Yellow and Blue
by Kathryn Dale
David could smell the ham; the brown sugar glazed ham he’d heard about for weeks from his aging landlady who’d seen the recipe on some mind-numbing television show. Whenever she would encounter him in the hall or on the sidewalk, she would make some mention of the ham as if it were some shining beacon of light in an otherwise dark sea.
The sounds of high-pitched tone-deaf humming singing and laughing reverberated off the walls blending with the eternally familiar tune of Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song creating a swarm of cheery commotions. David raised the volume of his television, but nothing blocked the noise from infiltrating his sacred space. He stretched out on the shabby futon couch and mindlessly clicked the remote in a haze of insomnia and apathy, the yellow paisley wallpaper appearing to shift and mutate with each button clicked, circling and engulfing around him until he finally drifted off into the chartreuse chasm of sleep. However, only seconds later would he be brought back from the abyss by some bang or screech from a neighbor.
This was the cost of living in an apartment—the cost of living in such close proximity to others that you could barely tell where they end and you begin. In current times of social media and constant contact, introversion leads to strange looks and glances. Society had become the hive, and David was an outlier; the man without the ham; the man without the carols; the man simply without.
At the same time, last year, David was living in a house with a white picket fence and a wife that went to yoga on Saturdays and made pot roast on Sundays. Friends and family busted the seams of the pale blue house on the corner covered in wreaths and garlands. Presents were exchanged, and David had a ham of his own that he carved with a new knife set his wife bought from Bed Bath and Beyond. By New Year’s his wife stopped going to yoga. By Valentine’s she stopped cooking pot roast on Sundays. By spring, David kissed her for the last time. The pale blue house on the corner grew cold, and the white picket fence turned beige. The house rejected him, rebuffing his instance that he was welcome, until he boarded up the windows, packed his bags and headed east.
How could he feel alone in a big city, a place occupied by so many bodies that the mere thought of space seemed impossible? But he was soon to find that crowded did not equate to fulfilled. So, he laid in his tiny apartment, staring at the images on the screen, smelling the aroma of ham, hearing the sounds of cheer, feeling as if he were a million miles away on an unknown planet in an unknown time. Perhaps one day he would make the voyage back to Earth and tell someone of his travels. But that wouldn’t be today. That wouldn’t be tonight. Instead, he closed his eyes and pictured all that was and could have been, leaving the yellow chasm for the pale blue oasis of his mind.
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Kathryn Dale is an aspiring journalist from New York City. She currently is working towards her bachelor’s degree and has written primarily about humanitarian issues and politics. In her spare time, she likes going on long walks with her dogs, writing and reading fiction, and listening to Kpop.