The first night we discovered Brittany's disease, she insisted we go to the beach. The moon was full that night and she was a brilliant yellow, effervescent and incandescent with a light that would never dim.
When she danced barefoot on the sand, the soft glow around her shone just a little stronger. She was her own light show and I would discover in the days to come that the glow would be brighter whenever she was happier. I swore then to do everything I could to make sure she would always be as happy as she could be.
The moon was orange that night.
It was a waning moon, already past its third quarter, which explained why it looked like it had a chunk of its bulbous body bitten by a rabid dog and hence infested with pockmarks. At least that was what my Abduela had told me when I was a child and had asked why the moon shrunk and had pimples.
When I had asked with amazement how the moon got bigger again, she told me to shut my trap and eat all the peas on my plate, or the one with pimples on a swollen face would be me, or some awful words along that line.
The question never came up again. I was vain even at the age of 5.
But back to the main point. I hated orange.
"I love orange," Brittany piped up as she stared at the moon adoringly.
I tried not to roll my eyes. Of course she does. I mean have you seen the girl lately? She was the ambassador of orange, the colour of ripe peaches, the hue of the rising sun and romantic shit like that. I mean it! Brittany was literally orange and I hated it.
Okay FINE. Who was I kidding? I could never hate orange, not when Brit's skin was painted that colour, not when I could never hate her and when every shade of that fucking colour reminded me of her.
There was still time. There wasn't much time.
My heart clenched uncomfortably at the thought of the seconds ticking by. Immediately, I hooked our pinkies together. I didn't want a moment passing by without us touching, without me showing my support for her illness. I would rather be the one cursed with this… thing. The orange would probably clash less with my hair. I mean black IS supposed to go with every colour right?
"It's not that bad you know, Sanny. I've always wanted to be a rainbow," Britt smiled at me as she twisted her hand to interlock our fingers together.
A rainbow has 7 colours B, not 7 shades, I wanted to say. Instead, I settled for another truth.
"You're already a rainbow B. You're a double rainbow. One for me and one for the rest of the world. You're fucking gorgeous."
Her smile was glorious, her squeal of delight infectious. She was so radiant it was heartbreaking.
There was no moon that night. The sky was a black canvas, splotched by storm clouds and streaked ever so often by lightning.
"Are you cold?" I was so scared it would rain. The waves were slamming brutally against the shore, taking with it precious sediments that would be lost in the sea forever.
She shook her head and gave me a tired smile, but I tightened the blanket around her anyway, careful not to let the material get drawn into the wheels of her wheelchair.
She couldn't dance anymore. Walking had always been immaterial. When you were Brittany, you danced through life. She said she had already danced enough this lifetime. Whatever comments I had I kept to myself.
"We're the same colour now San. I've always loved your skin colour," she said enthusiastically as she peered at our clasped hands.
I looked down and sure enough, our colours were so similar it was jarring.
I've always been so used to the clash of our skin colours. She was the bright one and I was the dark one, in every sense of the word.
But if I had to be thankful for one thing, it would be that she got this disease instead of another terminal illness like cancer. At least the change in colours kept us entertained.
"I'm like a charmeleon. What colour do you think I'll be tomorrow?"
A stab to my heart.
"A chameleon Brit. I think a charmeleon is some sort of Pokemon. That would be cool too though," I corrected and pecked her on the lips.
That made 2 of us. I was a chameleon too. I would be whatever she needed me to be.
"It doesn't hurt anymore," my thumb stopped rubbing circles on the back of her hand. I hadn't even realised I had been doing that.
A burden lifted off my shoulders. A boulder crash-dived into my heart.
"You'll be there when it happens won't you?" she sniffled and I kissed her tears away.
"You'll not leave me?"
The moon was a waxing crescent but she wasn't there anymore.