The and thought about colour. He had never

The world was black
and white. Henry walked along the sidewalk of the busy city and thought about
colour. He had never seen it before, but he knew that it existed. When he was
just a baby his parents would tell him about all of the times they would explore
the world, trying to see all of the colours they had missed out on before they
met.

His grandparents were
very keen on trying to teach what colour is, because they considered it so
beautiful, yet they could never quite make sense of it.

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He himself had never
really considered colour to be special. He’s lived his life up to this point
only seeing it for a few months, so why should it matter. He was 24, and while
all of his friends got married and had beautiful colour coordinated weddings,
he sat in the back, seeing grey hues and smiling faces.

He thought of the
time he had seen colour, but now the world was the same as before.

He was laying in his
bed, was thinking about the time before, when he had seen all of the colours in
the world.

 

He was 23, and was a
tad late for what was described to him as ‘the best encounter of his life.’
When he finally met her, it was like any other day. He was in the park enjoying
the bright grey of the grasses contrasting the dark trees. She was walking her
dark and light patchy dog around the park, and after her 3nd lap around the
circular track-like path, he built up the courage to ask her if he could paint
her dog.

She was shocked, and
had instantly assumed that he was able to see colour, because there was
virtually no such thing as a colourless artist. He didn’t tell her that he was
single.

All he told her was
that her dog contrasted with the trees and the grass. She had an image of her
dogs colour, and knew the grass and trees were green, so her dog must be green.
She agreed, and he got right to work.

He told her that she
could continue to walk the dog, maybe rest on a bench, but keep her distance.
He got out his pencil and paper, and began to sketch. He was a very good
artist, and he knew where to start immediately, where others would have been
flustered.

He began with the
tree. The tall, dominating figure that was at such a distance that it looked
innocent and unapossing. The idea of distance making things less powerful
always seemed to express itself in his art.

He continued, and
focused his attention on a blade of grass in the forefront of the portrait. He
allowed the idea that the smaller thing, often seen as only one part of a
whole, could turn into a tree from another perspective.

He looked up, and
woman was standing there with her dog. Instead of looking at the dog, he looked
into her face. It was wide, but had full, high cheekbones. She had short hair
that framed her features perfectly. Her wide nose ended in a cute point, and
her large eyes were enhanced by it. Thin glasses rimmed her eyes, and the
bottoms of them grazed her cheeks. Her lips were thick and full, and she had a
slender chin that ended in a soft curve. Her eyelashes were thin, but he found
it beautiful. She had thick eyebrows, and dark freckles around her eyes.

The girl he had
ignored before now sprung into his vision, and he couldn’t tear his eyes away
from her. She had a short, plump body, and her skin gave off a glowing radiance
he had never seen before.

He was completely
awestruck. He had never encountered a woman like this before. He swallowed
hard, finding his sudden, unexplainable attraction uncomfortable. She flicked
her eyelashes, and he watched as she parted her lips. He felt sweat gather on
his body, and he wanted nothing more than to have her sit beside him.

He wasn’t feeling
lust. He wanted to sit and listen to her singsong voice for the rest of his
life. He could almost feel the soundwaves coming from her lips on his skin.

“What have you got
done?” This was all she said, yet he was completely infatuated. He shakily
showed her the sketchpad, and hoped she loved it.

“That’s pretty good!”
These words light a fire inside of him, and he loved the feeling.

“So, how much longer
do you need me for?” And the fire was doused.

“Not much longer, I
just need you to sit on the bench across from me,” and she gave him a puzzled
look.

“Do you want me hold
Charlie on the bench?”

“Yes, yes, hold him
on your lap on the bench,” and she sat across from him. But instead of drawing
the dog in the portrait, he drew her.

He drew her delicate
features into the landscape he had already carved, giving her the look of a
gentle earthen goddess. He put his heart and soul into the work, barely
glancing up to make sure he was right. He felt in his heart that her beauty was
burned into his mind like a branding iron does to a cow.

            He
soon loses focus of what he’s doing, and doesn’t notice that she had gotten up
and sat beside him. He was snapped awake from his daydream by her gasp, and he
realizes she must have seen his sketch. He tensed his body, waiting for the
slap that was to come.

            Yet
instead, he received a warm hug, and her soft skin on his body. He all but
melted under her touch, and when he opened his eyes to see her face once more,
he saw the real hue of it. She had dark, matte skin, and the freckles he saw
were bright white dots. When he looked down at himself, he saw he was a paler
colour.

            She
looked up too, and he saw his own amazement reflected back through her eyes.
They stared at each other for minutes before either one spoke, until finally
Henry said,

            “Uh,
hey, my name’s Henry, how are you today,” and he felt his blood rush through
his veins at her giggle.

            “I’m
Mellody, and I’m feeling very good,” and another giggle escapes her.

            They
both have been preparing for this moment their entire lives, but now that
they’re here, they don’t want to do what they were told to do. Both of their
parents and grandparents had said don’t get caught up on the little things, and
appreciate the bigger picture, because there will come a time when you don’t
get to see colour again, and you’re heart will become as stone cold as the
landscape.

