Red’s Maintenance

After the Impact, Sarena Pollock

We regret to inform you that starting on 10/02/4519, the color red will be undergoing

maintenance, and will be temporarily unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

First, you may notice your senses being slightly dulled due to gaps in your sensory perception. Do not be alarmed. Your body is simply adjusting to the new circumstances it finds itself in. During this period, in all likelihood you will not notice the absence of red. However, your mind will. The place which the color formerly filled in your mind will start to be filled by new patterns.

Eventually you will notice the absence of the color red. When eating a strawberry, looking at a stop sign, or watching a fire truck pass by. Do not be alarmed. These things still exist, and will continue to perform the same functions they always have. But your mind will not see it this way. The strawberry will no longer seem like the sweet, summertime fruit it was in the past. Instead, a simulacrum of it will have taken its place. Something not quite the same as before.

The world will begin to deteriorate. Things you never even noticed were red are now missing one of their essential qualities. That which formerly brought you pleasure will become burdensome. Do not be alarmed. You likely will not realize how much the color red meant to you until you lost it. Here is where you will feel the absence of it the most. Despair will settle in, as your mind will crave a world with red in it, not wanting to exist in this one. Do not give in.

Red will return. Eventually. There won’t be an alarm or notification. And red will not return all at once. But slowly, and surely, it will begin to fade back into your perceptions. The stop signs will regain their hue, and the fire trucks will shine that same bright shade. Even the strawberries, now glowing with an iridescence that you never noticed, never appreciated, will bring warmth, will regain the color red. But it will take time for red to return. Please be patient. We are hard at work.

About the Author

John Finnegan · Chapman University

John Finnegan is a sophomore English Literature student at Chapman University. When not working on their next piece, you can usually find them reading, exploring the city, and experiencing the wonderful parts of life they write about. This piece first appeared in Calliope. 

About the Artist

Sarena Pollock · Susquehanna University

Sarena Pollock is a graduate of Susquehanna University with a BA in Creative Writing, where she was the recipient of the Gary and Elizabeth Fincke Outstanding Senior Portfolio Prize. Her debut chapbook “After the Impact” was published by Chrysalis Press of Susquehanna University in 2019, and her work appears in Chicago Quarterly ReviewThe Albion ReviewLaurel Moon, and Kissing Dynamite, among others. This piece originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of plain china

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