Shes heard it said that everyones blood is the same color. An insistent moral position: we are all as one underneath. But its not trueor perhaps its that once spilled, the hue varies widely based on whether the day is humid, balmy, overcast. On whether the blood splatters on concrete, dirt, gravel or grass.
She makes lists in her mind. Pastel rose and watery. Vivid as a police warning light. Eggplant-purple.
The blood that comes from Marcuss head is the color of raspberries, and sticky.
"I have to file," Caddie pleads. "Its a story. Even if anybodys hurt. Especially then."
No, no, dear. The voice comes from a great distance as a lady with pewter hair and creamy uniform reaches for Caddies arm, mops it with a cottonball.
Caddie feels a sting. "Whats in that syringe?" She puts her head back against the pillow, overcome by a desire to close her eyes. Then she tries to sit up, realizing at last that this is a nurse, and a nurse should know something. Caddie has to interview her. "Can you tell me the precise nature of the wounds"
The nurses head wobbles. You cant get up yet. Please.
"How" Caddie breaks off for a second. "How exactly are you listing their conditions?"
Lie still, dear. Try to relax. The doctor will be here soon. The pewter-and-cream lady, still out of focus, removes the needle and swabs Caddies arm again.
"I dont want to relax. I want to file."
She feels her arm being patted. Its all over.
The nurses words echo. Overoveroverover.
From The Distance Between Us by Masha Hamilton. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Unbridled Books.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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