The Colours Of John-Paul

John-Paul was a 4 or 5 year old Australian-Colombian kid who spoke every single thought that happened to pop into his head. ‘Was’, because that was several years ago. He is obviously older now. Sometimes, the thoughts that popped into his head were were exactly the same as the ones that popped into his head 5 minutes before.(I used two “were”s to prove a point and horrible punctuation to point out that point. Oh well…) You know how kids are. When my younger brother was little, he would ask or talk about the same thing over and over and over again. Why do kids do that? Do they forget they just said that? Do they forget you literally just had that conversation 5 minutes ago? A very literal 5 minutes that has 300 seconds.(I almost reached for a calculator to do that math, but the fact that I so recently earned a degree in Mathematics guilt-tripped me into doing the sum mentally. Turns out I can still handle some simple mental arithmetic. Trust me, after some of the things you encounter studying Mathematics in uni, simple arithmetic becomes those distant childhood memories that you only vaguely remember. The ones that you completely forget about until your mum or aunts or older siblings tell you stories of when you were younger and you have a sudden ‘Oh yeah…that happened!’ moment. You remember that you had forgotten that! But, I digress…) Back to John-Paul…

I bet he is still one of the sweetest individuals on this planet. Kids always are.

Now, John-Paul had a thing for colours! The moment I met him, one of the very first things he asked me, besides my name, was what my favourite colour is. Which was easy…RED!! Then he asked me, as kids ALWAYS do, ‘Why?’. *crickets* Erm, well, because the shades and tones of the colour excite my visual receptors. Ha ha! I did not know what to say. So I simply replied with, “…because I like it very much.”

His next question, “What’s your second favourite colour?”, followed by the ever so haunting “Why?”. “What’s your third favourite colour?” “Why?”. Maybe he just wanted to tell me all about his favourite colours and why they were. I don’t remember his favourite colour. Green maybe? Curse my poor memory. Maybe I should have been the one asking him those questions incessantly. Which by the way, is exactly what he did in typical child-like fashion.

27 minutes after asking the first time:

“Kathleen, what’s your favourite colour?”

“My favourite colour is red.”


“What’s your second favourite colour?”


“What’s your third favourite colour?”


Over time, I started to think about and develop my answers, if only to maintain my sanity so that for the 3 times in 24 hours that he asks about my favourite colours, I can at least have a variety of responses, to avoid feeling like I’m living the same moment over and over again, just in different settings.

My favourite colour is red. Bright blood red! The fiery red that burns at the centre of a flame. (If you remember your high school chemistry though, the centre of a flame is dark…grey/black-ish. That’s where least combustion happens. It still feels right to say ‘the fiery red that burns at the centre of a flame.’ If I hadn’t sold myself out, I wonder how many would have noticed. Visually of course, flames look orange. That doesn’t stop them from saying things like…’fiery red hair’ though! So, I shall not be stopped either.)

When I was 9 years old, class 4, I joined Kianda School. I spent the next 9 years in that school. Sooo many memories! Most of them featured the colour red because our sports teams(Red, Yellow, Green and Blue, in order of awesomeness of course…muhahaaaa!) were the basis of very many other things we did. Besides the sports, in the dining room, we sat in order of our houses, when there were trivia/Kiswahili/math competitions, our houses were the basis of team formation. Even the merit-demerit system for good and bad deeds respectively was aggregated in terms of houses.(They never laid a finger on us, besides the occasional ear pinch…my ear still tingles when I think of this one time a teacher almost pulled my ear out because I was giggling in her class. A Kiswahili class…hmph! Perhaps my problems with the language are self-inflicted.)

I was in Red house for all those 9 years, but here’s the thing, I really wasn’t meant to be in red house to start with. My first few days while new at the school, I was told that I’d get placed in a team, based on the overall numbers the different teams had. At our first P.E. lesson though, the teacher bundled me up with Red House and told me that could be my team. So I told my mum I was in Red House, we bought a red kit and everything.(Just the red kit, there wasn’t anything else.) Later, when the person in-charge of officially designating students to teams let me know that I was to be in Green House, I kinda just feigned ignorance because I did not want to explain to my mother why we needed to buy a green kit. A year later, when houses were being shuffled again(this happened every four years, class one, class 5, form 1), I ended up in Red House again. Four years after that, when I went back to Kianda for high school, I got put in Red House again. Then in my final year, I was House Captain. Clearly it was meant to be! Red was literally and figuratively…my blood!

My second favourite colour is pink. There’s no long sentimental story spanning 9 years plus behind this one. Maybe it’s because pink is kinda a diluted red. Maybe it’s because I felt like my mother, having only one daughter, splurged on all manner of pink things for me(she still does, you should see my pyjamas! Yes, I wear pyjamas to sleep. Matching pyjama sets! Mostly pink.) Pink also makes me think of cotton candy, such wonderful, sugar-filled associations. Is it any wonder it ranks so highly on my list?

After the top two, I have found myself unable to rank the colours that come after. The next four, in no particular order are: green, purple, yellow and orange.

Green House happened to be the name of the building where I first stayed when I moved off campus at uni. In true ‘my mother’ fashion, because of that little fact, my little green bed-sitter, the walls were green too, was furnished with all green paraphernalia. When we went shopping for stuff, my mum decided to stick with the green theme and I went with it. Green dustbin, broom, dust-pan, curtains, toilet brush, welcome mat…all green everything! “Save the planet, Go Green!”

Yellow is the colour of bananas. Does yellow strike you as the colour of laughter? In an alternate dimension where laughter is perceived visually as opposed to an auditory experience, I bet it is yellow. Back to bananas though, I love bananas. They’re my favourite fruit. Something which, funny enough, can also be attributed back to John-Paul. The kid was completely taken by bananas! Banana pancakes, bananas, banana cake, bananas, other banana-flavoured-food, bananas. It rubbed off on me.

I was going to talk about orange and purple as well, but I stopped writing before I could and when I came back a day later, I did not feel like writing about them anymore. Thus, here lies the unceremonious end of this colourful narrative. I was also going to talk about blue and how it is my least favourite colour. High school rivalries…

Oh, one more thing I’ve just remembered, because of this mild obsession with colours, whenever someone tells me to ask them anything and they promise to be completely honest, what do people normally expect you to ask though…hmmmm?, I always ask what their favourite colours are, and then get immensely excited if they happen to say red or pink, colours are like my horoscope compatibility indicator!

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  1. 2
    Barbara N

    I didn’t even notice the two WEREs until you mentioned it 🙂

    Over the years my favourite colour has changed… when I was a kid it was white because it reminded me of angels, then it went to yellow because it reminded me of the sun… now I think it is purple… but I dont own anything purple save for a really old sweater… Sigh… Then recently I discovered I look great in maroon… like that nice rich maroon, almost burgundy… Oh and plum, I love plum… such an nice yummy colour! 🙂

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