“Can I be yellow too?” by Mary Kaye Valdez

“Kaycee, that blue shirt is too small for you now,” my mother said after she parked the van in front of Aunt Linda’s house, “It’s overworn, too. Start wearing the clothes I gave you.”

“But I look strange in them.” I replied.

“No, you don’t! You just haven’t worn them enough. I don’t want to see you wearing that shirt again from now on, okay?”


My mother and I got out of the car and walked over to Aunt Linda’s front door. A yellow banner that said, “The 2nd Annual Johnson Family Reunion” hung above the entrance. I took a deep breath and rang the doorbell.

“Carmen, you made it! We were wondering where you were.” Aunt Linda greeted after she opened the door.

“Sorry. Kaycee came home from school late today, so we couldn’t come until now.” my mother replied as we stepped inside the house.

“We all thought you weren’t coming anymore. I’ve already given away your shirt to someone else.”

Everyone in the room was yellow. They were all wearing the yellow colored t-shirt they customized for the reunion. Except for my mother and I.

“Don’t worry about it. We don’t need the shirt. We’re glad to just attend.” my mother said.

“But we plan on taking one huge family photo. It would be nice if everyone had their shirts on.” Aunt Linda replied.

“Well, do you have any extra yellow shirts around for Kaycee to wear? I’m already wearing yellow so we only need Kaycee to put something yellow on, too. We’ll stand near the back so it won’t be too noticeable.”

“Alright, I’ll go and check. Go get food for now. I’ll try and find something.”

After Aunt Linda left, my mother and I went to the dinner table to pick up our plates and utensils. Home-cooked food filled the whole table.

“Is that all you’re getting?” my mother asked as she held a plate filled with food already, “These are all Johnson family favorites!”

“I’m not that hungry.” I told her as I held a plate half-filled.

Right when my mother and I were about to find a seat, a tall man approached her. He gave her a warm hug and then proceeded to give me one, too. He was taller than my mother, and she too towered most people. I couldn’t help but look up at them like buildings.

“Kaycee, meet your Uncle Jim. He’s tall, isn’t he? Believe it or not, he’s not even the tallest.” my mother mentioned.

“It’s just that us Johnsons include freakishly tall genes.” Uncle Jim chuckled as he patted my head.

“You can say that again. Kaycee was really shocked when she saw me the first time. She would just look up at me for a very long time in shock. Now I’m not so tall, huh?” she laughed as she caught me staring at Uncle Jim.

“Your Uncle Sam is the tallest out of all of us. Have you seen him, yet?” Uncle Jim asked me.

“No, I haven’t.” I shook my head.

“What about Aunt Nancy, Aunt Kim, Uncle Ted…” he listed more, but I couldn’t catch up.

“No, I haven’t.” I replied after that whole list was finally done.

I went on to pick on my food with my fork while they talked. I wasn’t all that hungry, but I wished we sat down alone to eat, already. After a long wait, they finally parted ways and we continued looking for a seat.

“Are you okay?” my mother asked as we sat down on a couch.

“You should have gone without me.” I responded.

“It’s a family reunion, Kaycee. They’re your family too.”

Within a few minutes, Aunt Linda suddenly came by and dropped a yellow t-shirt on my mother’s lap. She had then gone off to announce that it was time for the family photo.

Quickly, I put on the yellow shirt over my blue shirt. My mother and I then joined the rest and stood near the back. I was a little less worried now, as I no longer stood out from everybody else.

After we took the photo, my mood lightened up a bit more. Some of my uncles and aunts came to greet us, and some of my cousins came to introduce themselves. I was enjoying myself until Aunt Linda came over with her hand out.

“I’ll take the shirt back now.” Aunt Linda said.

“May I keep it on for a while, Auntie? Please?” I asked with a light-hearted smile.

“No. It’s not yours. Return it back to me. You only needed it for the photo.”

I didn’t know what else to say so I took it off and handed it to her. I didn’t say or do much after that. I just stood there blue all over again.


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