Someone honked at Michelle’s “Honk If You Love Pink” bumper sticker. It gave her a little lift. She needed it, after another ugly day at work, another fight with her boyfriend last night, and a broken car air conditioner right now. Soon she’d be home, though. She’d relax in her cool, fairy-tale living room.
She entered her condo to find surprise guests. Six people sat around her kitchen table: her mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, and a man she didn’t know. Someone had brought in her pink patio chairs from the balcony.
“There you are,” her mother said. “Come in, dear. Sit down.”
“What’s happened? What’s wrong?” There’s been an accident. Someone died. That man is a pastor, a detective.
“Hello, Michelle, nice to meet you.” The man shook her hand. ” Jim Patterson. I’m a therapist. We’re here to help with your problem.”
“Problem? What problem?”
The therapist spread out his (pink) meaty paws and looked sad.
“Mother, what is going on?”
“Well, dear. Your sister thought… We thought, you really need to get over this pink thing.”
“It’s psychotic!” Michelle’s sister, Rachelle, thought she knew everything because she was a year older and had a husband and two kids. She was quite fond of brown.
“It’s sickening,” said her brother, Dell.
Best friend Janet kept her gaze on the pink vinyl table cloth. “Don’t be mad. They made me let them in.”
Michelle’s father had gone under the table. He put folded up pink envelopes under one of the legs, to fix the wobble.
“I like pink. Come on, Rosie.” Michelle swooped up her pink cat, and went to her bedroom, where she locked herself in. She kicked off her pink pumps and flopped facedown across her beautiful bed. The spread was a mauve tulip print. Pink’s “I Don’t Believe You,” on her iPod drowned out the unpleasantness in the other room. They’d have to go home sometime.
In the kitchen, the therapist said, “What is her perspective? Does she know she has a problem or not?”
Mother said, “Oh yes, she knows. She makes little jokes, like she’s self-conscious about it.”
“No,” said Rachelle. “When she makes jokes, she’s joking. All she cares about is getting more pink stuff. Like a heroin junkie. She’s desperately ill and needs to be hospitalized. Right away.”
Father took his toolbox over to the dripping kitchen faucet and began fiddling with it.
“This appears to be a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The ‘obsession’ is the urge to acquire and use more pink items. The ‘compulsion’ is actually doing so. Some anti-depressant medications have been successful in treating this.”
Everyone ignored the therapist. Rachelle tossed the pink salt and pepper shakers into the kitchen trash, basketball style.
Dell laughed. Janet, who was sweet on Dell, laughed.
“Well. Maybe I should go talk to her,” Mother said. “I could try, anyway.”
“No,” the therapist said. “It’s very important that it be her choice.”
“Who cares what her choice is? She has to learn. Anyway, she’s an embarrassment.” Rachelle tossed the pink flamingo toothpick holder into the trash.
Another horn outside interrupted, someone else honking at Michelle’s bumper sticker.
“It’s embarrassing to be seen with her, with that crazy pink hair, pink clothes, pink car. She’s a mooncalf!”
“Well. Um, well, if we’re all here to get to the bottom of it, well, honestly, in Michelle’s defense,
I think it may be her parents’ and Rachelle’s fault that she craves the color,” Janet said, to the therapist.
Dell’s whoop of laughter seemed to encourage Janet to elaborate.
“See, her father never paid much attention to her, and he’s… gray. And, well, the pink does get attention, doesn’t it?”
Mother glared at Father.
“And her mother,” Janet directed her comments safely to the therapist. “She is terribly boring. Incessantly beige.”
Rachelle and Father laughed.
“She really is dull as a mud puddle,” Rachelle said.
The therapist nodded.
“Rachelle, she just browns everyone out completely. I’m sorry, but she does.” She ducked, as if expecting to encounter a flying object. But Rachelle was busy getting the pink trash bags out from under the sink.
Dell handed her some folded up envelopes from under the table leg.
“What do all of you think we should we do?” the therapist said.
“We should put a stop to this nonsense this very minute. It’s for her own good. Everyone needs to stop coddling her.” Rachelle ripped bags off the roll and handed them out. “Let’s go!”
The pink coffee cups went into a bag. As did the pink toaster and the pink plates.
Rachelle directed Janet and Mother to take the bags to the dumpster as they were filled. “It’s best this way, trust me,” she said. “Like pulling off a band-aid.”
She directed Father and the therapist to carry out the pink sofa. Dell followed with the matching chair.
“Hurry, before she comes out. And be quiet. Shhh!” They cleared out the tablecloth, the fuschia print drapes, the pink shower curtain and towels, the pink patio table set.
The fancy pink enamel, brass, and crystal light fixture remained. Rachelle studied it. “Dad?”
Father knocked around in his toolbox, then stood on it instead, twisting off pieces of chandelier.
Rachelle said, “I guess we’ll have to leave the bedroom alone for now. That’s okay, we made some great progress here. Excellent job, everyone.”
Michelle woke up when her cat cried to be let out. She cracked the bedroom door. They were gone.
Everything was gone. All that remained were a few scattered dustballs from under the furniture.
My chandelier! Mangled pink stumps stuck out of the ceiling.
In a daze, Michelle went out on her balcony, and sat on the decking. She lit a pink cigarette. Someone honked. She waved without thinking.
When the pink sky faded to black, she picked up the cat. “Come on Rosie,” she said. “Let’s go in.”
©2011 This work is the property of the author.