Day 80: Colour

Matt Zurbo


Ada was watching a bird in the window,
jotting this and that.
(Ada at class table, hand on chin, bored, doodling while looking at nothing.)

Then, the new teacher said; “For tomorrow’s show-and-tell, bring me the brightest colour you can find.”

Everybody scattered after school, like crabs from an upturned rock.
(Everyone else scattering, Ada just standing there, giving it a lot of thought.)

Next morning, everybody bundled into class. “SHOW-AND-TELL! SHOW-AND-TELL!” they chanted, so excited they might pop!  
(Everybody has all sorts of colour, except Ada, meekly holding one piece of paper.)

Sophie brought a Ulysses moth, from when her dad worked in the tropics! The blue was the brightest, deepest thing Ava had ever seen!
(Blue moth, dead, pinned in a glass frame.)

Verbal brought in a lollipop!
(Eating it, while showing it.)

Cyril a crayfish.

Boof his (green tin peddle) car.

Kat brought in a box of cereal.

The Bartell sisters brought in each other.
(Twins pointing to each other’s red hair)

Finally, it was Ada’s turn.
(Nervously standing in front of the class with nothing more than a piece of paper.)
She had nothing to show, was nervous…
But read:

I thought of fairy tales,

and even aliens.

Of red dogs, on red rocks, under deep red skies.

But how do I bring in my colourful imagination?
(Ideas swirling above her head.)

 I went to the market, and thought of greens,
(Green vegies beside the red ones, and brown ones.)

and thought of whites,
(The butcher’s and fishmonger’s section.)

and blues,
(Jeans stall.)

Then it hit me;
The market is the most colourful thing I have seen!
(Ada, smiling in middle of crowded market.)

And the rainbow last week,

the blue of an ocean,

the red of a rosella… but only when surrounded by fern gully greens.
(Red and blue rosella flying through green fern gully.)

These things you can’t capture,
(An orange sunrise over a frost-white farm.)

or put in a jar,
(A bee on a yellow flower)

that photos do no justice to,
(Ada in the dark, watching a blue firefly with awe. Its blue is lighting her face and skin.)

are the most colourful by far!
(Ada watching an Aboriginal man paint a 10x10ft dot painting of the Dreamtime burning emu’s egg/sun story.)

I briefly thought of asking Viva, the friendly dog lady, to come in,
with her bright car, special dresses, paintings and colourful life.
(Middle aged lady with long dress, frilly umbrella, smile, three dogs, great dane, boxer and Jack Russell, standing in front of one of her paintings of birds)

The best that I can do, is point to any window,
(Image of classroom window. Old school four-square wooden frame.)

and suggest you go to it more often.
(All the kids, almost stacked on top of each other, looking out window. Ada still standing at front of class.)

If you look for it, the most colourful thing is… everywhere!
(Front on of wide-eyed faces looking out of window.)

“Exhibit A,” the new teacher said. Ada got a B+ for being a colourful person.
(Teacher, palm out, gesturing to embarrassed Ada, a B+ written on her paper.)

When she sat back down she blushed so much, if show-and-tell was still going, Ada would have been given an A-, easy!    
(Ada in seat, cheeks glowing bright pink, embarrassed smile. Other kids playing, arguing, etc… all around, framing her.)

The End

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