Ubiquitous

ubiquitous  (adj.) : existing or being everywhere at the same time.

Example: Little flags with red and white stripes and blue squares dotted with stars are quite ubiquitous in America on the 4th of July.

Ubiquitous is a word that I’ve heard before and understood in context but it’s one of those that, if asked for an exact definition, I would find myself at a loss for words to describe. If I’ve used it before, either in speech or in writing, it’s because I’d only recently looked it up again. This time, I aim to remember it.

***

He awoke to the smell of tulips and a warm breeze caressing his skin. The window was open. Someone had been in his room. Slowly, he opened one eye. The room was bright with morning sunlight, but no one appeared to be in it now except for him. He stretched his sleep-stiff muscles, took in a deep breath of the morning air, and rubbed his eyes. Then he noticed it.

Sitting on the nightstand, the only other piece of furniture in the room aside from his bed, was a vase of bright yellow tulips. It had been Lottie who had opened the window, then. The sweet-smelling blooms that now dotted the house ubiquitously were Lottie’s doing. She insisted that they were good luck for weddings and had been adorning the house with them all week. A single petal was hardly creased or crumpled before the entire vase was replaced with another fresh, strong bouquet. All yellow; for that was the color that would bring happiness for the couple. For a color that was meant to bring happiness, it sure seemed to be bringing him more nausea than joy. Only a few more days until the ceremony, though. Surely he could hold out.

When he entered the breakfast salon he immediately lost his appetite. The long narrow table that held a buffet of fresh fruit, cheese, and pastries was covered in a floor-length yellow cloth. Lottie’s enthusiasm for weddings could apparently only be matched by her belief in superstition. He  only stayed long enough to cross the room, then exited through the door opposite whence he came.

Once in the hallway, he turned to head for the kitchen. A fresh cup of coffee from Eloise would suffice for breakfast this morning. Perhaps Trenmor would still be lingering, as well. He’d been meaning to ask him about the ubiquitous wanted signs hung around town. Maybe taking on a quick job before the big day would help put his mind at ease. The ladies of the house were taking care of everything and only seemed upset by any tasking he took upon himself. There was nothing he could do right for them and he was beginning to feel useless, bored, and anxious. A job would give him something to do and he would no doubt have it completed by the day of the ceremony.

He stood in the entryway of the kitchen for a few moments to inspect the surroundings. No flowers (Eloise wouldn’t allow them – they only took up precious counter space) and no yellow; a safe haven. Unfortunately, no Trenmor or Eloise either, but no matter. He sat at the old oak table and waited. Eloise did not like people poking around the kitchen, especially if they intended to feed themselves. He had learned this lesson the hard way and he found it almost endearing. Except for today.

Eloise soon returned to her post, but when she did so she was wheeling in a cart of lemony colored plates and dishes. Fortunately, they were stacked so high that she couldn’t seem him escape into the garden. In fact, she never knew he’d been there at all. The garden wasn’t safe, though. The kitchen hands were all out tending the herbs and vegetables, canary sashes tied around their straw bonnets; bundles of those ubiquitous yellow tulips were arriving via Trenmor and his cart; even the cat was adorned with a shimmering collar in that infuriating, nauseating color. As he turned on his heel to flee, he came face-to-face with none other than his betrothed. His bride to be… covered in that ubiquitous color. A yellow satin dress, complete with shoes and parasol, and a matching ribbon tied into her braid. He mumbled something, then ran.

He didn’t stop to rest until he’d made it to the small creek that ran across the far side of the garden. He let out a heavy sigh and leaned against the trunk of the great old oak that stretched lazily over the bubbling water, taking comfort in its shade. Violets dotted the grass across the creek – thank the gods – not tulips.

Don’t tell me you’re exhausted all ready. The day’s hardly begun, a soft voice chastised.

He had sensed her presence only moments before her words. He looked down to see the woman he had thought gone forever. She’d left the house weeks ago after a heated disagreement they’d had. How long had they been friends? Then suddenly she was gone, like someone had blown out the only candle in a dark room. He didn’t even remember what the fight was about. They had never fought, so whatever it had been about must have been important. He couldn’t bear to listen to whatever it was she had been saying, though. He’d been too stubborn. When he’d realized she was gone, he assumed that was it. His closest friend, gone, and for a reason he couldn’t even remember. Yet, here she was.

She was laying on a quilted blanket that had at one point in its life been white, ankles crossed with her head resting on the arms folded behind it. It was as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Her eyes were closed and a slight smile rested on her lips, the one that said I told you so. It was so familiar.

She wore a long blue dress, the color of a twilight sky, that cinched behind the neck.

Sorry I left, she sounded sincere. Her lashes fluttered, their eyes met. But you see it now, don’t you? All the yellow.

He remembered their fight. He remembered her accusations that something was not right. He didn’t want to listen – he was in love. And yes it was love, not the effect of coloration. It wasn’t even that much yellow…

Now he could see, though. And blue had never been so beautiful.

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