I’ve heard the stories about your world from time to time. They say that in yours, humans can see in color from the moment of birth… well, most of you anyway. I cannot imagine what that must be like, but I imagine it makes things more complicated as you get older. In my world, everyone starts out only seeing black and white with some shades of gray. You only get your colors after you find the person you’re supposed to be with. Like a soulmate, I guess. Some people say they do not get their colors right away, but for most of us the effect is immediate. In some ways, I envy the ones who have to work at it, but I imagine it opens up the possibility for stupid mind games where you’re from.
Yuck. How do you people stand it? What’s stopping someone from using the people they meet as a source of free entertainment and food or leading someone on for the fun of it? Not for us, thanks. Like most people around here, I did not have to worry about that. I got my colors some time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at a party for one of my mother’s friends; you know the type. I did not know anyone there, and I was bored out of my skull until I saw a burst of light behind my eyes. When I could see again, I dropped my jaw on the floor for a moment before I picked it up and jammed it back into place. I saw colors I had never seen before and knew only by reputation. The sky was blue, grass was green, trees were brown, that sort of thing. I was so surprised it took a few minutes before I came to my senses and started looking around.
Across the field some distance away was a woman about my age who was giving me the most amazing grin I’d ever seen. Judging from the expression, I figured she must have seen her colors too, and had not been expecting it any more than I was. I broke into a gigantic smile of my own and made my way over to her.
“Hi. I’m Matt.”
“Hi yourself. I’m Lyric.”
I must have looked confused because she rolled her eyes. “My mother is a music fanatic. My sisters are Treble, and Rhythm.”
“Here comes Treble?” I asked. Lyric rolled her eyes again, and swatted my arm.
“Well, at least she’s consistent. Look at everything. Isn’t this amazing?” The colors were overwhelming to me, but Lyric was more subdued and muttered that it was a good thing they taught us colors by association. No one around here knows what green is at first, after all. I took her hand, and we wandered away from the others. At first, we surprised people, but most of them backed off as they realized what was happening. In our world, you never interfere with someone who has just got their colors, so someone led away those who did not understand, but we did not notice any of them. It turns out tree leaves are a different color than grass, and flowers have amazing variations. Some of them are vivid!
I should tell you about the rest of it, I guess. Colors are not the only thing we get when we find our soulmate, it’s more of a bundle of things. Colors are the most noticeable, but we also get a better sense of taste, smell, and touch. You lot don’t have to experience that, do you? You get the sense of touch and all these great things right from the get-go. Taste too, you get straight away. In some ways I envy you, but in other ways you are missing out. The sheer excitement these sensations bring is indescribable. I know one of you said they consider themselves an expert on eating because they took it up when they were little. We do too, obviously, but we don’t eat anything other than nutrition cubes for the most part. Why bother when everything tastes and feels the same? I think you would hate it, especially in places where cooking is almost a religion. I mean, we have our food artisans too, but to a one, they’re all married if you catch my drift.
As amazing as the colors were, I was less thrilled with some aspects of this new sense of touch. I grabbed a rose, which was more vivid than the rest, intending to hand it to her. Instead, I cut the hell out of myself, and I remember screaming something like, “Ow! Son of a—”
“What’s wrong?” Lyric gasped as her face clouded over.
She picked up the rose by the end of the stem and held it close to her face. Sure enough, they covered the thing in nature’s idea of a cruel joke. She grabbed one of the thorns between her two fingers and snapped it off, then did the same with the rest of them and smiled at me. “So it would seem. I’m keeping it anyway, it’s mine.”
I nodded, and we continued to explore. Leaves are strange because they have a unique feeling depending on what kind they are. Have you ever held an orange? Or stepped on something unfortunate? You know what I mean about touch. It can be dangerous, but it is almost as much fun as color. I guess sometimes it’s even better, but I’ll leave that to your imagination. We looked around for about an hour or so, getting to know each other, and the world in a whole new way before we finally headed back to the others, hand-in-hand. No one commented, though there were a few smiles that were not there before.
That’s when we discovered food. Several of my mother’s friends had their colors, and one or two of them were food artisans. Chicken and potatoes are amazing, and fruit juice is good. I even tried ice in my drink for the temperature change. Don’t get me started with ice. I figured out I dislike things that are cold. Ice hurts to have in my hand for a while, and it felt like it almost burned my tongue when I tried it the first time. Before, when I ate it, it did not seem to have much of a temperature or anything. Our sense of touch just does not develop until we get our colors — beyond the most basic to keep us alive. It felt good on my messed up fingers though, so I decided that was okay.
