Learning Blue–Julie Young


At three she learned blue from her Crayon box, her Keds sneakers, and blueberries eaten under azure summer skies. She saw blue in her father’s Sunday suit, the only suit he owned, his wedding suit, the trousers cuffed, a folded handkerchief in the breast pocket. At eight, blue was for her brothers, for their ballcaps and banners and blue jeans. It was the opposite of pink, which had become a cartoon. Later she knew blue from the exam books she perspired over, pouring ideas onto pages, dissecting passages taken from dry, decaying essays in faded blue textbooks. Blue was for bravery, of which she had little at eighteen, and then she was thirty and blue was a feeling. It was the color of her cotton work smock, the bruises on the face of the teenage girl buying Pampers, the squad cars screeching in the alley below her airless apartment, a neon sign blinking Cigarettes. It was the blue ribbon on a can of Pabst and a handsome boy’s five-button Levis. His blue eyes made her breath hot. He wooed her with “Caribbean Blue” and then took her there. At ten thousand feet she gasped. So, this was blue.


Julie Young began writing fiction in a Cannon Beach cottage and now does her craft in Portland. Her work has appeared in The Timberline Review, North Coast Squid, and Surging Tide Magazine. She finds writing is easier when accompanied by music, coffee, and a view of the sky.