Sometimes people ask me why do you love the color blue so much. I love the color blue because it reminds me of my father and being a small boy. It reminds me of my father because of my grandfathers who were both outdoorsmen. My mother’s father was a hunter and loved his rifles and my father’s father was a gardener who loved nothing more than patting manure on his basil and thyme and rosemary. But my father was neither of these things because he never had time free to spend outdoors. But once when I was a small boy I remember my family took a holiday to the sea and my father would rise early every day even though he could sleep for once but he arose anyway because it was in his nature. And he would walk down to the shore as the sun rose and watch the blue of the ocean become illuminated by the blue of the sky. Curious as a small boy I crept after him one of these small mornings without him knowing and watched him from a grove of fragrant trees take in the shore and the sea and the edge of the world unfold before him and it was then I knew. My father loved the sea most of all.
Sometimes I wish I could be cryogenically frozen so my doppelgänger could be free to roam. And while I am sleeping he, my doppelgänger, would destroy the world. Only he wouldn’t know because it would be my plan, not his plan. And I would be asleep. And this way we would both be innocent. Plausible deniability. The police would come for him and try to cuff him and slam his head into the back of the klaxoning seizurespinning bluered machine and he would shout It’s not my fault! It’s not my fault! It wasn’t me! It wasn’t me! and he would be telling the truth. You can’t arrest a man for telling the truth. And they couldn’t arrest me because I would asleep, popsiclized. You can’t arrest a frozen body. And so, one by one, the lights in the cities would wink out and there would be nothing they could do. The police and the businessmen and all the people with something to lose would merely stand in the streets, shoulder to shoulder, a flood, agape, in mute terror. And it would be then that he, my doppelgänger, would come to realize what he’d done. What wrath he had wrought, unknowing. And all the world would be strained necks and upturned eyes and vacuum mouths. All would be quiet. And nothing would wake me from my sleep.
Gerard Ledley is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he studied English and Creative Writing. He has served as an assistant editor and contributor to the University’s two undergraduate literary magazines, Re:Visions and The Juggler. He has lived in South Bend and briefly in Dublin, but he calls Brewster, New York home. He writes both short fiction and poetry. Selected by David Ishaya Osu.
Image copyright Julie Sarloutte.