My mother says when I was born the heavyset nurse who had been there fainted. She would tell the story and laugh and I would laugh too. I was too young to understand then.
My name is Indigo. I suppose it could be considered ironic because my hair is definitely not that most desirable shade. I have blonde hair, the color of the rising sun. No one else has even close to the same colored hair I do. There are teals, cyans, aquamarines, periwinkles, but no other blondes. I stick out like a sore thumb.
My mother had to gently push me out the door. I reluctantly began slinking towards the red brick monstrosity called “School”. I desperately wished that the dress code allowed hats, it would have made my life so much more bearable. I kept my head down in all my classes, hoping to avoid notice. Not that it had ever worked before, but a girl could dream. Finally, the lunch bell rang. I knew what was coming and braced myself for it. At least Karina’s insults were as intelligent as she was. Still, they stung, I couldn’t control the color of my hair.
“Carry my lunch,” Karina demanded, her long, truly indigo hair swishing through the air.
I gritted my teeth. “No.”
“What, too pathetic to even do something so simple?” she sneered. She pushed by me to enter the crowded and stinky whitewashed cafeteria.
I tried to walk home a new way today. They still found me. I was creeping through an unused alley between two brick buildings. They came up from both sides, surrounding me. There was probably eight people in their little gang. I pressed myself against the wall. I could feel my breathing hitch as I prepared myself for the pain. The first stinging words spewed from their lips, mocking my hair. Then, after they had worked themselves up to it, the first blow fell.
Two hours later I dragged myself home. I had stopped at the library to pick up some books. My mother smiled at me as I trudged to my room. She was probably glad that I was not stupid as well as blonde. In my room I pulled my jacket off and surveyed the damage. I was covered in dark bruises, worse than any other time they’d beaten me. I had a few cuts from someone’s ring. I dug out my box of band-aides and applied them. Then I dutifully completed my homework.
“Indigo, it’s dinnertime. I made pot pies, your favorite,” my mother called hours later.
“I’m on my way down.”
Dinner was peaceful. Then Mom got ready to leave. My father came home right before Mom left for her nightshift at the hospital. He kissed Mom roughly as she got into the hover car. I could tell he was drunk. I waved to Mom as she left and then tried to escape to my room. But Father caught my arm before I cleared the kitchen. I could smell intoxication on his breath. I gagged and vainly tried to wrestle my arm free. Father was more drunk than I had ever seen him before.
“Why can you not just be normal? Why do you have to be so messed up?” he asked.
When I woke up the whole house was dark and I was still huddled on the kitchen floor. I tried to stretch but stopped immediately as fire shot through my body. I began to catalogue my injuries. Possibly broken ribs, broken leg, broken arm, dislocated shoulder, more bruises than I could count, and several cuts. The caustic words had inflicted wounds on my soul that would take much longer to heal. If I could just make it to my bedroom I could recover. A light flipped on, burning my retina. I squeezed my eyes shut and moaned softly. I heard footsteps approaching me. I tried to curl into a tighter ball.
“Oh, Indigo,” my mother whispered.
I cracked my eyes open. “Hello, Mother.” My voice sounded like something had died. I swallowed and tasted blood.
“I’m going to get you out of here, I promise,” she whispered.
I allowed my eyes to drift shut, hoping that she truly meant it.