The first day I turned to find it behind me, I almost smiled.
It had been so long, you see. I’d almost missed it.
A thin line of blue snaking under the leaves in my wake, its tail sliding through puddles with barely a splash. I tipped my hat, winked at it with narrowed eyes, and walked on.
The second day, I caught its reflection in the tram window, cobalt outlined against the dusk sky. It was gone in two blinks, but the colour stayed curling against the back of my eyelids all evening.
I still thought it was only visiting. I didn’t prepare a place for it at my table.
The third day, it followed me home. It hid in the shadows of my street and if you didn’t know to look, you might have missed it.
I knew to look. I know the sound it makes when it’s trying to be quiet, and I turn my head slowly.
The fourth day, it slid under my door and watched me write. My hands shook as it wrapped its azure self around the legs of my antique desk, and sighed in its contentment. I wondered if I left my front door open, whether it would find someone darker than me to nest in.
The fifth day, I woke to find it asleep next to me.
Its inky head lay on a bed of my curls as it murmured in sleep and satisfaction, and I knew it had made itself at home. In the smoke of the morning light, it looked almost beautiful. I curled its tail around my arm and drew it in close, the blue deepened to indigo.
When I closed my eyes again, all I could see was darkness.
For all those who struggle with the blues.
This is for the Melbourne writers’ meeting for May. We decided to tag surf Red Bubble for images with ‘blue’, and write a piece inspired by that. I remembered Majo’s amazing SAVE photo in my favourites, an image rich in beauty and melancholy.
My head is high, in case this worries some. It’s just that once you’ve ever felt this creature trail you, you’re always looking over your shoulder for it.
Just seems like the season for it, somehow.