The Stain

The Stain

Blue is the colour of happiness

Sarah read that dirt is merely matter out of place. That was comforting. It meant that there was no moral high ground to be attained by doing housework, since all you were doing was demonstrating your misunderstanding of the true order of things.

In the light of this, Sarah began to revise the way she interpreted the world around her, and to think about the significance of mess. Some stains looked like a catastrophe: a port-wine birthmark across a beloved face, for example. Or red wine splashed across a white dress. Or menstrual blood leaving a streak on an embarrassed chair. Or rouge applied to one cheek and not to another. An iceberg could hole you below your waterline, and a red trail would spread through the Bering Straits. These were all the consequence of biological accident or carelessness. You could conceal them, or tough it out.

Why, Sarah wondered, was the red stain so problematical? Was it because it reminded us of our animal nature: of the juice that courses through our veins? What about other colours? She’d like to see some blue ones: Curacao, cerulean ink, azure paint spattered against a wall. Blue to her was the tincture of happiness: of cloudless skies, of peerless water, of spruce trees in the sun, of bluebells hiding away. Where were the blue stains? And what to do with them?

Then something happened. Sarah’s life was suddenly transformed by a piercing joy which tore through the ether: it was like a comet with a blue tail. When she saw it coming towards her, she suddenly realised that all was well, and that there were others like her: she was not alone after all. Now that bright ball burst into her room and broke, and the blue stain spread across the floor. It smelled like honey, it was viscous, it was warm. It was too precious to show to anyone. Sarah pulled a rug over it. The perfume filled the room, and the sapphire stain hummed from its hiding place. She was happy at last.