Everything seems kind of blue today.
It’s strange to wake up to one colour. Awakened by a sudden silence, I saw blue. Tints and shades of blue. Everything was blue. It was like living in Picasso’s Blue Period kind of blue. I looked out the window. No surprise the sky was blue, but the flimsy clouds were unusually blue too. On this monochromatic day, even those haughty crows sitting on the wire were wistfully blue.
But life doesn’t stop just because your day has turned blue. So I made myself a blue latte in my blue cup, which was supposed to be green on normal days, took a sip before placing it on my always blue little table. The tangy taste of the coffee was kind of blue too. You may wonder how one can describe the taste of coffee with colour, but somehow blue seems to be the only word that perfectly fit every description on a day like this. I suppose there are other words for the varieties of blue. Navy. Aqua. Cyan. But sorry, no, the kind of blue we’re talking about here is beyond the sense of colour. Pushing aside the dark blue cushions, I plopped myself down into my light blue couch and closed my eyes…
I opened my eyes to the sound of rustling leaves. It’s another quiet evening in late autumn. The street lights were dim and they occasionally flickered. Strolling through the city park, I heard the soft wind smoothly blowing through the dusty air as if there was a pianist playing the tune of green somewhere in the woods. I carefully listened to the air again. The sound I heard seemed rather real. So I followed the tune to a street corner. I took a glimpse at the dark back street. There on the right side of this narrow laneway was a half open door covered in faded dark green paint with scribbles written all over it. I took a closer look at the largest ones painted in blue, it read “Freddie’s Jazz Bar”.
It’s fairly dark inside. All I could see was a band performing on the stage, a few soft burning candles on some of the tables and a small bar counter at the back. It seemed to me that apart from the five musicians playing on the stage, there was hardly anyone in the audience but empty chairs and tables. Nevertheless, the musicians continued to play this beautiful slow ballad meditatively. I took a seat at the table in the corner near the half open door and ordered a glass of tempranillo. As I was watching the flame of the candle light on my table dancing gracefully to the lulling melody, someone gently pulled out the chair next to me.
“Mind if join you?” the man asked.
I responded with a smile and a slight head nod.
While the bass and the drum hypnotically floating in the background, the trumpeter raised his instrument and broke the tranquility with a sentimental tune of freedom. He repeatedly improvised upon the strains of the tune as if he was telling the same story with variations upon variation.
“Isn’t he great?” said the man next to me, “Miles’s a genius and he’s gotta be the best trumpet player in town, I reckon.”
“The pianist plays the melodies very beautifully too,” I said.
“That’s Bill. Miles and his band play here every Wednesday night,” he pointed at an old man leaning on the bar counter, “but stingy Freddie never paid them a cent.”
With perfect harmony, the sensation of the song peaked as John the saxophonist poured his soul into his instrument during his solo.
“The song’s called Blue in Green,” he said, “just like me.”
“Just like you?”
I took a sip of my wine and pretended to understand.
“I can’t distinguish between blue and green. They just flow into one another. To me, the ocean is as green as forests, and forests are as blue as the sky.”
“So you can’t see blue in green, but you can listen to Blue in Green?” I asked with a cheeky grin.
“Haha, good one,” he continued, “even though I can’t see any differences between them, I can ‘feel’ them. I can feel blue and I can feel green.
“Now you’re just being silly.”
“No, I’m serious, synesthesia is a thing. The only perception I can truly trust is my feelings, not my sensations.”
“So how do you feel it?”
“Look at my eyes.”
We stared into each other’s eyes as the music continued to play in the background. At first look, his eyes seemed green, but then they seemed sort of blue. Am I also color-blind? I wondered. Or was it because of the dim lighting inside the bar? While Bill was playing the final lines softly, I felt the palpable sense of attraction. I could gradually see his crystal blue eyes. So blue. So beautiful. But tinged with sadness. They seemed as blue and as lonely as this melancholic masterpiece being played. I could not look away. My heart was beating fast. I felt blue. I was pulled into this deep hollow space trying to figure out whether it was the hue of blue, the sound of blue or the sentiment of blue I was feeling. Maybe all at once.
“How do you feel?” he whispered.
I gently placed my hand on his cheek, “Your eyes are so blue…”
“Are they? I can never tell,” he smiled as he finished the last sip of wine.
He gave me a tender kiss on the cheek, waved goodbye to Miles and his band and disappeared behind the half open door.
A sudden silence woke me up again, I opened my eyes and saw my blue latte still sitting on my always blue little table. So I took another sip of it. As the caffeine started kicking in, I began to wonder if that was a dream or a memory. I didn’t seem to remember anything else happened that night. On second thought, maybe it was an imaginary story triggered by that mesmerising piece of music. This sense of uncertainty made me feel kind of blue.
My eyes began to feel a bit itchy and dry. So I pressed the button on the remote control to pause the music before heading to the bathroom to take my blue-tinted contact lenses out of my eyes and put them back in the case. And then I plopped myself back down on my couch, took another sip of my no-longer blue latte and hit the play button on the remote control. As the next track started playing, I closed my eyes and fell deeply into the world of my imagination again…
“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning… Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” – Miles Davis
60 years ago today, on 17th August 1959, the legendary Miles Davis released his studio album ‘Kind of Blue’. It is said to be one of the greatest jazz records of all time.