Hope is a bright white light. Desire is a deep purple glow. Green is the colour of envy and red the dreams of passion. We all have dreams and she sees them all.
Every night, she sits on her balcony overlooking the city and watches the fireworks catapult across the night’s sky. There are so many.
Each night, thousands of them shriek into the blackness, exploding over the rooftops and showering buildings with countless coloured specks. For twenty years, she has been blessed with this gift; the ability to see hopes and dreams as they are imagined.
During the evening, she notes down the different colours blazing into the sky. On Valentine’s Day, glowing red flames fire up into the clouds, blanketing the heavens with red artillery blasts. Each Sunday, as people iron their morning shirts, a thick layer of yellow smog lingers over the rooftops.
But her gift comes with a price. Trust is hard to earn when sickly green deceit lingers over your head, while a sputtering Catherine Wheel of purple is never acceptable behaviour for a man on a second date.
A multi-coloured chart is clumsily pinned to her living room; tiles of sellotaped A4 paper which snake across every wall of her home. For six years, she has methodically matched each colour to its corresponding emotion and she has not seen a shade she did not recognise for quite some time.
Sitting on her balcony, she frequently thinks of those who light up the sky. Maroon and pink flares make her smile, while she often says a prayer for those who launch grey or brown lights into the night. Dark blue explosions, the worst kind of colour, make her hurry back into the flat and check the locks on the front door.
But recently she has noticed a change. The sky is not as bright as it once was; Caribbean yellows and royal blues are rare these days, having been replaced by taupe and charcoal flames.
The nights, she thinks, are growing darker.