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The Shades of Life
“She’s perfect,” my mother said the day I was born.
“She is stunning,” my father replied.
What they didn’t know was that in less than a week they would be terrified for my life. After days of not crying, smiling, or showing any sort of facial expression, it was discovered that I could not feel emotions. The world would forever be a blank slate that I could make nothing of. My parents feared what would become of me. I could never love them, or anything else; however, I did have the concept of understanding. I could comprehend the flow of society and the emotions of others, but could never feel them myself.
My parents lived our lives as normal as possible. My peers didn’t really seem to take much notice on me, other than my little excitement over recess. Although people commented that I was “an odd one,” none of that ever affected my parents; but it affected me. I had no purpose, and my life was incomplete. My life was like getting stuck in a ditch; always trying to climb up, but always falling down. However, I made friends, joined sports, worked in school, yet I knew I was missing something. But this didn’t have an impact until I was about sixteen years old.
Around this time everyone was asking the same repetitive questions about their lives and the purpose it has. At this time in our lives, we had to choose what the world ahead of held and what was the point of our existence. I struggled to answer this and had no idea what my future had in store.
“It’s definitely to love,” my friend Cecilia decided.
“No, it’s to succeed!” Veronica countered.
“I think its just to have a good time and have fun,” Serena added.
This was one of the many conversations my friends and I had concerning life’s purpose. “What do you think life is about, Vita?” Cece asked.
I usually didn’t contribute much to these conversations, for I didn’t have feelings about my life’s purpose. “Um, just live it out?” I guessed. A disgruntled murmur was all I got in response.
My lack of feelings and passion made me stand out; I was aloof and isolated. I had studied human interaction my entire life, yet I had no idea what to make of life. I had no idea how to fix this until one call from the doctor did it for me.
“You mean there’s a way you can make her feel?” my mother whispered into the receiver. I was eavesdropping from my seat at the kitchen table. Murmuring answered my mother from the other side of the line. “We’ll be in first thing tomorrow…. Thank you.” Click. Their conversation was over. “We are going to the doctors’ tomorrow,” my mother addressed me. “They think they found a way for you to feel.” my mother breathed, still exhilarated by the idea. “They’ve developed a way for people to give the doctors a memory and the feelings linked to them, and they think they can transfer them to you! Are you willing to try?”
“It can’t get any worse, right?” I responded.
We went to the doctors’ office the next day and they explained the same thing my mother had the day before. “In fact, we have a few emotions to give you today!” a woman in her forties added, and I was soon attached to different tubes and wires.
I sat in my chair for a long while until suddenly I felt a searing pain in my arm. I looked to see scars across my forearm. I felt such an intensity of hatred for myself and the world and then I was back. Everyone in the room was looking at me expectantly when suddenly tears were spilling out of my eyes.
“Woohoo!!” the doctors cheered, but my parents looked on worriedly.
Another wave washed over my body, but this time filled with prickling anxiety. I was in a classroom and the walls were closing in on me, and I could hear my rapid breaths. There were voices murmuring around me, suffocating me. My skin was crawling with everybody in the room.
My eyes opened and I saw my mother’s panicked eyes before the doctors announced their success and escorted us out.
The world looked dark and dreary and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. My life was slowly falling into a black abyss. Everyone was concerned for me, but I didn’t have the will to care. I was crippling with anxiety anywhere I went and my conscience was feeding me dark horrific thoughts. My friends and I were still trying to figure out the meaning of life. While their views stayed pretty constant, mine kept changing.
“We were just put on this earth to die,” I had decided.
My friends disagreed with me greatly, but I couldn’t possibly see any other viewpoint. My life was slowly crumbling before my eyes and it was taking me with it. I was slowly starting to realize there was something worse than being in the gray area of feelings: being in the dark.
We got a call from the doctors again, and, to my mother’s relief, they had different emotions for me and were trying to amend their mistake. I reluctantly went back to the torture chamber and let them hook me up to the torment machine. I was crawling with nerves and apprehension. Millions of thoughts filled my head, none of them good.
I turned to see my mother and saw her face scrunched in anxious worry, but then all of a sudden it changed to hopeful when she saw the doctor over my shoulder. I tried to turn around, but I was already starting to see something different.
This time I was in the hospital room and there was commotion everywhere. I was feeling an intense pain until I suddenly heard a baby cry and then a wave of relief came, but so did something else. I felt hope; I felt calm; I felt blissful; I felt at ease; I felt intoxicated with a feeling I had never felt before; I felt happiness, joy, love, and blessed all in one overwhelming wave of emotion. A beautiful baby girl was put in my arms and I heard myself say “She’s perfect.”
“She is stunning,” a man’s voice said next to me, but my eyes were still stuck on the beautiful being in my arms. “We’ll name her Vita, for she is filled with life.”
Then my vision filled with the doctors’ office once again, and my eyes searched for her. My eyes finally found their target and my mother looked at me with such intensity. All I could do was smile and hug her, for her memory let me know what it’s like to be on the bright side of life, the joyful side. The brief snippet taught me more than my sixteen years of studying human society: we were all put here on this earth to feel and experience as many shades of life as we can, before time runs out.