It was one of those colouring books with the picture already coloured in on the left hand page and blank on the right.
“Say thank you to Aunty Pearl, Matty.”
But he was already tearing open the box of brand new paints.
“Never mind, Susan. So long as he likes them. Coffee smells nice.”
“Oh that’ll keep him occupied for hours, Pearl. He’s a budding Picasso, you know.”
We took our coffee and cakes through to the conservatory and left Picasso busy at the table. Pearl had told me on the phone, she had tons of great gossip. As usual it was about some bloke having an affair and although she went into great detail, she mentioned no names.
“Some people can’t see what’s straight in front of them but it’ll really hit the fan when his wife sees him for what he is.”
“Oh, do you think she’ll find out, then?”
“I’m sure of it, dear. She just happens to be a close friend of a friend.” Pearl looked smug and swallowed the last of her coffee.
I thought about how close a friend I might be and what friends we had in common.
“I say, Matthew’s awfully quiet, Susan. Do you think he’s okay?”
Just then, Matty appeared in the doorway holding up his most recent masterpiece, torn from the book. “Here Aunty Pearl, this one’s for you.”
“Thank you, Matthew. I’ll treasure it.”
A baby pink sun shone in the green sky and tall blue palms with purple bark leaned towards a lobster beach.
“It isn’t quite the same colours as the one in the book, is it, sweetheart?” remarked Pearl. “It’s most… original!”
Matty looked pleased with that and went off to do some more.
“Colour blind? Yes.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. If I’d known that I wouldn’t have brought…”
“Why? He loves painting. It’s just that Matty sees the world a little differently from the rest of us but then, so did Picasso, after all.”
“I’d never have thought of it like that,” said Pearl.
“No, dear. Well, as you were saying before, we can all be a little blind sometimes.”
Matty could distinguish yellow and blue and in a sense that’s all he could distinguish. I looked at Pearl and wondered how it had taken me this long to see her true colours.
Oonah V Joslin lives in Northumberland, England. Winner of Micro Horror Prizes 2007 and 2008. Most read in EDF, Jan 2008. Guest judge in the Shine Journal 2008 Poetry Competition. Bewildering Stories Quarterly 4 2007 and 1 and 2 in 2008. She has had work published in Bewildering Stories, Twisted Tongue, Static Movement, 13 Human Souls, Back Hand Stories and The Pygmygiant, Lit Bits, The Linnet’s Wings, The Ranfurly Review and Boston Literary Magazine. The list is growing every month which pleases her immensely! Oonah is also Managing Editor of Every Day Poets. You can link to work, follow up-dates and contact Oonah at http://www.writewords.org.uk/oonah/ or http://www.oonahs.blogspot.com. She thanks all of you who take the time to read and comment.