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When I was young, I asked Mom how I’d know when I found the one. She said, “You’ll see color.” Everyone was born this way - without seeing color. Mom, Dad, their parents, their parents before them, and so on. Nobody sees color until he or she sees his or her soulmate. No one knows how or why; we just know that it has always been this way. It is a great thing, really, but it can be a bad thing too. Some people never see their soulmate; some people are left seeing color without meeting their soulmate. The saddest part of all though, is if your soulmate dies, you go back to living in black and white.
My friend Nadine has already met her soulmate. We were at a house party. When she first saw it - color, I mean - she ran out of the house and made me drive her back to my house. I asked her what was wrong, but she wouldn’t answer me. Mom was frantic, worrying something bad had happened. Nattie had finally sat down and said, “I can see.” Mom started crying tears of joy while I went to my room, slammed the door, and locked it. It was a hard thing to deal with, especially being fifteen at the time.
It’s been two years since then and I still haven’t seen color. Nattie has helped me through it though. She takes me out to parties and festivals and makes sure I get out as much as I possibly can as to not miss an opportunity. It hasn’t worked.
“Come on Channy!” Nattie knew that I hated her nickname for me. “Call me that again and I’m definitely not going.” I was not going this year, no matter how much Nattie pleaded this time. “Fine, Chanel. But please! You have to go to Color Fest this year. I mean, it’s called Color Fest for a reason.” Nattie said it as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Color Fest is a scam and you know it. How many people have actually met their soulmate at that festival?” Nattie stayed quiet, then mumbled, “A lot. You probably think this thing is a scam because you haven’t met your soulmate yet. It’s another opportunity for you. You need to take it.” Color Fest is a festival that is held around the world for one straight week. It is considered so important that all schools shut down and nobody has work. The only reason it is held is for people to find their soulmates.
Nattie got up from my bed, went to my closet, and started to go through my clothes as if I had decided to go, and we were picking an outfit. “Nattie, for the last time, I’m not going to Color Fest this year. It’s pointless. We’ve been going for two years now. If it hasn’t happened yet then it probably won’t happen at all. Just give it up.”
Nadine walked out of my closet and gave me the most serious look I think she ever has in her life. “Chanel Amanda White. Did you just tell me that finding love was pointless?” “No-.” She cut me off. “Yes, you did, and just for that, you’re going, no matter what.” I sighed in defeat. There was no point in fighting back now. “And you know what they say, ‘Third time’s a charm’”. Then, her phone buzzed. She looked at it and rolled her eyes. “It’s Jason. Dad’s drunk again and he needs help.” I looked at her with sympathetic eyes. “It’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow for Color Fest! Love you,” Nattie exclaimed. “Love you too.” By the time I had finished speaking, she had already gotten her bag and was walking down stairs to the front door. She slammed the door so hard, the windows shook.
Poor Nattie. Everything was fine up until two years ago. One night her mother was driving, and she was hit by a drunk driver. Her car rolled into a ravine off the side of the road. The car was never found. After that, Nattie’s dad turned to alcohol to cope with the loss - not just the loss of her mother, but with the loss of color too.
Instead of waking up to my alarm like usual, I woke up to Nattie rummaging through my closet. I sat up and checked my phone. 11:44 am. “Morning Sunshine!” I was way too tired for this. “Get up! Let’s go! It’s time. Today’s the day...the day you’ll meet your true love.” She stared off dreamily. I groaned, laid back down, and closed my eyes. “Nope,” is all I hear before the warm covers are ripped off of my legs. I open my eyes and yell, “Fine!” “Thank you. Now get in the shower, and when you get out, we’ll pick your outfit.” I roll my eyes. Great. This is going to be so much fun.
When I walk into my room, over half of my closet was splayed out on my bed. There were a multitude of things: skirts; blouses; dresses; and shorts. Nattie even laid out accessories. Nattie walked out of my closet with handfuls of shoes. “Are you ready?”
About an hour and a half later, I settled on what Nattie described to me as a camel colored denim skirt - whatever that means - with a white, tucked in blouse; what Nattie says are a pair of brown gladiator sandals; a long, thin, necklace that Nattie claims is gold; and a pair round of sunglasses. “Now for makeup!”
To say Nattie was good at makeup was an understatement. By the time she finished, I was decked out in every rhinestone and type of glitter imaginable. “You look like a goddess,” she said while we both admired her work. The thing was, I did look like a goddess. And I loved it. “Ok, are you ready to head out?” Nattie’s eyes were sparkling, and she was beyond excited to get to Color Fest. Me? Not so much. “Let’s go, Chanel. Before we’re late!” With that, she dragged me out of the house, to her car, and we were off.
Monday Afternoon - Late Monday Night...
One could always hear Color Fest before he or she saw it. A thumping bass, thundering drums, and electric guitars. Balloons were strung up on tall poles all over the festival grounds, and there were stands with any and every kind of food and drink. Most importantly though, at Color Fest, you could be whoever you want to be. And that’s exactly what Nattie and I became.
From the afternoon until late at night, we sang, danced, ate, and mingled. We were high off of life, and I could not lie- I loved it. But there was one thing missing: color.
We had been at Color Fest for ten hours, and I still had not seen color. “Anything?” Nattie was hoping by some miracle I would see color after every minute she asked. “No, Nadine. Not yet.” I was tired, I was bored, and I was losing hope. I looked at the time. 11:44 pm. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them, I saw a pair of white and black checkered slip on shoes. But they were dirty and had streaks on them. These streaks though, they were not the black or white I was familiar with. They were...a color. “Nattie.” No response. “Nadine.” Still, no answer. I look up toward her, and I gasp. I see it now - color. Everything I see is a new shade. Nattie’s hair - it makes me feel angry and hot. It feels like I blushed and my whole face is heating up. This must be red. I look down to her shirt. It’s white, like mine. Then her shorts. They’re a sad color. I feel like I just stopped crying when I look at them. Nattie said blue was a sad color, so it must be blue. My eyes drift to her shoes. They are tall and black with shiny spikes. Next, I look at the ground. I see only two colors. One of them is not as vibrant as the others. It is the color of the dirty streaks on the shoes in front of me. I realize that this is the color of dirt and sand. The color, though, makes be feel dull and bored, but it is all around me. I remember Nattie saying dirt was brown. The other color - what I have been told is grass - makes me feel relaxed and renewed. Mom always told me when I was little that grass is green. I look back to the stranger’s shoes. So the streaks are dirt. His shoes are dirty because they are covered in dirt! I start to smile. This person - a man, I realize - has on a pair of long cutoff shorts that were black. I look to his shirt. It is the same hot color as Nattie’s hair, except brighter. His shirt is bright red. Finally, I see his face. He’s gorgeous. His hair is the color of the dirt, except slightly darker. Every part of his face is symmetrical; his jaw, his nose, his eyes. His eyes! They are the color of sadness - blue - but they are much darker than Nattie’s shorts. I notice that he is smiling. He has a beautiful smile. Perfect teeth and all. Then, he spoke. “Hi. I’m Cash. I saw you, and everything changed - literally.” We shared a laugh, and it sounded perfect.