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Ugh. She was taking too long to pick out my clothes again. “Mom, hurry up it doesn’t matter anymore, just make sure it matches! I don’t want them making fun again”. Apparently black and blue don’t match but the blame was not on me. All I saw was a frilly short-sleeved shirt with a pair of long pants consisting of dull shades of the color, which I have been told, is “grey”. Mental note: frilly shirt feels soft, smooth, and wrinkles easily. Pants keep me warm through this dead winter and feel fuzzy against my skin. My mental notes were starting to get lengthier and harder to remember. But I needed them. They are all I have to pay attention to now that color is no longer an option. I needed to begin writing these down soon. I got to school a few minutes before the bell when Jess came over to me.
“Scar, oh my gosh tell me if this top goes with these pants now!” Her frantic eyes, which apparently are a color called “blue”, reflected my angry expression.
“Jess are you serious?” I replied, annoyance boiling at an increasingly impeccable rate just under my layers of what is called a “fair complexion”.
“I’m freaking color blind, Jess, colorblind! Just…ugh whatever I’m late”, I started running towards room J3 when the guilt drove in.
“I’ll save you a seat at lunch,”
was my “I’m sorry you forgot about my condition” line when I saw her forty five minutes later in Art. Oh great.
Art was my most difficult class to cope with. Stupid 217 color pencil trays my teacher handed out to everyone except me. All she gave me was a pencil and said,” Oh just draw whatever you like honey” and winked. Brilliant. At least that was one career off my list for Jobs for the Future.
“Ok class, today we will discuss the color wheel.”
I was mortified as I met another twenty-two pairs of mine shooting glances my way. Carla, a quieter girl who possessed more feeling than most of the other dim wits expressed an expression of sympathy instead. I wondered why I didn’t talk to her more often…
“I want someone to tell me about the color brown: what it makes you feel, or things you see with it throughout the day.”
One kid snorted obnoxiously thinking it was the easiest thing in the world. He should have a day in my shoes. Lindsay raised her hand to comment; her squeaky voice was piercing;
“Um well obviously trees trunks are brown,” her friend next to her, whose name I could not remember, giggled.
“Ok, how about a little bit more feeling! Come on guys…Eric?”
An exasperated look played on face Ms. McCloud’s face.
“Tell me how you feel when you see the color brown.”
“Um,” he began with a voice too low to fit the way he looked, “I guess I feel warm? I” he paused to pretend he was reflecting about how it really did make him feel, and as usual gave up with the finishing, “I don’t know really.”
That was pointless. This was pointless! I shouldn’t even be here, even though a small portion in the back of my brain hungered for more information. But warm? That was it? I was starting to not like Eric anymore. This morning I did say warm in my mental note though. Maybe the pants are brown. It got me curious…
“Ok class, this seems to be more difficult then what I expected.”
Ms. McCloud started, with an appearance of irritation sprawled on her face.
“Brown represents what is natural. It represents what is good and pure, what is alive.”
She was using her hands to try and explain her thoughts, as if she couldn’t exactly get out what she was trying to say. Could there really be so much thought and reflection behind colors? She was making me awfully jealous. Half the people in here didn’t know how good they had it.
“And what about red? Huh? Red is the color that can represent the autumn leaves or a hot summer day. It can be the color you wear the day after you’re rejected by a friend, or the day after you fall in love.”
She smiled, but it didn’t touch her eyes. I was starting to get more intrigued by her ideas. I wanted to know more, but to my luck the bell rang.
The rest of the day passed in a blur. When the final bell rang I stopped off at my locker, waved goodbye to Jess, and started my daily walk home, bundled in a thick heavy scarf. Mental note: scarf has a criss-cross weaving pattern and itches in the slightest when put against my skin.
I continued to think more elaborately about colors, so fascinated by them that I decided to stop off at the library.
When I finally made my way through, I checked out a book in the artsy department, strictly on colors and their meanings.
When I got home, my mom commented on my “rosy” cheeks stemming off of the color “pink”. I decided that was going to be the first color I looked up.
