Mauve

by ShelliRae Spotts

The dress was purple. An aubergine, eggplant purple, but when she called it mauve no one corrected her. The words jumbled since the stroke that muddled speech and hazed meaning, mauve was as close as she could get. This was part of the recovery—the naming and labeling and classifying, reteaching old words in new patterns, tightening the grip on sounds and shapes and meanings. And how different is mauve from purple, really? A shade or two; a faint tint of red, a splash of pink, a hint of ochre staining the edges and plum becomes periwinkle, becomes violet, becomes mauve. Not so very far then. A simple line crossed, like the faint shivery outline of the shadow that crept over her mother brain while she slept and left her talking nonsense, spouting out words in stutter and rhyme, as if you could make meaning from the feel and shape of them, as if you could read recovery in the return and sense in the symbol, as if you could shiver away from the Jabberwock with a word, a dawn dusk dusty pink of a word like mauve.