In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘bughaw’ or ‘the colour blue’. It’s part of a series charting the impact of the discovery of intelligent life in space on five ordinary people over the course of a month. Enjoy!
Image taken from Buzzfeed: “36 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The Philippine Language”. All credits goes to them.
Cornflower, cerulean, electric; Jo had flipped through the photographs over and over until his arse was numb and elbows were sore from sitting hunched at the kitchen table. But each time he looked he found a new shade of blue in the spiralling arm of the Milky Way where intelligent extra-terrestrial life might exist.
Five days since the announcement, five days he spent listening to podcasts and news reports, trawling the internet for snippets of extra information. Work dragged, the clock barely ticking as he handed out worksheets, set tests and ran labs. At least during Science Club he managed to have a reasonable conversation about what it all meant, the kids there wanted to know the whys and wherefores and Jo didn’t have any answers but wasn’t that the beauty of science? To keep asking, to keep searching?
“Still at it I see,” his father said. He shuffled stiffly into the kitchen, right leg dragging a little, and propped himself against the counter. “Do you expect the pictures to change?”
Jo rolled his eyes and shuffled the photographs into a haphazard pile.
“This is life changing, Dad, you know that,” he replied and stretched a little until the knots in his back popped and cracked. His Dad grimaced at the sound and Jo hid a smile. “Anyway, put the kettle on and I’ll get dinner ready, there’s a documentary on tonight on Channel Four about how they’ll be doing the analysis. We can have a TV dinner.”
His Dad sniffed but turned to the kettle anyway, his grip never leaving the counter. Jo didn’t bother looking for the walking stick, it would turn up later tucked behind a sofa or under some cushions and Jo would prop it against his Dad’s bed in the morning. The weekly shop hadn’t been delivered yet but there were fish fingers and chips in the freezer, hidden behind a bag of frozen carrots.
“Like your mother’s eyes.”
Jo turned, his father was stood over the table, photos spread under his palm.
“What was that, Dad?” he asked.
“The blue, just like your mother’s eyes.”