Once we were so full we could not eat anymore, we wandered off to experience the sunset. I never realized how amazing a sunset could be. Orange, blue, purple, and red and yellow. Lyric seemed to enjoy it even more than I did. She got annoyed at one point when the wind blew her hair into her eyes. After she fixed it, she forgot all about the sunset and played with her hair for a while. It turns out hair is soft and liked hers. It was a brilliant red and smelled good. I guess the stuff we wash it with smells nice, even though most of us can’t notice it. That makes sense in a way. If not, everyone who had their colors would riot.
After that day, we were inseparable. No one here expected anything else, but I guess things are different for you, aren’t they? It was not long before we were married, and since I had a decent job, we had a nice red brick house of our own, with a garden full of flowers of all kinds, with almost every color of the rainbow. She tended it every day, and we loved it. We talked about having children, but neither of us was seriously considering the idea. Knowing Lyric, she would have a musical name picked out ready to go. That was just her personality, so I guess the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. Apples were something else she enjoyed. Vivid red they are, and an amazing taste. But I digress.
As far as I understand about your world and the people who live there, you can see color for good pretty much, unless something happens. You get taught what color things are the same way we do if I understand right. Apples are red. School buses are yellow. An orange is… orange. But that doesn’t really matter. My point is that you never really stop seeing color. The same goes for taste and smell and touch right?
Lucky you. That’s not the case here. As I said before, we were inseparable right up until… I remember this too, no matter how much I wish I could forget. I had been working late and was on my way home. She was driving home herself, though she was at the supermarket. I remember she was telling me about her plans for dinner as we drove. I often cooked, but she was better at it, so she was going to make beef stroganoff, with its amazing yellow noodles and brown meat, along with a green salad with red tomatoes. I was looking forward to both the colors and the taste. I could eat beef stroganoff until I exploded, and she knew it was my favorite. We talked about some other random nothings, but the dinner was what she was excited for. She always loved the way things changed color. Meat changes color when you cook it, though not so much with the noodles.
People here never tire of seeing their colors, or seeing how they can change. We were about to hang up when it happened. I heard her scream, and I heard a sicking crunch. I was so scared I had to pull off the road as I screamed her name. I felt a searing pain, and tasted blood. I must have bit my tongue, but I did not care. I spat out the blood and screamed her name again. I dimly noticed as I continued to call out to her that my blood was red, but not a good red, like the tomatoes she was going to make.
I kept calling, but she did not respond. I was hoping against hope, but something happened I will never forget. As I was yelling and pleading with her to answer, the world went black and white. I lost my colors. I remember sitting back, stunned and devastated. You see what I mean about colors. You guys never stop seeing them. I wish we were so lucky. I will never forget the day I lost my colors. I knew right away that calling for her would do no good, but I could not help myself. I do not know how long I sat on the side of the road before I called emergency services, but no matter how fast I called them, it was too late. My colors were gone, and so was she.
It never ends well for us when that happens, though some hold out longer than others. I try to remember what colors look like, but I’m losing the memories. Sometimes I see them in my dreams, but more often than not, they’re gone. Even today, as I walk down the halls of the hospital they put me in, I cannot help but wonder what color the tiles are. The horrible thing is, I see the colors from time to time, almost. I get a brief flash but then it’s gone. I saw a nurse once here who looked very similar to Lyric. I think it was the style of her hair. For a half-second, the gray of the world was gone… but then as soon as I was done blinking in shock, the gray was back. My colors, and my love… both are gone.
It tears me up inside to think about her, and I think it’s driving me insane. They have me on antidepressants, but I do not care. They keep me numb enough to crawl out of bed, I guess, but not numb enough to make me forget. I cannot help but remember the day the color died. It was not just my colors, and it was not just Lyric. This story… these fading memories… they’re all I have left.
You are lucky, over in your world. You get to keep your colors, no matter what happens to your loved ones. I do envy you for that. As for me… I may have told you my story, but this body has no soul. Consumed by thoughts of Lyric, and of my colors… don’t cry for me. I’m already dead.
Please let me know what you think!