I have come to realize that fashion forever follows nature. Polka dot dresses reminiscent of ladybirds, the black-and-white zebra stripes on high heels, the comfy jumpers with kangaroo pouches…. All the animals imported from Earth have been faithfully copied until there is nothing left to copy. And now this… Blue skin, highlighter-bright.

As a young lady of certain repute — sufficient to garner attention, yet not quite enough to make up the rules — I must conform to fashion’s dictates. So here I sit spreading blue tincture down my arm in preparation for tonight’s festivities. It’s our gold anniversary: 50 Earth years since we colonized Venus.

I say we but of course I played no part in the original settlement — why I was only decanted seventeen years ago! Some of the first colonists still have to wear firmasuits to hold their bodies in place; their bodies are too old to adjust to the gee here, but I never have had to, hence the blue skin.

I’ve heard on Earth girls brown their skin in the sun, and during the cold months tint their skin orange to recapture the warmth. Orange like the sky of Venus, like the endless canyon and deserts… It was Rosca who decided if the Earthmen wear a tribute to us, we should wear a tribute to them.

Blue is a rare colour here on Venus. But on Earth — or at least on the holograms of Earth I’ve seen — you can drown in blueness. Blue sky, blue flowers, why even rivers and lakes and oceans of blue that you can bathe in without protection! (That last I’m not sure about; surely whatever turns the water blue is noxious?)

The thought of so much blueness fills me with a strange longing. Or maybe it is the thought of so much water — the only water in my room, other than that in my body, is the quarter-full tear jar in my pocket. We’re a nation that carries our grief with us, always. It’s our best form of currency. When I fill up this tear jar I’m going to trade it in for something exciting… I don’t know what yet. Perhaps flight lessons, although mother says I should save up for a family permit. As if I am interested in starting a family now!

After what happened with Cajk, I don’t think I shall ever speak to boys again. He… he… I expect he will be there tonight with her. I saw her in the compound last week, carrying an Adsa shopping bag of all things. I imagine she buys discount tinctures there and will attend the party tonight with skin more green than blue. But I shouldn’t judge; mother says it’s unbecoming.

Although I simply cannot stop thinking about it. I don’t understand how she appeals to Cajk! I thought… I was under the impression what we shared was special. I was ready to — well, you know.

Just a minute while I put some tincture on my lips. There, all done. I’m blue everywhere. Even my insides feel blue. What a fanciful thought! But perhaps they are… Perhaps the tincture has seeped through and tainted the bottled-up grief with its colour. As if I need anymore tainting.

Perhaps that’s why Cajk left me: he realized I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t worthy.

Oh! I’m crying. I better put down the dictaphone and catch my tears.