The Colors of Our Lives

I chance upon an old black and white photograph in the family album that takes my breath away. To tell you the woman was beautiful says nothing, all women are beautiful in black and white, the beauties of today’s world have lost much in color and airbrushed perfection.

No, this woman in the photo is stunning, not just her physical beauty( that would be enough), but in her very essence.

A left arm is casually draped over a white mantle fireplace, her long forearm flows to long fingers, her black dress is continuing the look effortlessly, her casual pose of fluidity in still life is practiced yet hardly perfected by the Super models of the world today.

Her elegance and grace have me enthralled, my eyes follow the lines set in motion to end at her feet, ankles crossed just so as to look uncontrived, and that is when I knew this woman. The lace up ribbons to just below the calf line the only hint of her rebellious nature, a shoe like that in those days could be considered scandalous, but none would have the nerve to say that to her face. Yet when I look at her half smile in the photo I can see that she already knows this, and relishes it.

“That’s your Aunt Rita” Carol Anne tells me just as Michael says “that’s my Mother”. My cousins begin relating stories about this remarkable woman that died too young, this woman that my Aunt Anne always said that I reminded her of, mostly because of the color of my ember red hair.

It is when Carol Anne says “she bought me my first pair of high heels, and they were RED VELVET” that my ears turn deaf as my own memories rush in.

I met my Aunt Rita late in her life and early in mine, I was no more than five when I was introduced to her. I remember the white trimmed couch I sat on, I remember the white fireplace in the photo, I remember the gold embellishments of her decor, I myself have always prefered gold to silver. And I remember Red.

Red the color of her velvet couch cushions

Red the color of her embossed wallpaper

Red the color of her throw rug

Red the color of the afghan draped on a chair

Red the color of her shoes

Red the color of her hair

Red the color of my life from that moment on.

Red the color of the hair dye I wore for twenty five years

Red the color of the accents in my black and white house

Red the color of my favorite dresses, shoes, nail polish, red red red, I see it all like a revolving carousel.

My mind is turning in circles and everywhere I look I see Red,

Blood Red

Rose Red

Christmas Red

Velvet Red,

all names I believed were real until I was reminded of the truth.


Rita Red.

All Reds lead back to her.

Black, White, and Rita Red, the colors of my life.

The Plot Thickens, Thursday:
An old photograph



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