Eva‘s parents had told her the story of when they first met, about how the world instantly burst into vibrant colors, going from black and white to amazing shades of every color imaginable. That was how they had known that they were soul mates.
Yes, Eva had heard the story many, many times, but she never really imagined that it would happen to her. Then she met Mark, and her parents’ story seemed pale in comparison. Colors were a fairy tale until she met him. She was walking home from work when she saw him. The instant their eyes met, everything changed. She could see him, and she instantly memorized everything about him, from his sandy hair to his bright gray eyes to his tanned skin. She knew he saw her as well and that he was thinking the same thing she was: you are my soul mate.
He immediately crossed the street to talk to her. They were both excited beyond belief. He introduced himself as Mark Landon, and Eva thought that it was a wonderful name. He invited her out to dinner with him, and of course she agreed to go. They had a marvelous time, and talked until the restaurant closed. He walked her home with the promise of seeing her tomorrow.
As soon as he left, she called her mother and father and shared the tremendous news with them. They were so happy for her that her mother started crying, and she thought that her father would burst from pride.
Mark kept his word and came back the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, for weeks. Their love for each other grew as each learned of the other’s quirks, flaws, and unique talents. After four months, wedding bells began to ring. Mark and Eva looked at each other with love. Everything was in beautiful color.
Eva was 21 at the time, and Mark was half a year older. It was now eight years later, and they were living quite happily. Mark was a patent attorney, and Eva was a part time author. They had their own cozy house in the suburbs, and were quite content. In addition to this, they had a two year old daughter named Lilly, who was their pride and joy. Life was better than Eva had ever had it before, and she wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world.
* * *
It was a Tuesday, and Eva was out shopping. Mark was on his way home, and she was looking forward to tonight, when she and her husband would get to spend some time together. Eva was going to make lemon chicken, and they planned to rent the new movie that was so popular after Lilly went to bed. That meant that she would need to pick some supplies up from the store.
She walked down the aisles, grabbing the supplies for dinner as she went. Lilly sat in the front seat of the shopping cart, playing with Eva’s key ring and humming “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to herself. She had just learned the song a few days ago, and had been either singing or humming it almost non-stop. Eva didn’t mind, because whenever she started getting annoyed, Lilly looked up at her with her big hazel eyes, and Eva felt her heart melt once again with love for her daughter. Her family was wonderful, and she was sure that whatever happened they would be okay.
With no warning, as she reached for a jug of milk, Eva’s life shattered. Her ears filled with a ringing noise, which muffled all the other sounds of the world. Her breath came in quick gasps, and she could feel herself starting to hyperventilate. She felt like screaming. Instead, she grabbed Lilly and ran out of the store, heedless of the concerned looks she received from other customers.
Because everything was black and white.
The world, which, just moments ago had been full of color, was in muted tones of gray and black. The sky was no longer a deep blue, but a dark gray. The grass and trees were a dull smoke color. And Eva knew what that meant, what that had to mean. She got in the car, strapped Lilly in as quickly as she could, and drove, fast and reckless, heedless of the speed limit, to her house.
Halfway there, she pulled over onto the side of the road with a screech, because she saw Mark’s car, surrounded by police cars and an ambulance. She got out and ran over, calling Mark’s name. A police officer grabbed her arm, but she shrugged him off and sprinted to the car. When she got there, she slid down onto the ground, because after seeing the pity in the paramedic’s eyes and the sorrowful shake of a head he gave her, she couldn’t deny any longer.
Mark was gone, and her world would forever more be in shades of gray.
* * *
Lilly walked out of the movie theater, sipping her soda. She was nineteen, and it had been seventeen years since her dad had died in a car crash on his way home from work. She didn’t really remember him, or her mother, who had passed away half a year after him from grief. Lilly had been left in the care of her Aunt Maria, who was always kind and accommodating to Lilly and her endless questions about her parents.
Whenever Lilly had asked how her parents had met, Maria would take her and sit her down next to her and tell the story. She said that they had met at when Eva was walking home from work, and she saw Mark across the street.
The first time, Lilly asked her “How did she know that she should talk to him?” Maria replied with, “He was in color, dearheart.”
And so Lilly was told the story again and again, until she knew it by heart. Even then, it was her favorite bedtime story, and she never grew tired of hearing it. All the same, she often wondered what it was like to see in color, and if she would ever get to, or if her world would be black and white her whole life.
But Lilly wasn’t thinking about that while she left the theater. She honestly wasn’t thinking about very much at all, or paying attention to where she was walking. As she stepped out the door, she bumped into a young man who was leaving as well.
“Sorry,” she said, her head jerking up to apologize at whoever she had run into. As she met eyes with him, her breath caught in her throat. He was handsome, with short hair and strong features.
And he was in full color.