At yoga tonight, I was instructed to assign a color to my breath and observe it. I’ve been asked to do all kinds of interesting things in yoga classes, including activating organs I didn’t know I had, inviting my muscles to embrace my bones, and letting my nostrils determine the course of my day. The color of the breath thing possibly should have thrown me, but I immediately responded “orange” and caught my next exhale visually.
Which got me to thinking: if it’s so easy to assign a hue to breath, is there also a colorful way to express desire? Is there a better way to tell you I want you than to tell you I want you? At 6 in the morning, when I’m starting the slow process of waking, you’re a sneakily intense smoky blue. When the fog of your fingers wraps around me, the tips turn red and I come into you purple, reaching my fuchsia tipped face to yours.
The more I stir, the more purple we become, until we’re positively royal with it and our edges blur. Pink radiates from our center, possibly from the sheer force with which we’re pressed together, if not from some cheesy expression of love.
Love is red and fire is red and sex is red, but that’s later.
Because when the pink starts to burn, we separate and rearrange. Then we turn brown.
Earthy and natural with room to breathe, sweat, and observe, brown is rich and honest. Brown is me seeing your thighs and you watching my eyes until we gradually come together again.
My face and throat turn green. New life churns and sprouts and soon we’re both renewed. Green spreads, bright at first, and then it matures, deepens. We are alive and unstoppable.
And red. Red starts as a pinprick of light, like a solitary bulb on a Christmas tree. My red burns first and yours follows. The red is in our veins and it moves through us intentionally and specifically. It guides our limbs as I rise to fold around you. Red fills your arms and moves your hands to my hips. It burns in your fingertips as you press them into the small of my back. Red rises through my throat and leaks from my lips onto your shoulder.
Red is the color of us and orange is what surrounds us–our breath, our movement, our sweat. Orange is what we’ve made. It’s bright and interesting and complex. It’s friction. It’s youth. It’s all-knowing. It’s smoldering.
Yellow flashes, like a cartoon starburst. Our eruption is blinding, and it takes us both by surprise. Boom! Pow! Kazam! We’re tossled and thrown. My head lands next to your neck and I struggle as gold lightens to lemon. Yellow fades beautifully, like a sun to a moon, accepting and encouraging rest.
And as we rest, all of the colors come back. The walls are blue. My shirt (on the floor) is black. There’s pink in my shoes, a splash of orange in a painting, and a charcoal book on the table. My breath is translucent, and you’re a shade I can’t define.
I will only hesitantly separate from you. When you’ve left my body you’ll briefly become a person I don’t know, and I’ll feel shy and you’ll go grey, like a beautiful black and white photograph that may or may not have lost something in translation. I might deliver a dusty rose kiss to your muted coral lips and I suppose you’ll exit, all colors present but dull.
And then I’ll come back to my breath, orange and attention-worthy. I’ll remind myself that this is only about me, and I’ll try not to want you anymore. In and out, so and hum. You’re abstract and I’m consistent. But if you were real you’d be a goddamned rainbow. And what would I do with that?