Intimate Moments / The Color Rouge.

eTdJvwXtWgZIE7lvcQfcqrHK5JHfwgMQdxpyMN6WyEo

Seagram Mural Section 6

Mark Rothko, 1959.

(I don’t really “get” Rothko enough to appreciate his works of art…)


I have a mundane secret. Actually, cross that, I have multiple secrets.

I never kept any of these facts away intentionally. They are just so plain, minuscule, and easy to overlook. That’s why they are untold. Maybe this is where the saying “miss the forest for the tree” originated from.

I like both the forest and the individual tree. Sometimes it’s crucial to see the entire forest first in order to appreciate each unique tree and vice versa.

My favorite colors (at least, for a couple of years and now) are red and black. They’re such powerful and lively colors for me, and I can’t help but to be intensely attracted to them.

…don’t worry, that’s not my secret. Favorite colors as a secret would be (more than) kind of lame. It’s not as if what I’m going to say is some dramatic reveal, anyway, it’s pretty anti-climatic, so to say.

I tend to notice the overlooked and ignored parts a lot more than others, maybe because I find some sort of weird comfort and association with these details as I consider myself a frequent wallflower. I only open up (and maybe a bit too much – I need to fix that, perhaps) when I feel some sort of belonging, connection, and tranquility.

In my New York (those oh so cool fashionista) days, I loved experimenting with designs and colors. It was the perfect place to find myself and create a style. There were successes and many, many failures. The point here is: I didn’t care.

I cared for the forest and the trees, even though sometimes they were nowhere close to harmonious.

One of my favorite pastimes was to apply nail polish while Netflix plays. I searched and tested out different hues and brands. This was something that no one except for me cared about.

Eventually, I found my favorite brand, and a couple of years later (fast forward to present day) – my favorite color. The color code is #999, and its name is perfectly and conveniently, Rouge, which translates to red from French to English. Somehow there is more appeal to it when it’s in French – perhaps it’s the way the rou sound rolls and lingers a bit longer from the tip of my tongue than the word “red”. It deserves the extra 0.1 second. Or maybe it just sounds a lot more romantic.

I don’t apply on nail polish on my fingernails nowadays. I used change the color every couple of days. It’s not that I don’t like bringing an extra color along with me, nor is it the effort that bothers me. It’s simply because sometimes I clumsily cut and injure my hands a bit more than I should. They don’t look as pretty as I’d like them to now. My nails (fingers and toes) stay starkly naked ever since I moved back.


Last October, I went back to New York after a couple of years. So much has changed and also remained the same. I then had a chance to introduce myself back to the colors.

It was after then that something has changed.

I try to run as often as I can, and there are a lot of physical tolls when it comes to running. I’ve experienced knee pains, sore thighs and calves, endless excruciating foot cramps (perks of having flat feet), and nails loosening and falling out. It’s strange how an activity so significant to me can cause so much mental and physical pain. It’s stranger how I still manage to stay.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered feet as beautiful. However, I do have an affinity for shoes. Maybe it’s the fact that they cover something less than appealing for me that makes me so drawn to them, who knows? All I know is that I definitely appreciate…and own more than a few gorgeous pairs of shoes.

I never cared too much about my toenails (well, until they fall out – which was a result of unfitting shoes, never again), but the beautician back then brought my attention towards them for a split second.

She asked me whether or not I wanted to apply nail polish. Instinctively, I said yes, and eventually picked out a color.

Red, rouge. It wasn’t quite the same shade, but it was red, one of my favorite colors.

Ever since last October, my toenails are painted with colors.

There’s the unexciting secret.

I like it that way. I’m not sure why, but applying polish on my nails, toenails, feels so intimate. I don’t normally take my shoes and / or socks off often until I’m back home, the place I consider my shelter from the occasionally harsh world. Even so, and irrelevantly, I wear slippers.

What is typically an accessory of beauty is hidden in my case. It’s not as if the color stays permanently unexposed to others, it’s the rarity of it that perhaps makes it just a bit more beautiful.

This is an instance of an intimate moment that I keep count and record. It’s a snippet of memory that matters to me. I miss the settings where I expose even the most uneventful, the most overlooked part of me to someone else. A person I feel close and drawn to. Someone who manages to act as my anchor of safety and intimacy. It’s quite nice to slowly uncover the typically unseen parts of me to someone else. It’s quite nice to be discovered by someone who wants to learn more about you, and for you to want to learn about that person, too. The big and the small. Everything.

I’m sharing a part of me and my perspective, and it feels appropriate and good to do so today. I have no idea why.

If you typically only focus on the big picture, or the forest, perhaps you can freeze, stop, and zoom in for a minute and pay some attention to the tree today.

You might stumble upon someone else’s mundane secret.

Leave a Reply