Teen Tales: Baby Blue

By Mia Huang 2023-02-23 16:51:54

Half an hour before the baby blue sky with its swirls of dusty rose darkens its shades, I find myself sitting on Bus 71. The seat faces backwards, and the window is wide open. I lean towards my bag, peaking my head slightly out the window.

The warm air of a summer evening coats my cheeks as the rest of my body sinks into the air conditioned bus. As the bus moves forward, strands of hair tinkle my face, but I don’t bother to fix it, knowing the wind will once again mess it up. The backward movement due to the direction of my seat seems to be pulling out strings of nostalgia. Or maybe I’m still the over-thinker I always was. For unknown reasons, images of my great-grandmother flickered in my mind. The baby blue color is now substituted by a dark greenish gray.

I recall it to be on a Saturday morning five years ago. I was in literature class, biting on the lid of my highlighter, reading through lines of Shakespeare I didn’t really comprehend. Not an hour later, I caught my sister as she ran to me during break, informing me about our great-grandmother’s death. I no longer remember the exact words she said. It was a quick sentence. Yet another sentence I never really got a chance to properly comprehended. Thinking back on that now, I wish I could cohesively analyze that sentence and the waves of emotions it carried. I wish I could annotate every word the way my literature teacher, Mr.Morrison, dissected the last words of Hamlet.

That was the first time I was introduced to the concept of grief. Till this day when I read other people’s memoirs on grief, all I can think of is the crumpled faded letters in my drawer that she left behind.

Delayed grief is weird, and I struggle to find a way to cope with it, just like how I struggle to describe it. But what I do know is that the emotions come in waves, and sometimes at the most random moments. For a longtime, I thought people simply cried for a few days and eventually got over sad things. It felt like everyone around me moved on from her death, and some-how I failed to catch that train. Five years later there I was, crying uncontrollably on a public bus.

The bus stops, the greenish gray sky darkens. I stop thinking, feeling slightly uneasy yet tremendously relieved. It wasn’t until I passed by my neighborhood bakery’s window on my way home, that I notice the smudged eyeliner and mascara across my cheeks. Bursting into laughter, I walk into the bakery.

I greet the cashier, and point at the focaccia. I never manage to pronounce that word. But through the countless afternoons I spent at my great-grandmother’s house, I started to appreciate the faint taste of herbs and the crusty yet slightly chewy texture.


Mia is an aspiring writer with an obsession of talking about books. She is a junior at Shanghai High School International Division.