My mom once told me about a woman who only wore purple. Her house was purple, her car was purple, her hair was dyed purple. She had beautiful bushes in her yard that bloomed large purple flowers. She could be seen walking around my mother's hometown wearing purple hats and scarves and always in a rush. Besides all the purple, she had an odd way about her. She walked with her knees to pointed to each other, and was never seen going into any stores or coming out of any restaurants. In fact, she was only ever seen walking down the street or in her yard watering her purple flowers.
She didn’t seem to have any friends either. When my mother would tell me this story I would imagine green and blue ladies coming over to the purple lady’s house for lunch, like little crayon people. However, as the story goes, the purple lady was never seen with anyone.
The walk to school from my mother's house went right past the purple lady's house. All the neighborhood kids would race to school or fall behind the group to gossip, but for some reason an uneasiness made everyone walk past the purple house together, and it took a while for jokes and chatter to start back up.
Walking past the purple house gave even adults an uncomfortable feeling. A feeling like something bad was happening or going to happen and it was better if you didn’t linger. Many townspeople thought she was a witch; others thought she was a run away from an asylum. No one really knew any real information about her.
As my mom got older, the neighborhood kids got more daring. They would place bets to see who could stand in her yard the longest without getting freaked out. They would dare each other to knock on the door. That’s when the purple lady started watching out her window all the time. She would stare at the kids passing by, she would stare when they ran up to her door and then laughed and ran away. She never called the police or asked the kids to stop, so thing kept getting crazier.
One day, on the way to school, a boy was pointing out a shattered window in the purple lady's house. He boasted that he threw the rock through the window, and all the neighborhood boys made it a game to see who could knock out windows on the purple lady's house.
A few weeks later on the walk to school, my mother said all of the purple flower bushes had been ripped out of the ground. All the kids giggled as they walked past. Rumors about the purple lady attacking kids, or screaming in her house alone at night were all anyone could talk about. Teachers brought up the purple house in class, parents talked about it at dinner, everyone in the town was in a weird haze consumed by the purple lady.
My mother was pulled from bed one night by her sister and they saw the purple lady walking past their house late at night. The purple lady had stopped going out once the pranks got more aggressive, and had never walked the neighborhood. She seemed to be moaning because her mouth was open, but the street was silent.
The next morning the purple house had been painted red, obviously by a bunch of kids. They had painted over the windows and the grass. They painted the greens and the purple car in the drive way; it was all reddish brown with gaps of purple peaking through. No one laughed on the way to school that day, no one really chattered about anything, and the day felt heavy and hallow.
The red paint seemed cruel. No one bragged about it, no one asked who did it, it didn’t matter. It felt wrong walking past the mutilated purple house. The whole week was dark for the kids passing the house.
After the weekend, my mom set out for school. She walked with the rest of the kids and they all seemed to be in higher spirit. They laughed and ran ahead, they whispered secrets and held hands. As they approached the purple lady's house my mom froze in her tracks; everyone else walked ahead, unfazed by the purple house. My mom stared up at the all too familiar house; it had the same tree and the same flowers out front as it once did. The same car in the drive way, yet this time the house was white, with black shutters and a red door. The followers blooming were yellow, and the car was a typical silver. My mother scanned up and down the street thinking she had passed the purple house or wasn't there yet but there was no doubt this was it.
No one ever mentioned the new purple house, and no one ever saw the purple lady again. It was as if she disappeared. My mom even questions her memories now; she says it feels like she made it all up because the memories seem blurry. But how could someone not remember if something happened? For years she walked past that purple house and knows it was real, but why was no one talking about it? And what happened?