            But
they didn’t want to look at anything but each other. Her eyes were dark and
foreboding, and he found himself lost in them. They were still locked in the
embrace, except now they were turned towards each other, eyes boring into the
other.

            He
could feel her excitement pulsing from her, and he felt his own mixing with it.
They were supposed to get up and read one of the many signs littered around
public spaces so they can understand what the colours they’re seeing are, but
instead they stare.

            Most
people react like this, but not for as long. They’ve just met each other, and
already they’re deeply attached. They’re sharing an intimate moment that only
they can live in.

            Eventually
they separate because Charlie has begun yipping. She walked over to the sign on
the water fountain, and brought it over to him. Together, they saw the colours,
even though only minutes before it had been grey. There was a wheel, with 10 or
so colours in it. They were named, and they learned them all. They could see
everyone of the colours around the park, and could easily identify them.

            They
came across a skin colour chart as well, and learned that Henry was light
brown, and Mellody was dark brown. They both had brown hair and eyes, and the
dots around Mellody’s eyes were the colour pink.

            They
looked down, and saw Charlie was a nice shade of peach with some brown spots,
and had a beautiful pink nose. Without second thought, they left the park,
craving to see how the world really was.

            They
walked down to the end of the road after seeing red brick buildings. Some
houses were yellow, some blue, some white. They had never known this before.
After seeing at least 3 of each colour, they went to Mellody’s house to give
Charlie a rest.

            She
learned that her house was a delicate pink shade, and she loved it. Inside,
there was a mush of colour, but it all seemed to lean in the medium-light spectrum.
When she had bought the furniture she had enjoyed the shade of grey that it
came in, but now her life was so much different.

            They
had moved past their initial awkward phase and are now working into a
comfortable friendship. He walked around her house, awestruck at all of the
colours he had been missing out on.

            They
sat on the couch after Charlie was fed and his bed was laid out. They we back
to an almost awkward state, but they gained confidence as they chatted about
themselves. She was 23, worked at a law firm, had only Charlie as a companion,
and was as cynical as him when it came to the idea of a soulmate.

            Standard
protocol when it came to situations like this was both parties would single out
their most valued possessions, then they would make a group decision on the
large furniture, and then they would buy a house together.

            Since
this wasn’t an enforced rule, they decided that they would just stay at
Mellody’s house. Henry didn’t have much furniture, and the stuff he did have he
didn’t care for. He worked for a marketing agency, and he loved his job. He got
paid the same, if not more, than an average person, but he would never show it.
Although his clothes always looked nice, he lived with the bare minimum. He had
a chair, a TV, a bed, a makeshift night stand, he used the kitchen island as a
table and he only had a few pots and pans. When he sold the house, he decided
he would leave everything but his valuables behind for the next person to use.

            They
began to make dinner, and as they went through the process, they felt
themselves syncing to each other’s movements. Neither looked up, and they
worked in silence.

This was when they
both knew that the other was their soulmate.

After this day they
became a well oiled machine. They moved in unison, and an outside spectator
would even say they seem to be telepathically communicating because of how well
they work together. Life for them, was bliss.

They would walk the
same way to work every morning, both headed for the business sector of the city.
They would always stop at the same coffee shop, order the same coffee, and
leave to sit on a bench.

They left for work 15
minutes early so they could do this, because remanissong on the time they first
met made their hearts swell with nostalgia. This day however, was different.
Before Henry sat down beside Mellody, he tripped and fell, only to get up on
one knee, and propose marriage.

She cried and cried,
happiness shooting through her like a drug. She knew she never wanted to feel
anything other than what she felt at that moment, and she said yes.

He got up onto the
bench and slid the ring onto her finger. Once she got a good look at it, her
eyes shined with awe. The crystal would change colour depending on the angle
she would look at it. Colour had become a normal thing for them, but this was
completely new.

            They
looked at each other, and knew they were with the person they wanted to be with
forever. They knew each other so well, and before even needing to ask, they
both stood, hugged, and continued on their way to work, Mellody glancing down
at her new ring every few moments. A smile crept across his face as he watched
her, in all of her beauty.

            They
separated at their respective offices, and a growing warmth was spreading
though Henry faster and faster. He stepped onto the elevator, smiling, and when
someone entered beside him, he gave them a warm smile.

            Once
he reached his cubicle, he looked around at the space he has worked for the
greater part of his career, and for the first time he put something personal on
his desk. A framed photo of Mellody.

She had on dark
purple eye makeup that complimented her eyes. Her lips were stained a deep red,
and her wide smile burst through them. She had dazzling white teeth, and a
perfect bow in her lip. As he stared she became more and more beautiful, just
like she had on the day they first met, only weeks before.

But as he stared, the
colour faded from her eyes, and her skin became an ashy grey. The picture frame
went from bright blue to a neutral pale, and the surrounding desk faded as
well. Her smile was still as dazzling, as white, and her lips were still
stained red.

He was perplexed, and
looked around his desk. He knew what was coloured and what was just a neutral
shade, and everything turned grey.

