Red means stop. Stop at this intersection, stop and see the color of my lips, notice these (impossibly uncomfortable yet incredibly beautiful) shoes, look at those flowers and think about how much you love, admire the bright beauty of the fruit before you taste it on your tongue. It's the color of fire, of passion, heat. It's also the color of fingers and faces frozen in the winter chill. Does red contradict itself? Very well, then, it contradicts itself.


The color of show-off maple leaves in autumn, the jackets hunters wear, carrots, pumpkins, incredibly juicy citrus fruit, and the glow of a gorgeous sunset. It is the color where the power of red and the cheer of yellow meet. It is bright, it is bold, it has no word in the English language that rhymes with it. It's so orange.


Yellow is the brightness of a summer day, the tartness of a lemon. It's a sundress with a twirly skirt, the instant cheer of a sunflower. A yellow rose is a symbol of friendship, and a yellow light means to proceed with caution (or perhaps to drive really fast so as not to be stopped by red). Yellow is a joyful hue, the shade of warmth, it's the crayon we use when we need to color a picture of the sun.


The cool grass under bare feet at night, the leaves opening on the trees, a perfectly delicious bunch of grapes. Green is the color of living, of growth (what is that in the refrigerator?), of energy. It's the color of still water that we call glassy, it's the color of broken glass in the street. It's the thumb of a person who can grow anything, and it's the promise of new life after a long winter.


Blue is the color of loyalty. You can count on the color of the sky on a perfectly clear, sunny afternoon, the flirty wink of tiny flowers, the ever-changing moods of the sea, and your favorite shirt. They're always as blue as you know they should be. As blue as a bicycle waiting in front of a wall, as blue as the towel you'll wrap yourself in when you climb out of the bath.


Violet is a shy flower covering the lawn in spring, the soft color of a late summer evening before it turns black. Always cool, it's one of the most tactile of colors — everything you look at in violet seems soft and attached to your memories and daydreams. It's the skin of the vegetables that make up your dinner (it always feels decadent to eat something so beautiful), and it's chipped nail polish on the fingers of the girl you'll never forget.