlaid with Forever Pink cubic zirconias. I saw it had burned her ring finger.

Tears formed behind my Swiss-made fuchsia contact lenses. What else could I do? I hugged her and dropped the circle of pink Kryptonite into her back pocket. She’d be dead by morning, if she didn’t find it first.

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