There were two conflicting views that people held about six-year-old Susan Pevensie. Adults, including her own parents, saw a sweet, tender-hearted little girl who loved playing with her dolls and her siblings. The grown-ups cooed over her dark curls and adorable smile. They exclaimed loudly over her delightful manners and precocious questions.
To her siblings, though, she was mostly just 'bossy Susan'. Lucy was too young still to understand that Susan always got her way, but the boys were under no illusions. Peter just went along with Susan's insistence on everyone playing her way, mostly because he didn't like it when she cried and yelled, and because he could always leave and play with his friends if he got too annoyed. Four-year-old Edmund endured playing with Susan because Peter did.
On that particular day, though, it was raining, thus depriving Peter of his usual avenue of escape. He had tried to ignore Susan's pleading for him to play, but she always knew how to rope him into it anyway. Therefore, Peter was already in a grumpy mood as he sat at his 'desk' (a large atlas that he balanced on his lap) and doodled on a piece of paper as Susan played teacher. Edmund, sitting next to his older brother, seemed to be listening to Susan much more than Peter. Except for when he was craning his head to see what Peter was drawing and getting into his increasingly irritated brother's way by grabbing at his arm.
Susan gave her 'class' a stern look. "Now we're going to talk about colors. My favorite color is pink because it is pretty and princesses wear pink and Mummy promised that I can have a new pink dress for Christmas. Peter, what is your favorite color?"
Peter sighed and shook Edmund off his arm again. "I like blue. You know that Susan."
The 'teacher' ignored Peter's irritation and turned to her little brother. "Edmund, what is your favorite color?"
Edmund's eyes lit up. "Blue! I like blue!"
Now, usually Peter was very tolerant with his brother and the fact that Edmund liked to copy everything he did. But it was raining and Peter was bored and he was through with Edmund hanging over him and stealing his favorite color. "You can't like blue, that's my favorite color!" he snapped at Edmund.
Edmund looked up at him with wide, dark eyes. "But I like blue! Blue is my favorite color!"
That just made Peter angrier. "No it's not! You're just a little copy-cat!"
Poor Edmund probably did not even know what a copy-cat was; he just knew that his older brother was angry and shouting at him. His little face scrunched up and he let out a plaintive wail, before scrambling to his feet and running from the room as fast as his tiny legs could carry him. Susan was none too happy with this. "Look what you did, Peter!" she scolded, hands on her hips in a conscious mimicry of their mother.
"He's just being a baby," Peter protested. Edmund was always getting upset over every little thing Peter did. Usually Peter was able to calm him down before their parents noticed, but it seemed that the day would be getting worse.
He was right, as their mother soon appeared in the doorway, carrying a sniffling Edmund in her arms while Lucy toddled in with her, clutching Mrs. Pevensie's dress in one hand. Seeing Susan, Lucy let go and tottered over to her sister, babbling over everything and nothing. Mrs. Pevensie, though, was focused on the little boy she carried and the older boy who had scrambled to his feet, his guiltiness plastered on his face.
Mrs. Pevensie sighed and sat on the couch, Edmund huddled in her lap and whimpering dejectedly against her chest. "Peter," she began, "would you like to tell me what has upset your brother so?" It was not a suggestion.
Peter glowered at Edmund for getting him into trouble. "He's being a baby, Mum," he repeated. "I just told him to stop copying me. He can pick a different favorite color!"
"But I like blue!" Edmund wailed.
Mrs. Pevensie hugged her little son, murmuring soothing sounds to calm him down. While some might think that favorite colors was a silly thing to fight over, Mrs. Pevensie was raising four children and had quickly learned that, to a child, a favorite color could be considered a life and death matter. So she would treat it like the serious topic it was. "Eddy," she asked calmly, "why do you like blue?"
Edmund sniffled. "Because Peter likes blue." He glanced quickly at his brother, than buried his face against his mother.
His answer just proved Peter's point. "See! He's just copying me!"
Mrs. Pevensie was silent a moment before speaking gently to her oldest child. "Peter, do you know why Edmund copies you?"
Peter had not actually thought of it before. He had always assumed that Edmund was just being annoying. But his mother's tone indicated that she thought there was something more. "No."
Smoothing her youngest son's dark hair, Mrs. Pevensie smiled at Peter. "He copies you because he wants to be like you, because he thinks you're wonderful. Peter…Edmund likes the color blue because you like it and he loves you. Loving what you love is a way for him to love you." She did not wait for Peter to answer; she wanted him to ponder what she had said. "And now, I think it's nap-time for some. Peter, please watch Susan while I put Edmund and Lucy to bed." He nodded, his forehead creased with thought, and Mrs. Pevensie left with her two youngest, trusting that her highly intelligent son would think everything out for himself.
Peter did think. He thought for a whole half-hour, which was quite long for the energetic young boy. Finally, he came to a conclusion and, slipping out of the kitchen where Susan and their mother were baking cookies, he quietly made his way to the room he shared with his little brother.
He found Edmund curled in a tight ball and clutching Pig, his stuffed bear, to his chest. Peter knew he was not supposed to wake up his younger siblings when they took their naps, but this was important. He shook his brother's arm, softly calling his name. "Edmund. Eddy." The little boy opened his bleary eyes, taking a moment before being able to clearly focus on Peter. Edmund's eyes lit up seeing his older brother, but then quickly darkened in upset as he remembered being yelled at. Peter smiled, hoping to bring that happy light back. "Eddy, blue can be your favorite color, too."
His smile grew as the light in Edmund's eyes did return. Peter climbed onto the bed and pulled his little brother into a hug. The moment would not last forever: five years later Edmund would be angrily declaring that his favorite color was red. A year after that, they would be too busy trying to run a kingdom in a wardrobe to think about having a favorite color at all. It would not be until Edmund was fifteen and Peter was eighteen that the younger brother would be able to fully articulate why blue was his favorite color.
But for now, Peter was content just to know that blue was Edmund's favorite color; because blue was Edmund's way of saying "I love you."