by Alyssa Dandrea
When Bigfoot saw Ruby Dark, she was working out to a cardio tape from the 90s. Her hair came together in a ponytail, skewed slightly to the right on top of her head, and she was wearing a tank top that cut-off abruptly above her outie belly-button. Her sweatpants were rolled up above her calves revealing thick socks scrunched down on top of scuffed shoes; the socks made her ankles look fat.
Normally, Bigfoot didn’t care for people. He watched them, sure, in an off-hand sort of way when they happened to be nearby—in the woods hunting elk during the colder months, or hiking on a sweet-smelling day in June, but he never once sought them out. It’s not that he was afraid to get too close, or even too lonely to desire the company. He simply wasn’t the curious sort. Bigfoot was indifferent at best, and passive at worst. Things happened to him. Once, a bird thought his head would make a nice nest. Another time, a mother doe gave birth to a young fawn inside what had been his home for more than a week. These things neither bothered him, nor did they excite him. He let the bird go about her business until he felt like walking about; she abandoned him when she realized he wasn’t stationary. He left the doe and her spotted fawn to squirm and sleep off the newness of life while he picked a nice spot to lay on his back in the dark and watch the skies. Bigfoot existed; that was all he knew and it was good enough for him.
It was Ruby’s green tank top that made him pause that day. The fact that it was green is unimportant; Bigfoot was forever surrounded by green. The important part is that he never knew he was surrounded by green. In fact, he never even knew he was surrounded by any colors because, of course, he was colorblind. The dirt was grey, the trees were grey, the little pinpoint flowers growing by the streams were grey too. Even Bigfoot himself was a mass of matted and tangled dingy grey hair moving through an unbelievably grey world. Ruby’s shirt could have been any color under the sun and he wouldn’t have known a name to put to it, but the fact is that tank top was green, and he saw it dancing wildly out of the corner of his big watery eye, beckoning brightly.
He was heading west that day through Montana when he came too close to Ruby’s backwoods house by mistake. It appeared out of nowhere, looming largely on a hill in what Bigfoot thought was deserted country. Suddenly, he was behind the cabin-style split-level, at least two hundred yards away, when he saw through the basement’s sliding glass door, a brilliant piece of the world that was not grey.
It scared him at first, which was twice as startling because never once in his long life had Bigfoot been caught off guard by anyone or anything. When you’re eight feet tall and straight out of a furry nightmare you aren’t exactly the jumpy type. But the flash of green was so loud and clear that seeing it felt like someone had snuck up real close to his hair filled ear and screamed. For a long time he just watched, paralyzed. He had seen females before, good-looking ones too. He appreciated the long lines of their bodies, the swelling of their calf muscles, and their lean, smooth arms in a removed and unaffected manner. Ruby was nothing to get excited about. She was scrawny with thin lips and an oversized forehead. She was also extremely uncoordinated. But Bigfoot felt himself moving closer. He only saw a strange and perfect light stumbling over her own two feet, swaying this way and now that, rapidly kicking up her knees, hesitating before each jab immaculate and shining and stopping the tape and coming outside out the backdoor wiping her face and drinking from a glass of water with one hand on her hip just below the edge of the fabric that stood out in vibrant color, it was a color, a lovely breath, a sigh of relief in the grey gloom like the one he exhaled just loudly enough that she looked up in surprise and saw him there large and staring and so close that it made her drop the glass which shattered at the same time a gunshot was fired and a bullet from behind carved a home in Bigfoot’s chest.
As he lay with his face in the dirt he noticed how appealing the smell of decaying leaves was—both sweet and repulsive, it lingered in his nostrils and made it harder for him to breathe, but he didn’t mind. It was then that he noticed the dark pool seeping into his line of sight. It was part of the smell; it was surrounding him. Was it coming out of him? What happened to that light? It must have been bad after all. He heard the slow drag of curious feet through heavy brush and the quiet scratching sounds of the pool spreading over the leaves and he wondered what color it would be if only he could see it.