My mom got me an orange coat that fall.
I was 12 or 13 and the city still had the old kind of stores with the wooden floor smelling of petroleum. We didn’t go often at a clothing store, because buying a thick coat was a great investment for a family of workers in that part of the world. Mom always used to get me one that was one or two sizes bigger, to ensure it would be good for the next couple of years. As a child, I didn’t care. Wearing the coat with folded sleeves was all right. Nobody made a fuss of it. But now I was already tall and mama was confident enough to buy me one my size. “She would not keep growing like she used to,” mom told dad.
When I entered the store, I could see all the coats on hangers and suspended up high on a string in the back of the counter. The orange one caught my eye. “I want that one.” Mom took a deep breath. “Are you sure they would let you wear it to school? It looks too modern. ”
“They” were the communist leaders in my school.
The same question weighed on my soul for a moment, but I dismissed it. “I’m sure they will,” I assured mom. “Actually, they might not even see it, since I don’t wear it in the classroom, but on the street.”
The clerk managed to get the coat and handed it to me. “It’s a daring color,” he admitted.
I tried it and a warm feeling comforted my heart.
Mama paid for it and let me wear it on our way home. “Here she comes the princess,” I though while catching a glorious glimpse of myself in every single shop-window we were passing by.
I was happy. Life was more than the color grey.
(And no, “they” didn’t catch me, and I wore it for the next three years.)