Today I will be . . . seeing red

XI’ve been posting daily resolutions on my Facebook status as a way of focusing my attention on something positive rather than the truth. For example, if I have a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, I will write, “Today I will be . . . energetic.” Or if I know I’m going to have to rise to a challenge, such as coming to an agreement with someone who refuses to see my side of the situation, I will write, “Today I will be . . . flexible.” Or forgiving, or whatever the situation calls for.

Today I discovered a great new word: apolaustic, which means “seeking enjoyment,” and that seemed an appropriate resolution for the day since fun hasn’t been part of my life much lately.

The trouble is, I think the goblins out there got things confused, and they’ve been having a bit of enjoyment at my expense. When I opened the pantry this morning, I noticed there were two boxes of cherry Jello-O where yesterday there were three. Unless I walk in my sleep (or unless my father does, since he’s been spending most of his time sleeping lately), that box of red gelatin powder simply disappeared. (And since he doesn’t know how to make it and I don’t eat it, it couldn’t have been consumed by either of us in a wild bout of sleepeating.)

I wouldn’t have thought anything more of the missing red gelatin (well, that’s not true at all — I’ve spent hours searching for the ridiculous thing because something cannot disappear for no reason and the puzzle puzzles me) but an hour or so later, a red vehicle went missing. (No, not mine — whew! And anyway, I’m not exactly a red car sort of person, though that might be something to think about in the future as I’m trying to decide who I want to be.)

I was out walking in the desert when I saw, about a tenth of mile in front of me, a bright shiny new red pickup truck parked on a rise. I hesitated about going forward because vehicles parked in the middle of the desert take away from the enjoyment (ah! My apolaustic moment!) of my solitary walk, and besides, they make me nervous. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in my fictional community of Rubicon Ranch where my character has a penchant for finding dead bodies in the desert, or maybe I’m just careful. Either way, after the moment of hesitancy, I went forward.

I lost sight of the vehicle for a minute or two as I went around a bend, and when again I looked for the red pickup, it was gone. From where I was standing, I had a panoramic view of the desert, and no red truck was in sight though it wouldn’t have been able to drive out of sight in the brief time it was out of my view. About a quarter of a mile away, a white pickup, a much older model, was slowly making its way along a rutted desert road, but no red truck. I climbed to higher ground, and still couldn’t catch a glimpse of red, and in that stark beige world, even a touch of crimson would have been readily apparent.

So, who is stealing red from my life, and why? Are goblins or other tricksters playing games at my expense? Usually, when I get back from my walk, my cheeks are red from the cold, but today, they were barely pink. Had the goblins also taken the color from my blood? If I had pricked a finger, would I have bled blue or green?

Maybe a better status update on Facebook would have been, “Today I will be . . . seeing red.”


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

7 Responses to “Today I will be . . . seeing red”

  1. kencoffman Says:

    Great essay, Pat. I’m holding onto the arms of my chair to keep myself from running upstairs to count our boxes of Jell-O. Funny how something like that can lodge in the mind.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I’m sure there are worse things that could happen.

  3. Wanda Says:

    Now I’m intrigued. Red jello disappeared? Please keep us informed. I gotta know. Now about that red truck….the beginnings of a great story? Yes, I think so.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’ll have to think about what a disappearing red truck could mean. It shouldn’t be hard — after all, I disappeared most of the world in my WIP. (Well, it’s not exactly a WIP, you have to actually be working on something for it to be a work in progress.)

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