The next morning I was proudly half way completed with my book, and felt that much more confident in going to art class. We were still discussing the color wheel, chapter three in my book.
“Ok class lets talk about complementary colors. What are the three primary
She waited for a hand to answer. That was when I decided to raise my own. It took me a good twenty seconds, my heart beating erratically at the thought of not raising it in time. But when I did, when I finally did, all she did was look at me, puzzlingly, for just a moment then decided to call on someone else who instead, might I add, was not raising his hand. I bit my lip excruciatingly hard, more than I thought was capable, and tried to prevent the tears welling in my eyes from spill over. I was debating whether or not to get up and leave…
As the day came to a close and Jess tried to comfort me in the most pathetic of ways, it began to snow. I realized that walking home was not going to be any more pleasant than today’s art class. The tears were still in place from then, but I took comfort in the fact that they would be able to release once I started walking home.
The snow lightened as I saw my fellow classmates trying to create snowballs from what was left over. I knew the tears couldn’t come yet, as there were still too many people around. But that was also the same time when I realized there were kids from school in every corner of my walk home. Wonderful. I needed to find a place for myself, and it just couldn’t be home.
I ventured farther out today, past the local shops and Goths in the corner. I took a left instead of a right on Carlisle Dr. That was when I saw it. My spot. It was so perfect. And for once, the default in my eyesight helped enhance how beautiful the scenery was. Eager now, my slow trudging walk transformed into a brisk sort of power walk. When I finally reached it, a scene of peace overwhelmed me. It was a tiny wood. The trees were bare, but the branches were twisted and ragged which correlated exactly to how I was feeling. The dirt beneath it was rugged with a combination of rocks and grass as well. I imagined it would be the color brown, the same for the tree trunks. I didn’t realize till a few moments later that the tears had spilled. I found a root above the ground and made myself comfortable. This was nice. It was…mine.
My little place was my own secret. Everything about it was beautiful. Everything looked the same, but in detail each aspect of it was unique. I went there every day. My escape. I tried to fathom the colors in my head, but instead, I just thought about the meanings of the colors and how well they fit into the scenario. It was absolutely breathtaking.
After the weekend passed, my alternating book exchanges and rentals were becoming quite frequent. When art class came around the next day I was determined to be called upon.
“Now that we have fully dissected the color wheel, we are going to start our first project of the quarter,” she glanced at me wearily, “you must design a picture revolving around three colors of your choice.”
I was excited. This was going to be my way of proving my capabilities! That was until I remembered that I only knew the meanings, not what they actually looked like. I frowned. Ms. McCloud approached me with drained eyes, something must have happened.
“Ok Scarlet just pick three colors at random and try to do your best.”
This was my chance to impress, so I gave it a shot.
“Well Ms. McCloud, I would like my colors to derive from the tertiary color wheel, third ring specifically.”
She almost looked confused; I held back a smile.
“First if you could hand me the necessary paint to create the color olive, because my original intention is to paint the scene of a forest, and everybody knows that olive helps depict a scene that is muddy, gloomy almost, and as you said with the color white last week, pure.” Her jaw dropped.
“Secondly, I will need the color midnight blue, and lastly the colors red and green to create brown. Thanks.”
She sauntered away, giving off the slightest sense of guilt. Success was sweet.
It was February 1st, three weeks since I’d found my second “home”. The woods were extremely helpful. Once I crossed the barrier, I rested my hand on the tree trunk of my favorite tree in particular. Its branches were a mix of distortion and exquisiteness, something I admired frequently. I wondered why people don’t praise the trees more often. Why has no one around here discovered this place, do they just pass it up? How strange. If only they knew…
That was when I had an idea. The branches were thick and started low enough, with a jump I could easily hoist myself up and get the momentum to reach the second branch. All right, I’m going to climb this tree I thought.
It took some effort and a great deal of stretching, extending, and falling. My mother will probably ask about those scratch marks if she sees them. Hmm, something I needed to think about covering later.
