The glass of juice was set before Thuy Tien.
Thu sau, Friday, she thought, while sipping the cool liquid. The blue day. How Derek had laughed upon first hearing that! some weeks ago. She, apparently, was the first person he had met who had the spontaneous experience of colors in association with certain words. Sunday was red; Monday, white; Tuesday, beige; Wednesday, yellow; Thursday, green; Friday, blue; Saturday, pink.
"You don't need a calendar?" he had asked. "You just wake up in the morning and know the day of the week by the color of the fog you see hanging in the air?"
She had laughed and laughed, roiling in the spume as if deep-sea fishing. "No. Of course not. It's the word that is associated with the color, not the day itself."
"What color is Monday in French or English or Japanese?"
"It's always white."
"Then it's not the word itself; it's the meaning denoted -- or possibly even connoted," he had concluded. "Or you translate from Vietnamese."
"No, I don't translate anymore, at least not for French or English."
"Hmmmm," he had said reflectively. "Very interesting."
"Well, it hasn't helped me become a great poetess, that's for sure."
Again she had laughed, hand blanketing mouth like crust covers pandowdy.
He had rubbed the stubble of his whiskers. Somehow that seemed to help him think. "This thing of each day having its own unique color reminds me of Kandinsky's attempts to create -- or probably it's more accurate to say 'discover' -- a universal language of form and color. He said things like, A triangle is always such-and-such a color, a rectangle always another specific color, et cetera."
"Really? I never thought of that."
Synaesthesia. She had had it from the time she was a little girl. It probably came from her mother who occasionally wrote poems containing synaesthetic imagery. Actually, synaesthetic reference was well established in Vietnamese poetry -- New Poetry, anyway. Xuan Dieu. Yes, by all means, Xuan Dieu. Involuntarily, she sighed. His wonderful ecologues!