Yellow, the bright shadow
It was a Saturday in early spring last year. My two sisters visited me to celebrate my birthday. We went out to enjoy the spring flowers.
Looking up at the sky under a magnolia shade, taking some pictures by azaleas, gazing at each plum blossom in turn, we returned to our girlhood. Under a building's shadow, we came across a yellow fence of late-blooming forsythia.
I was especially delighted by the bright yellow. It seemed to be a large placard saying ``Welcome to spring." It was like nature's thoughtful present to human beings who had gone through a long achromatic winter. Nothing is as joyful a color in early springtime as yellow.
As we parted, my younger sister took a look at a yellow chiffon dress in a shop window. Even after passing by the shop, she kept looking back at the dress. This was unusual as she usually wears pastel-toned or cotton clothes. After a short hesitation, she bought it. I couldn't wait to see her in such a flamboyant dress. Though it should suit her lovely figure and fair skin, I suspected she would hesitate and might never actually wear it. It seemed that she, like me, had become sick and tired of the long gray winter.
On one occasion when my son Joon was a toddler I was delighted by the color yellow.
While buying some vegetables at a street market, I lost him. At that moment, the world was clearly divided into two colors in my eyes; yellow and non-yellow.
After a 10-year-like hour passed, I saw a blur of yellow in the air moving toward me. I wondered if it were an illusion. It turned out to be my son on the shoulders of a tall young man. Joon had a triumphant expression on his excited face. No color was ever so joyful for me as that yellow of my son's clothes. Yes, yellow had been such a joyful and delightful image for me until I heard sad news from my younger sister last May.
I heard that she had to undergo cancer treatment. As I ached for her, somehow I remembered her new yellow chiffon outfit. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see her in that dress for some time. How long a painful period of time would pass until she wore it and smiled? As a music therapist, she had been helping so many patients recover their happiness.
A few days later when I visited her, she opened the door wearing that very yellow dress. It was the last outfit I expected her to wear in such a gloomy situation. Though pale, she looked beautiful. I noticed she had tried to look nice for her broken-hearted sister.
She said ``I'm going to get my head shaved tomorrow, as I will have to take chemotherapy. I wanted to grant your wish while I still have long hair, so I think today is perfect timing."
I hadn't realized she still remembered my comment that I couldn't wait to see her in that dress.
I saw her chiffon skirt fluttering as she made coffee in the kitchen. It was because her shoulders were heaving.
As I was looking at her yellow dress with swollen eyes full of tears, suddenly the sunflowers and stars of Van Gogh's works of art overlapped with it. I realized why the yellow tones in his paintings looked so sad. I now know that was because he always looked at flowers and the sky with tear-filled eyes due to his miserable life.
It was the first time for me to learn that dazzling yellow could sometimes look so dark and gloomy.
The writer is professor at Incheon Jae Neung College. Contact her at email@example.com.