Grey is grey is grey

She was insisting on grey. A light grey for the walls with the ceiling just off-white and the woodwork eggshell.

The room certainly needed redoing. It was tired and listless and she was far too sparky to let it be. Too arty. She knew it was wrong, felt it.

“Bring back some colour swatches. They’ll help me choose.”

“But mum… ,” I started.

“I know, I know,” she said, “I may be as blind as a bat, but I can still see. In my own way. I still have my sense of style, of design. I can still remember.”

“I’ll just make it all white. She’ll never know,” I thought to myself.

“Don’t even think it. I want grey,” she said.

Her third eye! It works for her. And this over the phone.

So I bought half a dozen trial pots of different greys – light grey, mid-grey, dark grey, welcome grey, silver grey, gauze grey. Even Paul Smith would be confused. Grey is grey is grey, as any nocturnal cat will tell you.

The next day when the sun was streaming in through the windows I painted the shades on to the wall. She sat patiently, listening carefully to each brush stroke, breathing in the chemical scents.

Later, when they were dry, she held her palm over each of the little grey patches. Stroked them with her fingertips. Pressed her lips to them.

“No. No. Not this. That’s better. Let’s try that one again.” And so it went on for a few minutes until, triumphantly, “That’s it, that’s the one!”

So the walls ended up light grey. I liked it. A lot. “Looks good, mum.”

“A lot better,” she said. “Now, these curtains … .”

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13 Responses to Grey is grey is grey

  1. Patrick says:

    Thanks. I’m as pleased as punch. Makes me want to write more.

  2. Elaine McKay says:

    Congratulations on featured story. Well deserved.

  3. kiwirebecca says:

    Such a great story.
    I love ‘Grey is grey is grey, as any nocturnal cat will tell you.’

  4. botanicarose says:

    I recently chose a grey carpet from an unbelievably wide range of shades and gave up trying to find matching or complimentary grey curtains. So I enjoyed this on two levels- the story about senses and the acknowledgement of grey as a colour in its own right. Grey is most certainly not just grey. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Featured writers weeks 13 & 14 | CAKE.shortandsweet

  6. Emmaleene Leahy says:

    Love the way she uses her other senses to compensate (reminds me of a poem by Thomas McCarthy I think called “In her Blindness”). The perspective of the daughter (pardon the pun!) is very well depicted and believable and it makes the final line really funny. Makes the reader imagine the process to come.

  7. Elaine McKay says:

    This is very tender and I like what it says about using our other senses and intuition.

  8. Bekie says:

    I enjoyed this, it was a great capture of the moments in someone’s day. Made me smile, and chuckle in places too 🙂

  9. This is really sweet, and I’m intrigued to see where you could take this character. World-famous blind interior designer? Why not 😀

    • Patrick says:

      Thanks, Sarah. She has problems with the different shades of black so can’t progress much more.

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