The top was astounding. I was in absolute awe. I adjusted myself so I was facing away from the town and to the rest of the little forest. Everything was silent except for the wind trying to find something to rustle against but coming up short; the trees were still leafless. I began to daydream about all sorts of things. My mind wandered through different past experiences and my own conjured up fairytales. I was perched on a somewhat lower branch, my back leaning against the trunk, legs swinging in the air. My eyes were closed and,
“OH MY GOD!”
I screamed when I grasped my body was no longer being supported by anything except air. My arms were flailing trying to slow the increasing speed of my clumsy fall. On my way down I hit a few branches snapping some of their gorgeous edges. My back finally connected with the floor and I shielded myself from the twigs trampling down from my accident. I laid there for what seemed like years, my breath making swirls of fog in the air, chest increasingly aching at the realization of the hit I just took. My eyes were closed.
Oh no, oh no, oh no! NO! NO PLEASE NO! My eyes flew open as it dawned on me. I scrambled to my feet, ignoring the pain, franticly.
“OH NO! PLEASE! I’M SO SORRY!”
my frenzied thoughts managed to form into furious yelling from the mouth. I stared at the tree. My tree. My sweet, kind tree. Now, ripped of its branches, half of them scattered on the floor, its irreplaceable shape murdered by my very own body. Apparently I was higher up than I thought. My tree was the only thing I had! The only beauty I found, even in a world so dull.
I was so sure anyone in the world could here me then. I screamed for so long that day, I was surprised no one called the cops.
Who knew what time it was? I surely didn’t. I think that was when I started loosing it. My guilt turned into foolish anger.
I began to kick the tree, really hurting myself only in the process.
“Why did this happen, oh you stupid tree!”
I was standing at this point and laid my forehead against the solid wood.
That was when it hit me.
“AOWWW What the heck was that!”
Something hit me hard, really hard, on my head. I looked straight up. What could possibly be falling from this tree? Bare and branchless. I turned around. It was glowing.
I said again. I bent down to pick it up in the most fragile of ways. It fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. It was fierce and luscious. It had never looked so good before this. I marveled at the color.
“ I can see it.”
My mouth began to ache from the smile that had never been so pure.
“Where did you come from?”
I whispered so softly, afraid to even blink as though it might go away.
“I can’t believe how much I’ve been missing out on…”
That’s when I noticed I hadn’t taken my eyes off the apple yet. What happens if I look over at the trees and see the color brown or if they sky will finally be blue? What if this means if I can see color now! Can it be?! Can a bad fall make things so simple?! I closed my eyes and pictured the delicious color, kept it locked into memory. I turned my head towards my tree. Again with the tears. I could have made an ocean today. She was dark, nothing that I wasn’t used to seeing already. I began to hyperventilate refusing to look at my apple. I closed my eyes.
“Please dear lord please”, my mumbling prayer continued,
“Please don’t take it away, please. I’m sorry I used your name in vain before and I’m sorry I hurt the tree, I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done. Please”
I recognized that I collapsed onto my knees.
“Please, please, PLEASE” I begged between sobs, “I HATE THIS! WHY ARE YOU TAKING IT AWAY FROM ME!! I WILL DO ANYTHING! ANYTHING I PROMISE!”
I began to claw at the floor with my eyes still squeezed shut, not daring to be overwhelmed with disappointment if my apple was no longer bright and exuberant. I felt a large enough whole in the ground, then jammed the apple in deep, and buried it till I could no longer feel its once meaningless, but now stunning shape.
The next day it rained, as if happening just to enhance my feelings. I didn’t pay attention at all in any classes, not even art. I just wanted to go into a coma, never have to look at these dull colors anymore. They shouldn’t even count as colors, in fact, if I remember correctly, in chapter four of my 8th book, they don’t. Good.
I walked home in the rain no longer caring. But, I couldn’t stop myself from venturing off to the woods. I just walked, not fully there, when I tripped. I was annoyed yes, and began repacking everything that flew out of my backpack. When I was about to drop in the last paper, my hand brought with it something a bit heavier instead. A glistening red apple. When I turned around the sky was just as grey as ever. It didn’t matter in the slightest.