Grey is the color that describes how I feel today.
April 29th is Showa Day in Japan, a national holiday celebrating the Emperor’s birthday.
My best friend, Sarah, shares his birthday and it is because of this that I now refer to the day as “The Day of Sarah”. I’m sure she would be pleased that Japan considers her birthday a national holiday.
Along with the Japanese, I have set aside this day as a day of reflection.
Pink was the color of her hair (that day anyway).
Sarah was my neighbor during my freshmen year in college. The first time I met her was Halloween 1998.
She was small but intense, standing a little over five feet tall, in a Deftones T-shirt. Her bright pink hair drew my attention away from the many zippers and randomly placed chains that criss-crossed her pants.
Her hair was edged out of my attention only by the light bouncing off the various metal piercings protruding from her eye, nose and chin.
I poked my head around the bathroom door and watched in amazement as she pulled straight and dried big sections of her pink hair with egg whites until they stood, as though independent from her head.
We couldn’t have been more different.
She was into death metal music and I loved country. She was spiking her hair on a Saturday night to go to a Marilyn Manson concert, I was doing homework and worried about getting the egg whites on my sweater vest. I played sports in high school, she heckled the jocks in hers.
So, naturally, we were friends immediately. It was our mutual fascination with each other that bonded us.
Red was the color of Christina’s anger as it spread over her face and she stormed into the lobby.
Christina was a girl who lived on our floor and she had come to the lobby to yell at us…again. It seemed she did not share our affinity for MTV’s midnight countdown. Nor did she appreciate our celebratory dancing-on-couches and singing (screaming) our favorite songs.
Brown was the color of the couches on which we were jumping up and down.
We stole these couches on more than one occasion.
The first time was simply because we thought it might be fun to put one in the elevator to sit on.
We rode in the elevator for several hours delighted by people’s varied responses and inquires about the couch.
The next time we stole couches was because we thought our rooms might be more comfortable with them. So, over spring break we took off the doors to our rooms, to accommodate the too-large couches and made them permanent additions. I kept mine until I was busted by the floor manager and made to put it back.
Blue is the color of our favorite MxPx album.
Sarah introduced me to Ska, Punk and Death Metal music. Ska was fun to dance to but I never got hooked and I was never angry enough to really appreciate Death Metal, but Sarah liked it, so I liked it.
We could, however, agree on MxPx. We bonded over our mutual crush on the lead singer, Mike Herarra, and lyrics that promised if we only moved to Bremerton (their home town) we could all “hang out.”
Yellow, the color of the grilled cheese oozing from my George Foreman Grill.
We used to listen to our favorite MxPx songs in the bathroom, because my room was occupied with my roommate and her boyfriend having sex, and Sarah’s roommate was just plain crazy.
We ate grilled cheese because we’re from Wisconsin and, well, all that singing and dancing makes a person hungry.
White, the color of the snow on the ground when I was first tormented by a broken heart.
You could always count on Sarah to take a stand, whether for herself or her friends. I once saw her get in the face of pretty gruff looking dude who must have out weighed her tiny 110 pound frame by double.
Grand gestures and loud acknowledgements were what Sarah did best so to heal my heartbreak and she suggested we go down to the common yard and write my pain in the snow. We stomped out “Fuck you boys!” in large blocky letters.
This was Sarah’s world.
It was a mischievous, messy, colorful world of crazy characters, mosh pits and midnight adventures. She was, without a doubt, the most witty, charismatic person in the room, at any given moment.
People just wanted to be a part of it, including me.
Black was the color of the world the day Sarah passed away.
As I type this, tears fill my eyes and I feel sad that the world was deprived of such loyalty, kindness and so much fun. We did not have Sarah for long enough and for that we will always feel the loss.
She would have been 34 today. Happy birthday Sarah, wherever you are.
“There’s a party at my house, be there.”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo Credit: Author’s Own