As I was reviewing my most recent posts, looking over the topics to make sure I don’t repeat myself, I realized something. I realized that, while this blog is meant to be a place where I can strengthen my writing, I have not once given an original work of my own. So here today I am posting a short story that I wrote on a while ago. I was going to send it into writing contests, but first I want to hear what you all think. So, without further adieu:
Black, white, and a few shades of gray. This is all we know, and for most it is all we will ever know. It’s how we are able to tell the difference between those who are superior and those who are of a lower class. We never questioned it, the separation, because it made sense, the fact that those who could see properly were regarded as better.
Only a few know what it’s like, seeing in color. The lifestyle was different for them, the air was different. Those who saw correctly got the higher paying jobs, better houses, and people, people who were just as colorblind as everyone else.
They test us, to weed out the defects from those who can see “properly”. Eye exams, color charts, everything they could think of, and if someone proved to be damaged, life would prove to be much more difficult for them.
There was no way to hide the shame of being impaired, the guilt of being inferior. You could not keep it a secret or choose who gets to know because everyone, even the colorblind, can see the light in your eyes that no longer shines. We shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are, what’s wrong with our eyes, but we are told of our inferiority and forced to live with this disgrace, this evil that has been placed upon us, due to nothing more than how we were born.
I was born colorblind, which is not surprising, my parents both were and their parents before that were. By the time I was twenty-five I was still out of work and the hope that my childlike fantasies had created was quickly dying. At thirty I secured myself a below minimum wage job, to help me while I look for something better, something I knew deep down I would never be able to attain.
Someone new approached the business I worked for, someone who could see properly, and bought our entire warehouse, making sure to fire all those who were deficient, meaning that I was now out of work, out of money, and unable to continue making payments on what was once my small but livable shack. I am sitting on a local park bench, the town I once considered my home displayed in front of me, when my entire world changes ever so slightly.
It is as I begin to lay my head on the side of the cold gray armrest that I catch the sight of a small gray object drifting through the wind. It is money, most likely dropped by the very people who put me in this place, and something that would be hard to come by in my current position. I have to go and pick it up before it flies away.
As soon as I move my body away from the bench, something runs into me, leaving both of us on the floor. I sit there dazed as I watch my gray piece of hope fly away from me.
“I’m so sorry,” someone says. As bad as our eyes are, our ears work perfectly. I can hear her better than I can see her. People are watching, but not one cares enough to do anything, so they all go back to their business, as if anything could be of any real importance.
“What?” I struggle to ask, more focused on the fact that my black and white vision is being intruded by a new, unfamiliar hue. It is painted on the welcoming door of a church just across the street, a church that offers hope and freedom. The contrast is striking and my heart, once so anxious, is calmed.
She gets up and I can tell she sees it too, the new light. She looks around and walks to a bush that once was home to gray roses. She reaches out and innocently picks the flower from its bush, not either not knowing or not caring about the thorns that haunt its stem. She draws her hand back in frustration as the rose falls to the floor. The new color is darker when it comes from her hand, it is deeper than it was on the church door.
“Are you okay?” I ask, getting up from my still sitting position.
“Yes, I’m-I don’t know what came over me.” The tenderness in her voice draws me to her. The cut is deep, but it can be mended. I reach to help her and, the moment I touch her hand, a new light forms. After its presence radiates brightly, it slowly begins to fade into the rest of my vision. I see the roses and their thorns as they were meant to be seen, beautiful and perfect.
I pick up this perfect rose, both wonderful and deadly, and study it, placing it up against the gray sky, seeing the two new shades surrounded by the darkness.
She notices it too. She must notice it. She is looking at the grass now, a color never before seen by either of our eyes. What is it about this woman, this woman who can cure the vilest of diseases with a single touch? Then again, maybe she is wondering the same about me.
“What?” she asks tentatively, more to herself than to me, tears beginning to well in her eyes.
“Are you seeing this? How is this happening?” I ask.
“I don’t- I don’t know.”
“Who are you? What is your name?” There is no reason she should tell me, she only just met me.
“My name is Joy, and yes, I do see this. I see all of it, for the first time, finally,” she says with a smile I’ve only seen on the privileged.
“Joy. My- my name is Adam, it’s nice to meet you.” Introductions, we were getting to know each other. I felt an attraction to her, a love for her that I’ve never felt before. As we shake hands, the sky opens up around me, flooding my brain at first, but then slowly twinkling down.
We both stare up in amazement at our new ceiling, which has now encased us. Three different colors and we have only just learned each other’s names. Was it us making things change? What more could happen? If I could see properly I would have no limits, nothing to keep me back. The childhood fantasies I had once loved, fantasies of a future, of a real life, are reviving from somewhere deep inside me.
“It’s so nice to meet you too, Adam.”
I offer for her to sit on the bench and we speak much longer than any two people who have just met should. As we learn more about each other, new colors continue to open up around us, each one as mysterious and intriguing as the next and we show awe and wonder at every revelation.
There are only a few gray spots left and these spots, I believe, are meant to be discolored. The gray spots remind me of why I asked Joy to sit and talk with me, why I asked her to stay. She’s the only one who can restore my vision and, now that I have it, I can get my job back, my life. I can have money, a better house, cars, anything I want.
I stand up without much explanation as to why I’m leaving and head back towards my old warehouse, anticipation clinging to my mind. I have left this mysterious woman for money and status, but she doesn’t matter anymore because now I can have whomever I want, I can have whatever I want. Everyone around me is colorblind and I have been healed, I have been fixed. I’m no longer a disgrace.
As I am walking, thinking of the new opportunities that have just opened up for me, my new vision begins to fade. It starts slowly at first, the color draining from my peripheral, and slowly working it’s way toward the center. As soon as I notice the change, panic invades my body. I immediately go back to the bench, to the place where we met, but Joy isn’t there anymore, she left.
The color is almost completely drained now and my only chance at getting it back has walked away. I was given the taste of a life better than my own and now I am nothing more than I once was. She is gone and with her, my better life.
I sit on the bench and wait. I wait for Joy to come back, I wait for my vision to correct itself, but above all, I wait for something, anything, to ease the pain that overwhelms me as I cry tears to a gray and colorless world.
My vision never came back to me, my life never changed. I saw joy once more after that, roaming the streets. We bumped into each other and, to my disappointment, nothing changed. I don’t even know if she recognized me. I oftentimes wonder if I had stayed with Joy that day, what would have happened. Would we have kept our perfect vision? Was that event merely a teasing of what we were missing out on? What was so special about Joy? I don’t know the answer to any of my questions and I probably never will, but I do know one thing, I know that all I will ever be able to see is black, white, and a few shades of gray.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this. If you liked it, please share, like, leave a comment!
Have a fantastic Friday!