1. He was born on the 10th of June, the year 2015. I watched his gray, lifeless body emerge from the depths of my sister, and I yearned for him to leave his grayness behind. I wanted him to feel pink, yellow in some places due to his borderline jaundice, dark brown like I hoped his eyes would be, purple, anything but gray.
2. I now know that my gray stayed with me. I feel it everywhere – my mother’s hazel eyes (I haven’t figured that one out yet), my dorm room rug, my computer screen at 4:25 in the morning, the edges of my fingernails, the tuffs of hair peeking out from my grandfather’s ears, the veins on my hands when I’m cold, and the underneaths of my eyelids when sleep is the only thing left I can try to escape the too dark to be white, too light to be black.
3. I was staring at the not light enough to be white walls of the hospital, wires and needles hooked up to both arms and my right foot, the beeping of my existence drowning out the silence, and my mother sleeping on the pull-out couch to my left (you guessed it; it was gray). I was only 13-years-old, missing the second day of my first year of high school ever. The redundancy of rising out of bed, struggling to cover my ass, and grasping the IV pole for balance just to get to the bathroom was beginning to blur into a cloud of misery and hopelessness. I would get better soon; they told me that. But the grayness wasn’t letting up, and the unspoken wishes of not really wanting to get better were suffocating me more than the smell of disinfectant and flowers.
4. Four years later, I’m searching for a dress that would go well with a dark blue robe. There’s one color that comes to mind, but my grandma scolds me for only wearing black and gray. Your clothes are supposed to be an outward expression of what you feel though, right? Unfortunately, that’s not really something I can easily explain to my grandmother – or anyone. I wore way too much blue at graduation.
5. I remember my mother asking me what colors I wanted to use for my dorm room. I responded with a confident, “black, red, and… gray.” She then proceeded to ask me why I didn’t want to do anything brighter, like yellow or a light purple. She will never understand my constant need to be surrounded by things that torture me mentally – I don’t think I’ll ever understand it either.
6. It was December. I remember the snow scraped onto the side of the road, how the dirt from the asphalt tainted the pure white with a dark, haunting gray. We did donuts in the middle of an intersection in a big green truck, sliding on the ice and holding on for dear life. I didn’t have my seatbelt on; I’m not sure if he ever knew about that. I stared at the piles of dirty snow as they became a solid color, a blur, and I remorsefully prayed to become one with the ice and frozen rain. I found a metaphor within the snow – how it used to be fresh and innocent but isn’t anymore.
7. Not too long after that, the distance between us was obvious. It was my fault. The gray infiltrated every aspect of my life, even the bright pinks and lilacs. He was bright pink and lilac, shimmery and metallic. I am dull. I am empty and filled with shadows. I can’t help but think that he was the snow and I was the asphalt. His fair skin turned gray beneath my touch, almost silver, just like her eyes did under his.
8. While scary, the gray can also be comforting – like my mother earlier today when I told her that I think about dying sometimes. It can be comforting like the light poles lining the sidewalk, the faded pages of the books on my shelf, the random pencil marks covering my notepad, the sky right before the moon comes up when it’s storming, the ashes as they fall from the end of a lit cigarette, his new hair color.
9. Colors aren’t something we can control or escape; I know that now. Gray is everywhere – it’s unavoidable. You can’t just blow out a huge puff of air and expect the rain clouds to vanish. I can’t brush the ashes off of the table with the palm of my hand and expect them not stick to my skin. I can’t close my eyes and expect sleep to cure me of my grayness. Not everyone is able to get rid of theirs – the oxygen doesn’t turn everyone a pretty pinkish purple like my nephew.
10. I’m frequently asked what my favorite color is – mostly by my friends, my light gray friends, or strangers on dating sites – and usually, I don’t have an answer. Maybe I’m too afraid to tell them that my favorite color isn’t light enough to be white or dark enough to be black. The looks on their faces when I say, “I’m not sure,” is as gray as it gets, and their blank expressions remind me of how odd it is to have a favorite color that you hate.