Shades of White

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I never knew I could hate the color white. An immense hatred that seeps through my bones, travels and slivers up my spine, then frizzles my brain. Even worse, all colors originate from white, thus exposing my eyes to any color only reminds me of that one. The few things that still remain in my possession are also white. My small plush rabbit that was given to me as a child - all white except for two black beady eyes. The Nike tennis shoes my father insisted on buying me once I had made the basketball team - with a large white check on the sides. Even the tight fitting jacket they gave me as my welcoming present when I arrived - white and more white.

They are calling me from my sleep and I must respond. They all believe in their minds that I am not as intelligent as they are, so I must prove them wrong. I will keep my shoes tied and wait my turn in line just like a good boy. I will say "yes, ma'am" and "no, sir", "please" and "thank you". Once upon a time, I was just like them - with my hair combed back and my shirt collar turned down. In the end, we are all just alike in that way despite our unimportant differences.

I don't know what to tell her anymore. Everyday she asks the same questions, and everyday I give her the same answers. Maybe I'll ask her to go to the movies with me, or take her out to her favorite restaurant. I'll watch as she runs her smooth hand along her neck, as she often does when she's nervous, and smirk as she sips her red wine. Our daily visits must be kept secret, else we'll be the talk of the building.

"How are you feeling?", she asks, her rosy lips moving together to form the words. She crosses her legs and adjusts her skirt, waiting for me to respond.
"Better now that you're here" I reply, following along with our daily routine. A smile stretches across my lips and I can see the disgust she feels for me in her eyes. You can't have love without a little bit of pain.
"When are you ever going to tell me anything? We've been doing this for months". She was getting irritated with me, and I absolutely loved it.

Now would be as good of a time as any to tell you that this love interest of mine was pale white. Furthermore, her skirt and blouse were also white. She matched every room, she matched all of the floors, and she matched whatever I was wearing. Yet, her bold red lipstick made her stand out from among the rest and that, in itself, is why I loved her.

The look in her eyes gave an order I was all too familiar with. I stood up, politely told her goodbye, and headed back towards my room. With the progress I had been making, it wouldn't be long before she would take me home to meet the folks.

My own folks, on the other hand, I hadn't seen for months. They told me this place would be good for me, yet I still don't understand why. The beds aren't quite as comforting as my king size throne at the house, and the food doesn't even compare to my mother's home cooked meals. However, I do have to admit that I miss my parents tremendously. I miss my mother's insecurities and her strive for perfection - two things she always hid from the rest of the world. There aren't many things I can miss about my father, unless you consider coffee mugs and business suits a form of memories.

Living here isn't so bad, though. I get three meals a day, conversations with a beautiful older woman, and the guy living two rooms down isn't so bad. He doesn't sleep much, so we always spend late nights hosting Uno competitions and gossiping about the newest residence.

Despite all of the above mentioned luxuries, I don't think that I belong in this place. In my opinion, and I have told the mistress this many times, this was just a place my parents knew they could dump me for awhile to get me out of their hair. If they wouldn't have come home early from the business party that snowy night, maybe none of this would have happened to begin with. I could still be at home playing video games, attending basketball practices I could care less about, and thinking up more ways to please the only two people I ever truly needed.

I sit in this room and think about how simple my life might have been if I had just been apathetic towards my parents. I had believed that if I could try a little harder, make better grades, and score more in the game it would somehow be enough. Eventually, I learned that it would never be enough and I ended up in this fuzzy white hell.

My new friend, hallway neighbor, and Uno competitor was waiting outside of my room door when I returned. We had made a deal from the very first day to help each other escape. We had planned to use our good behavior and charming ways to weasel our way out. It didn't take us long to realize that plan wouldn't work, and escaping wasn't even an option. They wanted to fix us here. Brainwash us, and make us just like them.

"Any luck today?" He asked curiously, as if one day would change everything again.
"She's just playing hard to get" I replied, trying not to completely disappoint him. Hell, he had been here longer than I had. No wonder the guy was crazy.

Eventually I would have to talk about that night. I would have to reveal all of my thoughts and all of my secrets, but then what? I would go back to living a life that was not my own, and I feared that things would always be this way.

"Ready for some Uno? I've been practicing!" He stated with excitement as he waved the cards in front of my face.
"Tempting, but not tonight. Maybe tomorrow" I told him, knowing full well I would give him the same response the very next night. Uno was fun and he was a cool guy, but getting out was more important at the moment.

Maybe if I could get out, I could live the life I had always really wanted. I could get my own apartment, finish school, quit that horrible basketball team, and find someone to love.

I fell asleep that night as the raindrops softly tapped against the window, letting me know that there was still a beautiful world out there - a world I had forgotten somewhere along the way. As my eyelids began to close, the sounds of my Uno partner banging his head against the wall sang me to sleep. For sleeping was always an escape from the white.

"Wake up. I need you to come into my office for a moment", were the first words I heard as I felt a tugging on my blanket. Surprisingly, the love of my life was leaning over the bed and beckoning for me to come. I thought these things only happened in dreams.

"Getting feisty now, aren't you? One moment, my queen" I replied, with my usual sarcastic smirk plastered across my face. Something must have happened, for she never woke me for anything before. I quickly changed into my usual attire. White from head to toe, and I couldn't have been more disgusted with myself.

Taking a seat in her office, I glanced around for anything or anyone that seemed peculiar. There was nothing unusual at first, and then I spotted it lying on her desk. A familiar looking crumpled up note.

"Your father found the note you had written that night. Do you want to start talking or should I?" She stammered, as she unscrambled the note and took a seat across from me. This was it - this was everything she had been waiting for.

"Have you ever really looked at the color white? It's blank - it's meaningless. Yet, it's filled with so many thoughts and ideas. For six months, it's the only thing I've seen. I've been surrounded by four white walls, and sometimes, I just like to stare at those walls and think" I explain, letting my colorful words penetrate through the empty silence.

"What kinds of things do you think about when you're staring at these walls?" She asks, no doubt jotting down notes in her journal. I have just stepped over the line of the friendship, and now I am just another patient.

"I think about everything. I think of love, and how it was never really a part of my household. Dad had his latest office temp, and Mom had my basketball coach. I think of life, and how I've never had one of my own. Mostly, I think of the night I finally made a change and quit the basketball team. I knew my dad would be furious, but I also knew my mother woul be thrilled that I had made a decision of my own. So, I sat on the livingroom sofa, knowing that any moment, they would walk through the doors with a smile on their faces - at least for that one night. However, they were anything but happy when they came home. Seems the office temp was ready to break the ice with my mom, and fire was more of my mom's thing anyway. Conflict broke out, and mom evened the score out by discussing her affair with my basketball coach. The final shot at the buzzer.
But honestly, I guess I just think about how wonderful the gun felt against my head. How easily it would have been to pull the trigger and ended it all. They wouldn't have to worry about me anymore, and they could get the divorce they had always wanted. I think him grabbing the gun was the first thing my father had done for me, and not for himself. Good lesson development, right?" I ended it. With tears in my eyes, I had finally said it all - out loud for the first time. I had never wanted to break her heart, so I gave her everything she needed.

After what seemed like hours, she finally spoke, and asked the last question I had ever expected next. "But, the color white isn't so bad is it?"

"No, ma'am. But the color red would have been much, much easier."





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