reddish purple

Fuchsia. It sounds like some Italian curse word… Hey, Enzo, you are nothing but a faker, a fuchsia! You are a no better than magenta…”

by julio peralta-paulino

Fuchsia. It really is one of my least favorite words. I have vowed to avoid saying it. If the color happens to come up somehow in conversation, and it luckily has not, I would readily, rapidly, go with magenta. Now, to my understanding, magenta is a shade or two darker than the dread fuchsia and honestly not much of an improvement.

It was 1859 (and if you ask me when I would have liked to live other than now I would say before that year) when the French defeated the Austrians and some bonehead made a combination of red and purple.

Have you ever tried to wear red and purple? Say red shoes with a purple anything? It simply will not work to your advantage. It doesn’t matter if you are as enthralling as Anna Kournikova or as beautiful as Martina Hingis.

Fuchsia. It sounds like some Italian curse word… Hey, Enzo, you are nothing but a faker, a fuchsia! You are a no better than magenta!

Excuse me, I have just had a little case of the giggles. Not only do I not like the word, I have misspelled it every time I have tried to write it within these paragraphs.

English isn’t my first tongue, but I have become adequate with it. It’s just a bitch of word. A verbal nightmare. A proverbial cunt in the lexicon.

It even makes me curse! Fuck it.

There is, not obviously but of course, a point to this happenstance diatribe against the definition of reddish purple.

It was just a few days ago at the tournament. I had had a good night, a sound breakfast, a nice jog, a good hit, and a relaxing massage.

I get to the court a little under half an hour before the match to get used to the sun or shade and the feel of the baseline. I’m all set and then I see my opponent dressed in a suit of that color which I don’t even want to try and spell anymore!

I think to myself, “Well, at least her shoes are white and I can focus my attention on that and the ball.”

A few minutes later, I’m balanced and about to serve. You don’t really look at anything when you fling the Wilson up and ready the racket to launch it into motion. It’s a moment when you should be entirely centered, a well-practiced instant that should be second nature.

I’m only five seven or so and I do some weights. My serve is strong but it doesn’t go into the ninety miles per hour power range that some of the top players have. I try to calculate my moves as if it were a game of chess. Please don’t tell anyone, I will surely get a note from the WTA telling me not make the game sound boring.

Anyway, there is a little blur in the corner of my left eye. That reddish purple thing is bouncing, awaiting my serve! I notice it as the whack of the racket booms the Wilson and I land looking at it walled by the net.

Fault! I start wishing it really were 1858, but then it occurs to me that I would probably be playing in a corset and bonnet and still couldn’t vote in some countries. I am bouncing the ball. I am looking at the crowd. They are waiting to start turning their necks left and right to an extended easy sway of see-saw excitement tennis. I feel a drop or two of perspiration at my brow. I take a deep breath and I fling trying to forget that I have peripheral vision in my left eye. Smack. It sounds good. Flies across the net and I can see it handcuff my opponent momentarily. She clutches her racket, which thank goodness is not reddish purple, with both hands and it reminds me of the lovely and talented Monica Seles which takes away the thought of that bitch of a word, takes one step back and swipes at my serve.

I try not to wish that some deranged lunatic will attack her from the stands, but it’s that color and I can’t help it. Goodness gracious, what a terrible thing. Some people will say things like no one said it would be easy but imagine a suspended sentence for a violent offender. She’s one of my heroes for the way she played and for coming back after that whole tragedy.

I am concentrating only on the return and her shoes. I run a bit into center court and volley hard with the anger of what some jury or judge decided was fair and her reddish purple attire chase the center and I head back to a safer area from which to be prepared.

She does the double handed Seles thing again trying to nick the corner line. I am already there in my thoughts and thinking I will volley again and keep bringing her in near to the net until I can volley over her and within the line.

Even with a reddish purple dress on, she has power and I can feel that there is a weird spin on the green fire ball I have just sent back over the net. I am starting to feel my breath and I don’t know if I can get back in time to respond to the next hit which will surely be on the other side of the court.

Backtracking sideways, I watch her shoes. An overhand move rises from the reddish purple opponent. I can see her jump is uneven, too high and I can see the ball not making it over the net. Fifteen Love. I was on my way.

In Wimbledon, bless the tradition, we all are required to wear white. That’s what I was thinking after taking the game in two sets. I sign some things for fans and smile at a marriage proposal from the stands from a guy in regular jeans and sports jersey.

Back in 1859, the French and the Austrians would be fighting a few more battles (none of them named after newfound shades) but it was really an Italian war. The Great Blondin crossed Niagara Falls upon a tightrope a few days later for pennies in today’s currency and furthered his now dwindled renown.

I don’t mind wearing red and sometimes I don’t even mind wearing purple. In fact, they often go well with blue. And goodness yes, blue, that is my favorite color…

Full-blooded Indians on the far tablelands searching for the trail of the Buffalo. My royal blue dress adorned by a single dewdrop pearl. My maize bonnet makes a far ghost of the sunlight. My rice-colored and slender Mexican leather gloves gently music the reins. The horses leaving a trail of disrupted dust that rises only to settle. My beau asleep inside the mouth of the tented wagon. We are nearing the river, we are nearing a new home north of the borderline.

Exhausted from the match, I drifted into dreams after the reverie where nothing was reddish purple and the light of victory led me to another day.

Originally published:
Issue Fifty-Seven
March 2010


Julio Peralta-Paulino is a writer currently at work on several projects. Some of his recent work is featured at City Writers Review and Jack Magazine. He is thrilled to be once again included in the eclectic and hip publication known as Smokebox. More stories from Julio Peralta-Paulino can be found in the Vault of Smoke.


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