Like One for the Other

Kate keeps a list in her head: The hours from 4 to 8 are red hours. 8 to noon is blue. Noon is white. 1 to 4 is green. Evenings are purple. Nights are yellow.

The walls of her rooms are white and made of concrete. She can’t paint them, she can’t hang anything on them. She buys plants to put in front of them. Bookshelves. Sofas. Art things. The view is good, and music always comes up from the bar on the first floor, along with the murmur of conversation. She never feels alone, but she never feels crowded. Her apartment is brown, a non-color brown.

Arguments from the street are yellow-green, snot-color; shouting is pink like a carnation. The real soft color of the flower, not the color they call carnation pink when they’re selling baby clothes. Sometimes she sees people fucking in the alley, and sometimes people shitting and once she’s pretty sure she saw someone get killed. There were a lot of cops milling around for hours, but nobody came up to talk to her. That was burgundy, like middle school chairs. The cops were silver.

Sometimes she brings people home, pressed together in the elevator, mouths sweet with whiskey. They drink coffee and eat eggs and listen to music and thrash the sheets sweaty. Those nights are brown-black, coffee nights, but the mornings after are a stretched thin color that isn’t any color at all until the door closes and she’s alone again. She doesn’t get many hangovers, but they’re violet like fireworks when she does. Hangovers she doesn’t like, but she loves that violet.

She lies on her carpet and lets the throb of sound from below push against her with tiny orange hammers. When she closes her eyes the city washes over her, dark and sparkling, in a color she can’t put a name to, a strong and singular shade, like everything.