by Fidel Anderson
I tend to think of the world in colors.
While some people think in words, or numbers, or letters, I organize my life via color schemes. As a film major, every story has an associated palette that helps me visualize the scene: seedy noir narratives are neon colors with a smudge of black, an adventure tale through the swamplands are deep sunset tones, and an arthouse story is full of pastels.
When it comes to my childhood, though, I associate it with only one color: a deep, rich fuchsia. For my Film 2 class, I made a film entitled “raspberry valley,” in which a girl enters a dream world as she listens to an old-timey educational video about growing up. In this alternate universe, the girl becomes a kid again, playing with stickers, eating gummy bunnies, and plucking raspberries off the tips of her fingers. She’s immersed in her childhood even though she should be growing up. My roommate, who stars in the short, asked me a simple question after agreeing to be in my project:
I didn’t quite know what to say. Admittedly, it was the image of someone eating those dark red-pink raspberries off their fingers that sparked the idea for the film, but I couldn’t explain exactly why I imagined that particular fruit.
“Uh…” I started to answer, “because they’re one of the cheapest to buy from the store and they’re colorful?”
The answer was sufficient for her, but it nagged at me. Why did I choose raspberries over every other available fruit?
When I was younger I moved houses a lot, and I tend to correlate certain times of my life with the various streets I’ve lived on. When I think of raspberries, I think of Main Entrance Drive. On this quiet, residential street, we had a long driveway that led to a door that went into our basement. Next to this door was the smallest, weakest, most pathetic raspberry bush you could imagine. It would only ever grow two or three misshapen berries at a time, but I would pluck one off as soon as I got home from school. No matter what it looked like to anyone else, I loved that sad little raspberry bush.
The color of those few raspberries astounded me—the shades of fuchsia that would pop out amongst the sea of green foliage—and always grabbed my attention. Distinguishing itself from the muted tones of the concrete driveway, I could always point out my small little bush to any passerby. Bright, vibrant, and unique, these shades of pink defined my late elementary and early middle school years. When I think of exploration, imagination, and my childhood as a whole, I tend to think about walking home after a long day of school, plucking a dark pink raspberry with one hand while carelessly opening the basement door with my other. This private routine that I created for myself remained a sacred ritual for years; I’ve loved raspberries, and the color pink, ever since.
My family is close friends with the people who moved into the Main Entrance house after we moved away, so we visit them fairly frequently. Our friends are not very good at landscaping and our once neatly-kept front yard is now littered with overgrown shrubs and haphazardly planted flowers. It is, in the nicest way possible, a hot mess. In the corner of the clutter still stands our sad little raspberry bush. Although covered by the surrounding plants, I can see the berries trying their best to grow through the other plants. My raspberry bush is the only thing that hasn’t changed about the Main Entrance house since I left in seventh grade and I’m grateful for that. I may have not been able to pinpoint why I associated my childhood with the color pink at first, but that didn’t matter—it was about the memories I was trying to convey. And that’s all I’ve ever really needed to tell a story: a feeling, a color palette, and a couple of raspberries.
Fidel is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh double majoring in Film Production & Natural Sciences and minoring in Creative Writing. She was born in Wales and lived in Turkey for two years before moving to Pittsburgh, where she spent the rest of her childhood. She has an affinity for stories that take her around the world and introduce her to a variety of subjects.