AROMA BOREALIS • by B.J. Koenig

“What’s your favorite color?” she asked.

“Radio,” he said. “Three hundred gigahertz,” he added.

Her eyes lit up against a gag-reel of emotions, before landing back on confusion.

“That’s… not a color,” she goaded.

And he knew she’d say that.

They joined one other in laughter, and their coffee cups nearly kissed their lids together.

“It’s totally a color,” he insisted.

She wasn’t having it — but demanded to know why he was feeding her this delusion. He was ready to bite.

“How?” she said with a squint.

He took the napkin and began inking together a sloppy lineup of hertz and nanometers.

“It’s on the light spectrum,” he explained, digging the ballpoint a little too deep into the linen. They stared at each other while his words trekked an invisible wire between them.

“Oh shit,” she murmured.

The idea fermented in her mind straight away. He laid the pen down, and she snatched it up. Now it was her turn to scrawl against the napkin.

“So,” she said, as the pen hovered a hair’s breadth above a patch of untouched brown.

“Does that mean radio antennas are… eyes?”

He wasn’t sure what to think — which is to say it never occurred to him. Wifi sings on the same frequency as a microwave oven. Their coffees were getting cold, but that only meant they didn’t have to sip at them with a cartoonish prudence anymore.

“When you put it that way…” he began to trail off. “I guess we’ve always had color TV.”

She smiled buoyantly. “I guess I’ll change mine,” she said.

His cup of light roast became weightless as he finished it off. She began touching the light spectrum he carved into the napkin with her fingers, winking hard at it, like a critic at an art exhibit. Her brainwaves danced colorfully, before braking.

“Violet,” she said.

He tucked his chin down against his neck in surprise.

“Tha—” he sputtered. “That’s what you said before!”

She nodded almost bashfully.

“You can’t get me radio colored flowers,” she confessed. “And it’s at the very far end of the spectrum, so it’s still friends with ultraviolet, and x-rays… that’s enough for me.”

He could’ve argued with her, but it made sense to him.

And every so often, you’ve got to stop and see the roses.


B.J. Koenig is a novice writer, and undergrad student, whose fondest accomplishments live between himself and his friends.


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