What is the colour of the night sky? I thought it’s black. I am not so sure any longer, though. Like other things in my life, the sky may have also deluded me.
Closing my eyes, whenever I try to picture the sky at night, I see a vast, unfathomable darkness. In that darkness, there are no edges. It overwhelms me. I find it difficult to breathe. I open my eyes. I count to ten. I look out the window. What colour do I see? What melody? Is there any tune?
In the small apartment where I live now on the second floor in a small neighberhood, night comes fast. And a little after ten every night, I sit in the living room couch by the window and look out. A deserted street, one or two stray dogs, barking. And a deep, dark night sky. I try to put a swathe of blue, a little grey and a few strokes of crimson in my mind. A new colour emerges. Looking at it, I wonder if I was wrong all along. How did I miss it? When I have lived with it every single day of my life? And what about those sleepless nights when the sky was the sole companion? How can I not see its true colour?
Lately, it seems to be a different sky. I see blue, grey, crimson, and a little glow. This glow has no colour, no name. But I know I will find a name for it soon. For now, I call it hope or maybe a dream.
What is the colour of hope? Is there any colour for dream? What about wishes? If I want something strongly and long for it, will it gain a colour? If I think of nothing, does it have a color too? Why not have separate colours for all our hopes, desires, the sunny mornings, the giggles of a child, the spark of a lover’s eye and the blank pages of a poet’s diary. What about wit and wisdom? Luck and destiny? Don’t they deserve colours too? Why not colour the entire world? And then, waltz back to the night sky. What colour do I see? What colour do I long to see? Longing is such a plain word. It must have a colour too. Oh no, do not digress, go back to the original idea, the primary thought—what colour is the night sky? I presumed it to be black. Perhaps because I thought its essence was black. But it is not. Its essence lies in all the colours. I embrace this new sky.
(This article is inspired by "What Color Is the Sky", written by Nina MacLaughlin for the Paris Review.
Marzia Rahman is a fiction writer and translator.