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I lived my life perfectly content with my rose-colored glasses firmly placed over my eyes. Through them everything and everyone was beautiful. Everything was tinged a beautiful shade of pink. Nothing was broken, dark, or destroyed. Everything had a beautiful aura.

Except for Danny.

Danny was the gray smudge I couldn't rid myself of. The fingerprint left on my glasses. Wherever Danny was, that is where my glasses failed. That's where I saw bits of gray and black and smog and dust. That's where the pink tinged aura faded and I saw the world for what is was. Just for a moment. Just as long as Danny was there.

He was a necessity and he was a pain. He was air and he was suffocation. He was swimming and he was drowning. And he was happiness. He was wisdom. He was joy.

He made me break my glasses.

I remember that day, or rather night. Danny had been threatening to steal my glasses and cast them into the ocean for sometime. And I, being as mature as I was, would simply shut my eyes so I didn't have to see the gray smudge that was Danny. I would convince myself that there was nothing wrong with my glasses. That the gray smudge was all Danny's fault and that there was something wrong with him.

"There's nothing wrong with the glasses," he would say, "it's your eyesight that has problems."

Those words burned into me and more than once I contemplated removing my glasses just to see if my vision was that bad. Friends of mine had to wear glasses to see, but my glasses weren't like theirs. Their glasses were clear and didn't color the world beautifully. Mine did. That must mean my glasses are special. That must mean I'm special.

"You're special alright. You'll be even more special once you take those glasses off and stop acting like you're better than everyone else."

Danny certainly knew how to charm a girl and make her feel loved, special, and wanted.

"People want you around, Rain, but not if you're going to be talking about how wonderful your glasses are and how everyone should have a pair."

In my opinion, everyone should have a pair of glasses like mine. The world is beautiful with them.

"And the world is beautiful without them. Everyone you know, everyone you have ever met had a pair of glasses just like yours once. They don't anymore if you've noticed, because they didn't want to look at the world through tinted glasses anymore. They wanted to see what the world really looked like."

If that's true, why get rid of the glasses? Really, nothing can be better than the world as seen through tinted glasses.

"They got rid of the glasses because the world was so much better without them. Life was so much better without them."

You'd have to be crazy or a fool to believe that. Life better without tinted glasses? Impossible.

"It's like looking at the stars, Rain. You can see the darkness, you know it's there, but you don't focus on it. That's not why you look up at the sky. You look up to see the stars, the light in the world. That's what you focus on. The light."

When Danny left me alone one evening, I tried looking up at the sky, something I'd never done before.

I couldn't see the stars. My glasses turned the entire sky light and whatever stars were faded into the brightness. No darkness. No gloomy evil. There was none of the darkness Danny had spoken of.

Nor was there any of the light.

The gray smudge disappeared as well.

Danny didn't come that night like he always did for a reason. Something that was known as a tragedy had happened. Something that was called death had taken Danny. Where, I don't know, but it had taken him.

The cemetery where he was buried was beautifully colored thanks to my glasses. Everyone around me was crying and bowing their heads. They clung to one another as if the slightest breeze would shatter them or steal them away. And in the midst of the sea of a color friends assured me was black, I was dressed in white. Or pink. At least I thought it was pink until someone said, "oh Rain, Danny would have loved to see you dressed in white." But I didn't know what they were talking about. My glasses made my dress pink.

My glasses. They slipped down my nose a bit as I stood over Danny's grave. Night had fallen, or at least I believed it to be night since the crickets were singing after the rainstorm passed over us. Danny's grave looked lonely in the cemetery, in a corner by itself. By himself.

"You should have kept your glasses," I whisper, although I'm trying to reprimand him, "I heard death can't see you if you wear your glasses." Glasses that I push roughly back up my nose after they had slipped some more.

"You should have kept your glasses," I say a little louder and the night amplifies my voice in the empty cemetery.

"You should have kept them." Something warm and wet rolls down my cheek and for a minute I believe it's raining again. But no rain falls on my arms or coats my back or splatters something called mud onto my legs.

