The Grey in Her Eyes
We met every day in the park.
It became a ritual. Even after childhood, when innocence made way for adulthood and careers we would always keep our schedule open for meeting up at the same time. This had been continued for so long that both of us had forgotten how it had began, but that didn't matter.
What mattered was that we were content with our breaks, because every day we knew who to share them with.
Today held little difference. I arrived at the small wall to find that she was the first to arrive that day. In her hands was a plastic container filled to the brim with chocolate strawberries. It was rare for her to only bring one thing for both of us to eat, and a dessert at that. The occurrence didn't strike me as too odd though.
A bright, polite smile was on her face as she held out her hands to offer me the first bite. I sat next to her. "What's the occasion, Allie?" I asked, as I took one. From the first bite it was juicy. I leaned forward to keep my work clothes clean.
She shrugged, watching an old lady throw some bead crumbs to the waiting ducks near the pond. "I thought it'd be a nice snack," Allie admitted. "You can't expect me to make you a whole banquet every day."
"You have so far," I said. There was no upset tone, instead remaining casual with a teasing reminder.
The woman rolled her eyes, leaning back a bit as she set the container between us to grab one for herself. "Fine, I just got lazy today," she said, giving a small laugh.
Silence followed, but it was clear that she wanted to say more. Patient, I waited a bit to see if she would push herself to blurt out the words stuck in her throat. Allie shyly looked at the ground, needing a bit of a boost. "What's up, hun?" I asked.
"It's just," she said, giving a moment to hesitate. "I'm a bit embarrassed to ask, since I feel like I should already know this. It's such a mundane question."
Tossing the calyx next to the container I grabbed another strawberry. "Ask away," I responded, sounding disinterested.
"I've known you all this time, and I still don't know your favorite color," she said.
A chuckle escaped. This was the question she was struggling to ask? "Guess," I said, trying to reflect on a color to favor for myself.
Heartbeats passed. She was putting a lot of thought into her answer. "Grey!" she finally blurted, her tone loud and so unexpected that it caused me to jump. It was as if she was racing an invisible competition to be the first to reach a concluding answer.
Excitement buzzed through the air. It took me a moment to realize that it was all hers, and it was becoming contagious. She seemed intent on having the right answer, leaning in with shining eyes as she waited for my response with bated breath.
If it had been anyone else, I would have laughed at this response. My words would be among the lines of "if white is all colors, and black is the absence of color, what does that make grey? The ugly child?" Yet I found that I couldn't form these words around her. Allie seemed almost desperate to be correct. In that moment, my heart fell for her all over again. She was adorable, leaning forward with glimmering green eyes. Her expression was serious, and she was close to me to watch my expression. She was lovely.
As my mind wrapped around how beautiful Allie was, it also began to embrace the color she had chosen. A color such as grey, being the mixture of black and white, began to seem pretty damn invincible. "How did you guess?" I said, my smile growing into a wide grin.
The rest of our break flew by faster than I would have liked. In mere moments, she was gone. I slowly raised to my feet, having watched her turn the corner to disappear. As my back turned to where she had been, the world felt changed around me.
I began to see grey.
It was in the wall, mixed in many variations with brown. The clouds held a light grey, signalling the beauty of a coming storm. Even the sidewalk seemed to hold the beauty of the color, dotted with gentle specks of white.
Never before had I realized how beautiful and abundant the color was.
My desk was grey. The office floor was as well.
On the way home, silvery cars kept shooting by and I found myself envying the drivers for owning such beautiful vehicles.
With each sighting of the color, I found myself thinking more and more about Allie. In return, I began to adore her.
It did not stop the next day either.
The frame on my bed. The newspaper at my doorstep. The neighbor's door. Grey skies, roads, even down to the shirt I had decided to wear that day. A cheap grey ring with diamonds shaped in a heart soon rested in my pocket.
My mind had decided that Allie and me had been meeting at our spot long enough. It had an obsession with her, as well as the color that had slipped out of her lips in a moment of excitement. Today, I would ask her to be mine.
As break time came, I rushed out the door ahead of my co-workers. My feet raced to the park, only stopping when I was positioned in front of our usual meeting spot. As expected, I had been the first to arrive so I sat down to wait.
Seconds turned to minutes. Before I knew it, my break time was technically over. Confusion was soon the only emotion left in me. She had never missed a day, even when sick.
I walked towards her work, deciding that mine could wait for a bit. It didn't take long for me to see a crowd gathered in the road ahead, with a dented grey car brushed to the side like a forgotten toy.
Turning, I returned down the path back to my own workplace. I didn't want to accept what had likely happened. Denial was a deep emotion for the rest of the day.
Yet deep inside, I knew. I didn't need to see to know.
My obsession with grey had vanished as quickly as it had come.
It took a lot of searching to find a date for a funeral. Yet I attended, draping myself in black clothing. Many people that I did not know gathered around, and they all avoided me in ignorance over who I was.
All except one, who graciously took a seat beside me. He was watching the sky, giving his foot an impatient tap. "What a dreary day for a funeral," he commented, catching my attention.
Without much thought, my eyes glanced up to see what he was talking about.
Grey. Grey skies littered across, seeming endless in all directions as a light wind blew to flicker through my hair.
"I think she would've liked it," I responded, reaching into my pocket to grip the ring of which I still carried.
Once again, the color of grey began to overtake all other colors in my eyes.
© 2017 Alexis Chantel