When I was about 12, I read a short story that was called “Green Ink.”* It was the story about a teenage girl who was always blue because all of her girl friends were so much more outgoing and got the guys, while all the guys just sort of either ignored her or had her around to pal around with. Then she started receiving mysterious unsigned notes in green ink saying things like, “Hey kitten, give us guys a break! How about a smile once in awhile?” or “Those pretty eyes are hard to see when you’re looking at the ground!”
So when she goes to school, she looks at all of the guys and thinks, “Did Dave send those notes? Or Allen? Or Charlie?” And she smiles at all of them and thinks of good things to say, and begins to “open up” and is suddenly the happy and gay in the 1950s sense of the word.
“My goodness,” says Mother one afternoon as the girl goes out on yet another date. “She certainly has grown up, hasn’t she?”
“She certainly has,” says Father, hiding the bottle of green ink as he puts it away in the desk.
John got a letter in the mail yesterday. It said it was from Matt’s local, and that they had found a medal for him as well, and that while he came in second in the football throw, everyone agreed he came in first in sportsmanship. Enclosed was an engraved medal, to be worn proudly around the neck.
I was at work, so I didn’t get to see the reaction. But I hear it was something else.
When I came home from work last night, the medal was hanging on the doorknob of the room where John sleeps. Taped to the door was a piece of paper with an arrow drawn on it, pointing at the medal, in case I missed it.
This morning he read me the letter, his voice full of pride. He wore his medal as we walked the dog. He left it here while he went to day camp, to keep it safe.
Justice has been restored. And if someone thinks this stains our fingers with green ink, I’d say they might be right, at that, but I really don’t give a damn.
*It might not actually be called that; I can't find a reference for it online. It was in a book of short stories published in the 1950s.