A Wall is not a Heart

A 500-word (ish) short contemporary fiction.


Colour king-hit the wall. Blue. Not a soft blue, not eggshell blue, not sky blue. This was a black-hearted pirate blue, deep oceans, hidden secrets blue.

“I didn’t want blue.” Dani stared at the scar it created against the undercoat grey. “It’s too dark. We don’t want dark.” Not again. Please, not again. She moved behind Marc and peered into the tin. “Why did you get this one?”

“On special. An uncollected order. One-third the usual price.” He put the brush down and turned to face her. “We could mix it with the white for the kitchen and tone it down.”

Dani stepped back. “You did this before. You did the bottle-green hallway that took four coats to cover. And the purple in our bedroom.” A pain bit in her chest. She’d loved their first house, their forever home. Until the renovations he’d done cost so much to fix they had to sell it or declare bankruptcy. “I thought …”

“It’s just a wall. What does it matter what colour we paint it? One wall. A feature wall, something that says it’s us.”

“It’s not us, it’s you.” Dani shoved the tin along the single plastic protector that covered the entire floorspace of their newly mortgaged apartment’s living area. “I don’t want it. I want something soothing, a colour that shifts with the seasons, where shadows and light show up and highlight …” She stabbed a finger at the boxes with her collections of glass and crystal and lead-lighting. “I want light, not dark. I’ve had enough dark. I don’t want it.”

A thumping knock shuddered the flimsy front door. Marc dropped the brush onto the lid and ran two steps to the door. He flung it open.

“Hi, new neighbours – we bring wine and canapes to celebrate your good fortune in your successful purchase in this decadently sophisticated art-nouveau building.” The young man slid inside, followed by an older woman carrying a bucket with ice and two clinking bottles. “No flutes, but we have shot glasses – ever tried shot-glass toasting with sparkling?”

The woman placed the bucket on the floor. She stared at the wall.

Japanese wall art - waves
pic from Pixabay: Japanese Waves Background Paper

“Samurai blue,” she whispered. “Where did you get it? The last tint for that colour sold months ago, can’t get it now. Oh, it’s so deep, so dark, so Japanese. Perfect for my apartment. I do black lacquer, enji red, arctic white, but missing the blue. I don’t suppose …” she waggled her eyebrows at Dani.

Marc shook his head.

With her arm flung in front of him, Dani strode into the centre of the room and waved her visitors inside. She grasped the woman with both hands and smiled. “Come in, neighbours,” Dani said. “Let’s introduce ourselves. Let’s drink to hearty friends, a fresh start, and new colour expressions for wall space.”


See you next week!

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