Saturday 26 June 2021

'Lights' by Susan Borgersen

She couldn’t wear green, not even the darkest forest green. “Not allowed. Our religion,” her mother always said

Settling for blue for the dance was exactly that—settling. Georgia knew blue gave her a moustache; she’d had her ‘colours’ done at a party where they drape coloured scarves under your chin and everyone says what they thought. Green came up tops.

Sighing, she slipped on the blue dress, knowing no-one would look at a girl with a moustache, knowing she’d be invisible when the lights dimmed and pairings happened. But someone did notice.

Sasha saw red every time she heard the upset at Georgia’s next door. Furniture crashing. Cries for help. Sasha felt helpless. The guy was a brute. Sasha watched him on Sundays washing his pickup—radio blaring—singing along out of tune—hairy belly hanging over his belt. The morning after the worst night of screaming broke with a plum red sky. Sasha recalled the old rhyme: red sky in the morning sailors warning, and knew she should do something. So she called Kenny.

Kenny’s the guy who danced with Sasha back when. He’d remarked on Sasha’s gentleness, told her he’d always be there for her. It was her amber light, her ‘go with caution’ signal. Kenny—one of the good guys.

Kenny came. Parked his white van across Georgia’s driveway, blocking the brute’s pickup. Sasha knew it was dodgy but loved him for it while she dialled 911.

Sasha and Kenny visited Georgia in hospital. They took her golden yellow roses tied with a scarlet ribbon. She wore mint green pyjamas in watered silk. Kenny said. “They make your eyes look turquoise.” Sasha said, “They give you a lovely peaches and cream complexion.”

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