There’s an eerie silence that follows someone’s death. People stare out windows for hours at a time, lost in their thoughts.
The Principal wrote a generic mass email to the community. The email refers to him as Elijah, but everyone called him Blue.
Blue got his name in kindergarten, after the teacher forbade us from consuming any food inside the classroom. We all snuck in some cookies here and there, but Blue was legendary. Stories circulated about him wolfing down skittles while the teacher lectured him, none the wiser. Once, he made what he calls his life’s greatest regret, he ate a blue ring pop. His lips and tongue were stained in blue, but he wasn’t aware. The teacher called on him to answer a math question, and the minute he opened his mouth, it was over for him.
“Look at yourself!” The teacher yelled after he opened his mouth to answer a question, pointing to the red chair of shame. “Stay there until your mother comes and picks you up.” Blue sulked and sat down.
“I don’t have a mother.” He said. The teacher ignored him.
“I don’t have a mother to pick me up,” Blue repeated.
“Your father, then,” The teacher said, then resumed class.
To retaliate, Blue started a revolution. Every day he, along with the rest of the class, would eat blue ring pops during recess. The teacher scolded everyone, but she was powerless as no rules were broken.
Blue was a charming leader. The school adored him. Every person had some kind of relationship or connection with him. No one was spared of sadness surrounding his death.
We’ve known for a week. A week. That’s how long the skies have been grey, the oceans brown, and the irises black. That’s how long ago I lost my boyfriend.
He had asked me out in 3rd grade. He was the first boy in my class to ask someone out, but when I said yes, all the boys followed suit. Blue gave me a ring made out of leaves he had picked, and proposed.
“Saige,” he said, “Someday, will you marry me?”
We were nine, we barely lasted the day. I broke up with him for Tyler Redding, a scrawny little boy whom I had witnessed eating boogers the week before. Blue asked me out again in my sophomore year, and I didn’t make the same mistake. We stayed together until his death.
I found out before the email was sent out that Blue had died.
I was with Blue when he did it.
When he did the only selfish thing I’ve ever seen him do.
It was a red train.
I saw him run in front of it.
The last words Blue said to me will forever be carved in my brain.
Blue loved to paint. He worked his way through a painting delicately, every stroke more important than the last. His favorite object to paint was a purple domino. I asked him why once.
“Because it’s the answer to everything.” He had responded. I laughed, thinking he was joking, and continued correcting my homework with a red pen.
“I’m serious!” He started, but grew quiet when he realized I was amused rather than intrigued.
“Tell me,” I told him, but he had already returned to some book he was reading on WWII.
An hour later, Blue suddenly put down his book.
“What if there’s no point to any of this,” He started. “What if we live just to die?”
“We live to love, Blue,” I had answered. He smiled at my answer and took my hand, and we both remained silent until he drove me home.
Blue’s funeral is in two days. I don’t even want to go, I don’t want to see his destroyed body again, nor do I want to give a speech or hear how amazing Blue was. He was more than amazing, and no words exist to explain him.
My parents are walking on eggshells around me.
“You should’ve cried by now,” My mother said when I asked her why she wanted me to see a therapist. “You’ve shown no emotion for the past week, Saige, you need to wake up.” I just nodded, I didn’t have the energy to tell her how wrong she was. I’ve been nothing but an emotional mess for seven days. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I’m anxious, I can’t even process the simplest things anymore.
I remember the first time I saw Blue upset. It was at the start of junior year, he and I were sitting on the swings of our local park. Blue’s face was pale, and his mind seemed elsewhere.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“Please,” I tried again.
“My dad has cancer, Saige, and they think they can cure it, but he’s going to be staying in the hospital for a while,” Blue said, rubbing his watery eyes.
“Where are you staying?” I asked him.
“My Aunt is coming to take care of us,” He replied, kicking the ground angrily. “He’s all I have. I’m seventeen, I’m not meant to be an orphan,” Blue whispered, the red sunset burning his eyes.
“Blue, I-I’m so sorry,” I said, all I could do was hold him for the next hour.
Blue’s dad passed away at the start of senior year. Blue didn’t come to school for three weeks. Everyone asked me where he was, but I didn’t know.
I went over to his house every day of those three weeks, and he was only there once.
“Saige,” He said when he opened the door and saw me standing there. “You should leave.” My eyes scanned his body. His shirt was stained, his hair unkempt, and his sweatpants torn. One look at him, and I knew I needed to help.
“I’m coming in,” I said, as I pushed the door open and walked in.
“Stop, Saige please,” He grabbed my arm, but I squiremend away and entered his living room. It was an absolute mess, cans of beer littering the floor with empty bags of various snacks. I turned to Blue.
“You can’t live like this, Blue. I know it’s hard but you can’t just quit living,” I said. Blue wouldn’t meet my eyes. “Look at me,” I urged. He slowly raised his head, and I saw it. His eyes were bloodshot red.
“Saige I-” He started, but I didn’t want to hear it. I went to the couch and started picking up the trash. “I know I messed up, but it’s the only thing that makes me feel okay anymore.” I turned around abruptly, my eyes were starting to water.
“I am supposed to be the thing that makes you feel okay, Blue,” I told him, “But you won’t let me.” Blue leaned against the wall, not saying a word. “I love you, Blue, come back to school,” I said, then walked out of his house. He came to school a few days later, wearing a clean polo and his favorite jeans. His eyes were clear, and I thought he was okay again. Not good, but at least okay.
The last time I saw Blue was February 13th. He was in a good mood, and I was overjoyed to see him so happy.
“What’s gotten into you.” I asked playfully.
“I’m at peace for once.” He responded. Together, we walked around the neighborhood, talking about everything and nothing.
“I missed you,” I told him. “I hate this distance between us.”
“I’m always with you,” He assured me.
Blue took me to train tracks near my home. He held my hand tightly and whispered a sentence in my ear. He kissed me, let my hand go, and ran towards the impending train.
“BLUE!” I screamed. “STOP! PLEASE DON’T DO TH-” The train hit him at full speed. “BLUE!” I uselessly cried out. I slowly fell to my knees, my hand clutching my heart. My throat closed up and I couldn’t breathe. My mother says I haven’t cried about his death, but she’s wrong. I cried as a stranger helped me get up, I cried as I ran to him, I cried as I yelled his name over and over, I cried as I hopelessly checked his pulse, knowing I wouldn’t find anything, and I cried as I collapsed onto the tracks next to his crippled body.
It’s my 18th birthday today. I walk over to the downtown, and into a tattoo parlor. I already know what I want, Blue’s last words written on my wrist. I get there and I show my ID to the artist.
“Happy Birthday!” She says cheerfully. “What can I do for you today?” I showed her a piece of paper with the design. She nods, brings me to the back of the room, and starts working. It’s painful, but it feels good. When it’s done, all I can do is stare at it.
I have been blue but the world made me purple