Ausania didn’t know if it was a wonderful sign or a sign of disaster, but Ausania knew a purple moon when she saw one. And this moon was as cheerfully and blatantly purple as – well, as everything! The walls were purple, the bedspread around her a deep magenta, the bars on the window slicing up the cookie-shaped moon with delicate fuchsia cream… She looked intently into the smiling lilac crescents of her fingernails, and whispered softly, “Well, it’s official now. I’m insane.”
Then she stood up and smoothed her purple blanket wrinkle by wrinkle over the purple mattress, put on her purple slippers and began uncertainly to stumble around the purple-floored room on purple legs, touching the purple walls and the purple things within them with trembling purple fingers. She took the purple phone off the hook and pressed the purple redial button.
“Everything is purple,” She said. “Yes, er, hi to you too. No, I’m fine. Yes, I know what time it is … Am I crazy? Yes, I’m afraid so, Lyrderi. You see, the world’s gone purple.”
“The world’s gone WHAT?”
“It’s beautiful, actually. I never knew being crazy could be so beautiful! The moon is purple and the stars are purple, and my hands are purple and the toes at the ends of my feet … no, I’m not stoned, ‘deri, I’m bonkers … oh, it’s a purple, purple, world out here …”
“Is that your new poem or something, then? You can’t just – Even if you really did go mad the moon wouldn’t turn purple just for you!”
“A new poem? No… but perhaps it could be! Not – not a real poem, maybe, but a crazy jingle … ‘My word is purple’ … hang on, purple doesn’t rhyme … Got it!
How do you feel
When the world turns a wheel
And everything goes purple around you?
How do you feel
When you wake up to a reel
And the crazy in your world has found you?
How do you feel …”
Lyrderi laid down the receiver soundlessly beside the cradle, wrestled her sockless feet into the half-dry boots next to the door, and ran out of the house with her shawl and purse and horn-clip all caught up under her arm on the way out. Several times on her way across the road and around the corner she glanced up at the sky, at the pearl-cream moon in a decidedly black sky threaded through with pearl-cream stars hanging serenely white.
Each time she looked she jerked herself back, rated herself furiously for being a heartless idiot, but at the threshold of Ausania’s house she turned back vehemently for one last hungry look, expectant and hopeful and self-scorning, like a child lifting the magic pillow as she prays for the coin she needs to appear under it … The moon was still white and shining and most emphatically not purple.
“Turn purple for me too,” She whispered softly up to the moon with her finger on the doorbell, blushing in the mercifully black darkness for her words even as she spoke them. “Turn purple for me. Just once, please. Just once for a little while, turn purple for me too!