It all began with black. The darkest black.
…Darkness. That’s all I remember.
When I saw the world around me… It was shades upon shades of black, white, and grey. It seemed almost timeless, frozen, as if I was living in this singular existing moment in time… forever.
Until it didn’t. Time started moving. Motion. Movement. I had seen every single part of the universe around me move… all in black and white.
I had been born unto the world. The doctors felt… pity. For me? Why is that? I do not know.
They mentioned one word that still remains in my mind: “color”.
What was this… color? I did not… I wish I hadn’t known.
All my life, I’ve seen the world in varying shades of black, white, and grey.
My doctor said it would be permanent.
My mother was devastated.
My dad burst into tears.
I… didn’t understand what they were saying… None of it meant, well, anything to me.
People always made fun of me. In primary school, we had to match colors, and identify them. Imagine the look on the teacher’s face when I said I couldn’t do any of them. I was a constant disappointment, an embarrassment. Not to my parents, rather, to myself.
Then all that changed.
I was 28 years old at the time. I had begun my usual routine of the day. I wanted to leave for work, but something stopped me along the way.
I began seeing those… colors. First it was red. Then blue. Green followed. Yellow settled in. Soon, a whole spectrum of colorful beauty appeared before my eyes. The black, white, and grey almost disappeared. Slowly, the colors started to fade away, and began to focus purely on one girl…
I wanted more color.
I hurriedly ran after the girl, stumbling across little pebbles that felt like life’s deliberately put them in front of me. As my exhausted breath consumed me and my tired legs refused to move further, the girl stopped.
“Yes?” she asked, almost staggered by what I had done.
The whole street flowed with color again. Streaks of vermilion pained the twilight sky. A maroon color stained the buildings. A bouquet of lavenders, jasmines, and roses adorned her head, as if it were a crown.
“I… listen… I don’t know you, but I would really like to discuss something important with you. I think… my life depends on it.” I stammered, taking large deep breaths in between every couple of words.
Any normal person would just run away, or call the cops, but she… she stayed. We agreed to meet at a café downtown after work. I had explained everything to her. My life, my whole situation. I told her that today was the first day I had seen everything in color. That when she walked past me, all the colors floated around her.
Surely this would be crazy talk, right? Surprisingly, she believed me. To make things even weirder, she revealed that her world had too much color. She had never seen black, white or grey. In fact, her seeing me today made her papers turn black and white instead of the usual red and green.
“So… in a way, we complement each other?” I mused.
“I guess we do,” she said.
We formally introduced our names as we had forgotten to do that earlier.
“I’m Jack,” I said to her.
“And I’m Ashley,” she replied.
Ashley had this certain aura about her. Staring into her ocean blue eyes, auburn hair flowing like the smoothest silk, her dimples, her smile, her perfectly shaped lips, her everything. She was perfection. A perfect example of the perfect human being.
As it stood, we needed each other to live properly. I needed her color, and she needed my lack of color. We had quickly formed a bond, and that soon turned into a relationship. It truly seemed like we were inseparable.
I went on my first carnival date a month after meeting Ashley. So much color, so much beauty… It truly felt like an entrancing mirage, complemented by dance and song. The world was our ballroom, and I was more than ready to dance to its music.
We went on a Ferris wheel and at that moment, atop the apex, we looked out and saw the world complete for the first time. Both of us.
I took her to a haunted house. A place of pure black and white. Funny to think that this was my life for the past 28 years. Ashley seemed to enjoy the darkness more than she ever was frightened by it. She felt it completed her, as she completed me.
We had went to so many places together over the course of a year. We got to know each other, we knew our hopes, dreams, secrets, and fears. It felt like we were two sides of the same coin.
Yin and Yang. Color and the lack of color. I wanted to be by her side forever. Every day felt like a dream, like I was waiting to be woken up and taken to my old monochrome life.
Ashley took me to a hill in a place far away from the city. The lack of light meant we could see stars, nebulae, and galaxies. I would be intensely watching the beautiful colors of the Milky Way galaxy. She would be staring into the vast darkness of space, looking at how empty it was.
I proposed to her at this time.
She said yes. Taken aback by tears and emotion, we set off to have the wedding soon. We planned our honeymoon as well. Once we got married, we traveled to Greenland to watch the aurora borealis. It was a magical night. Such a mixture of colors… blue, red, green in the sky. She had seen and touched white snow for the first time.
Oh, how much I miss these days…
We had lived our whole life together. Then, one day…
I woke up, but… everything was monochrome. Black, white, and grey all over again. I looked to the other side to see my wife. The last splotch of color was fading from her. I tried to cling on to it as if my life depended on it, like a child holding on to his mom, but as the last part of her passed away, so did all the color in my life.
I wanted color back… I wanted to see the world… to see Ashley again.
The doctors told me she died of old age. I did not want to accept this fate. I didn’t have to. Not like this. Not while I’m still breathing.
I rushed home. I knew what I had to do.
We vowed to be inseparable in life and in death.
A world without Ashley was not a world, it was more of a hellish landscape. I could not live without her. I couldn’t make her live in the afterlife without me.
I grabbed the handgun in my drawer. It was loaded with a single bullet. I cocked it to my temple, and then…
Darkness. Just how it all began.