"What does mud look like?" I ask of the remnant of Danny as another warm drop rolls down my cheek.

"What is white?" Another drop, this time rolling down my other cheek.

"What is day?"

"What is night?

Three more drops.

"What does the sun look like?"

"Why is it bright all the time?"

By now the drops of warm water are falling faster than I can wipe them away.

"Why am I-" I hesitate, not knowing what I was doing. My mind flashed back to a day when Danny had come to see me looking like only his face had been caught in a rainstorm. I remember asking him what had happened, what the wet stuff on his face was.

"Why am I crying?" The question came out hoarse and I hadn't realized until then that I had been shouting my questions. Fog was dancing around me, clinging to me I was sure, but I couldn't feel it. I couldn't smell it. I couldn't feel the cold wrapping itself around me. And that's when I realized that there was no fog.

It was my glasses.

My tears, as I remembered Danny calling them, were causing my glasses to fog over making it difficult for me to see. I fanned my face, hoping the fog would dissipate, but it only seemed to make it worse.

"Danny," I cried, "I need your help. My glasses… how…" I trailed off, knowing what Danny would say if he were here, what he would do if he could still use his body.

He would smile and laugh at me, being nice about it the entire time.

"You silly girl," he'd say before removing my glasses and wiping the fog from them with his shirt lapel. And slowly, hesitantly, he'd hand them back to me and wait for my reaction. Wait for me to place them over my eyes again and return to the world where everything is perfect.

"Here," he'll say as he places them in my hand because I've screwed my eyes shut so I wouldn't have to see the world. I don't want to see the darkness. I don't want to see the night.

Danny's hand in warm as he closes my fingers around the coveted glasses that I hold so dear. Glasses that are cool in my grasp, cold as I hold them in my hand. I find myself longing for the warmth of Danny's touch, but he's pulled his hand away faster than I can grasp it and keep it in my hands.

"Danny," I whisper, eyes still shut tight against the world, "what do the stars look like?" Silence reigns for a moment before warm hands grasp the sides of my face gently before tilting my head back.

"Open your eyes," he whispers in the dark and my eyes slowly, cautiously, open wide. The first thing I see is the darkness. Long, vast, and inky. There is no color, no break, no end. But then slowly my eyes begin to adjust and the darkness fades into the background as tiny white lights dance across the sky.

In the midst of them, their king I would assume, is a large white ball of sorts that casts a beautiful haze over the world below.

"What is that," I whisper, pointing to the orb in the sky.

"That's the moon," Danny says in my ear as he raises my hand up into the light. The ring I always wear is blue in the moonlight, not green. And my dress is-

"White," Danny provides when I try to think of the color, but come up empty handed. I turn in Danny's arms, tearing my eyes from the moon and resting them instead on him.

For the first time I see Danny without the gray covering him. Instead, he's bathed in a brilliant light that makes him radiate and shine.

"My glasses made you gray," I admit and he smiles knowingly.

"I had to get your attention somehow," he teases, "and I thought if I annoyed you enough, maybe you would take your glasses off." We laugh together and for some reason, it sounds even more beautiful than with my glasses on. I reach up to stroke Danny's face, but he vanishes beneath my touch.

I hear a clatter and what I know to be the shattering of glass as I collapse to my knees, sobs racking my body as the image that played before my eyes vanishes. My knees sink into the cold wet that covers Danny's grave as the dream evades my desperate attempts to reclaim it.

"Danny," I cry, eyes screwed shut as the world comes alive around me. I struggle to find my glasses, but they've disappeared from reach. For the first time I feel utterly helpless and alone. Broken, confused, and without a way to find home.

"The day you finally open your eyes is the day you're going to be irrevocably happy."

Danny's words float across my mind from one of the many conversations we had. Shaking, I raise my head from my chest and point my eyes upwards to where I know the sky will be. And with the knowledge that Danny would never have me do something that would cause me harm, I slowly open my eyes, blinking away my tears and wait for some miracle to happen. And it does.

Because for the first time, I can see the stars.




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dreamer said...
Oct. 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm:
I loved this story. It's really beautiful.
 
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