Light dapples through the stained glass of the window in my grandmother’s attic. I often get transfixed by the colours- an orderly block of precise green cubes, pure and bright, filtering summer sunlight and catching the dust particles that drift lazily by. The pattern is only interrupted by two gashes of rush brown where the colours have been distorted by the branches of the oak tree.
The squares make sense. They are ordered, sequential. I like counting them- there are 64- and focusing on each colour individually, so that by the time I get to somewhere around 50 my breathing will have evened out, the knot inside my chest will have loosened, and I will no longer be able to see static in the corners of my vision.
It’s a kind of meditation, I guess.
This house calms me too, most of the time. So long as there are no people in it.
It’s my family who are the worst. They mean well, I know, but they just can’t let me be. My friends know me well enough to know that I am listening, even if I don’t contribute to the conversation. My family haven’t cottoned on yet.
Sunday lunches are the worst because everything happens at once, and the colours go crazy. My little sister begins the clamour, whites and creams and pale blues emanating from her. Dad by contrast is a tangle of stormy greys and blacks, critical, oppressive like the air gets before a thunderstorm. Mum joins the conversation now, deep blue and cerulean, and then grandpa joins as a burnt umber, like the smell of firewood but with the taste of burnt toast. All of a sudden the colours start merging together and I am thrown about, caught in between conversations like threads of wool.
Grandmother’s green, of course, and the static clears again.