Carson's Yellow Period

This is what you’ll look like. After high school. After the parade. This is the expression that your face will make in its resting phase. A smirk but never a smile, a clenched jaw beneath the skin. These little dots are you never clean shaven. You’ll never grow a beard, will never fill the face in. You threw your last ball twenty years ago, Carson. But you’re still in a ringer tee. Your whole scene is yellow.

That last line sounds like a send off. Like my whole life will be a wash out. As of late I draw a lot of lines to claim the time I need to get things done. Yet, in the time I demand for myself nothing is ever getting done. I loop ears to the sides of the eyes on the illustration. A lot of time to fill in the lines of the receding hair, but I’d trade a lot of this time I have for less recession.

I want this drawing to tell you it could be different. I thought if I showed you, Carson, we could change it. “But, it’s inner nature,” you whisper from the illustration. It’s in our nature, is what I hear. It’s our inner nature, I think to the drawing of myself at present, little self portrait. I wash over it with a heavy stroke of yellow. Over everything. Watercolor bleeds across the page.

“Yellow is primary,” the illustration whispers. Whispers my present self. He is me now. The way I see myself: a half stance, an indecision king. “But this was meant to be about me.” Well, you are speaking to me, little one. I guess we’re in the same ship on that level. Sea level. A girl walks into a bar. You ask her how she’s been. Sea level, she replies. You could be so bold, to even know yourself enough to reply like this.

“It’s one of only three,” says Carson, now smirking at me. “It’s not a sinking ship. It’s half of orange. Half of green.”

“It’s what you make it,” we say at the same time. I draw another line under his right eye. I shade beneath the chin.

Yellow is what you make it, my younger self thinks to me. I am holding an oar, twenty years ago, on a boat with the backs of seven young men in front of me. When the seat glides in the shell, you bring your chest to your knees, then you plunge the oar back into the water and release, pushing with your legs away from your feet. We were above sea level. We were gliding across the surface, our backs to the future. The sun rising over the river. Color spread out and filled in everything.