Feeling more and more
apprehensive, he stood and walked over to the colour poster by the door. As he
stood, the colours began to fade, and he was left staring at a blank paper. All
that remained was a small sliver, and the word ‘RED’.

He kept his upset to
himself, and walked to the bathroom as nonchalauntly as possible.

Inside, the colours
were fading as well, and his breath started coming out in a pant. The joy that
had laced his veins turned to ice, and watched his skin change back to how it
was before he met Mellody. Mellody! He wondered if she was having the same problem,
and he walked as fast as he could back to his cubicle, all colour having
drained from the office.

He dialed her number,
but it went to voicemail. He dialed again and again, his fingers shaking as he
started to lose focus in his panic. He heard his name being called, but he
couldn’t hear it. The desk around his phone went blurry, and he started to feel
his limbs go numb.

Without thinking, he
pulled himself from his desk and brushed past all of the people who had crowded
around him. They were saying things, but he couldn’t understand, and he pushed
away from them.

He worked his way to
the elevator, but after he pressed the button he couldn’t wait any longer. He
ran to the stairs and had an organized fall down them, barely hitting any of
the stairs.

At the bottom he
slammed his body against the door and raced down the street. He felt a sharp
pain in his side and he didn’t know how to explain it. He kneeled over in the
street, his pain flowing through him at a constant rate. His heartbeat was
pulsing in his throat, and he had to swallow it to continue on.

The street was
raising and lowering to meet his feet, and the rhythm was the only thing
keeping him from collapsing. He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew he
had to continue on.

He found himself
going to the park, and when he saw the large group of people, he felt nausea
creep up in his throat, replacing his heartbeat. His heartbeat has stopped.

The things his
coworkers had said to him finally squeezed into his mind. They were talking
about an accident, with Mellody. He stopped in his tracks.

After all of the rush
he had gone through, he realized all the colour he had previously associated
with the area was completely gone, and he was stuck in the completely grey
landscape he had before Mellody.

There was a crowd,
and he saw a pepering of red shirts. All he could see was red. He pushed his
way into the center and his eyes went blurry again. All he could see was a red
hue, and the rest was grey. When his eyes came into focus, he saw that on the
ground there was a small, plump body with dark skin. As he stared down at it,
the skin tone faded into a dark grey, and he felt a tear well up into his eyes.

It fell to the ground
in a small, grey mass, and dropped into the pool of red blood surrounding the
body. There was a glittering knife in her side, and he knelt down to see it. It
had a carved handle, and it was quite beautiful. In other circumstances, he may
have even enjoyed it. He lifted her hand and looked for the last thing he gave
her.

The ring. It wasn’t
there. It was missing. He felt pain in his heart this time, knowing that if he
hadn’t given her the ring, she may still be alive. Regret made its form in his
eyes as more and more tears mixed grey with the red pool.

He looked up, tears
streaming, looking for anyone to tell him this isn’t Mellody. Nobody said a
word.

They sky had turned
grey, the trees close to black. He knew there was colour there before, but now
he couldn’t access it. But as he turned his head, he caught flashes of red,
haunting him, a striking reminder of the blood of his soulmate.

 

He returned to their
house, feeling the memories associated with the rooms. Her memory was burned
into this place, and he could feel her around him. But as he continued into the
house, some of their red appliances brought back the red, red blood. He
couldn’t help but shield his eyes from the pigment.

He slipped back into
life before Mellody, sitting in the park, finishing his sketch of her. His
pencil was red, and before, he had no idea it was. After he finished the first
sketch, from the day they met, he continued to draw a series. Posted on his
wall at home was millions of sketches resembling the original.

But one day, on his
way to work, he saw a red circle on the ground that wasn’t there before, and he
was rushed back to the time when he lost his sight of colour. That day was the
day that he abandoned colour.

He ran home, looking
at the pile of red objects he had on a table, and started to cry. He let all of
the pain he felt out all at once, and after he felt a divine hatred for the
colour.

He tore the makeshift
shrine apart, hauled it to the backyard and set a match to it. The fire burned
a bright red, and when it finally died out all that was left was a pile of
burning red ember. He brought a grey pail of water out and threw the colourless
liquid onto the ash, and watched as the colour ran out onto the ground like the
blood had come from Mellody’s side.

He went to his room
and tore the sketches off the wall, but instead of burning them, he tucked them
neatly into a pile, slipped them into a file folder, and put it in his safe.

Opening his closet,
he tore all of the red clothes out, easily identifiable within the dark clothes
that he now only wore.

After cleansing
himself of all colour, he lay down on his bed, facing the photo of Mellody he
had been looking at the day she died, and inserted the carved knife directly in
the place it had been in her side. He felt the same pain as he had on the day
he ran from work, and as he watched the blood poured from his body, bright red.
He felt his heartbeat slide out in his blood.

For the first time
since that day, his mind focused, and he could see the blood as clear as it
really was.

The white sheets were
now vibrant red, and he slipped into unconsciousness. 

x

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