I Dream in Color

She was eighteen-years-old. She had hair that wasn’t long, but wasn’t short, and skin that stood out due to its pasty nature. She had a group of friends that were important to her, and she lived a life filled with smiles, laughter, and its fair share of problems. If you asked anyone, she was nothing but perfectly normal.

“But, I mean, do you not sleep or something?”

Except, there had always been something off about her too. Her deep brown, almond shaped, eyes never seemed to lack those dark circles that had seemingly made her face their permanent home. No matter who asked, no matter how it was asked, she’d always given the same answer—“Oh, it’s not that. I dream in color.”

They gave her the same response. Whether it was a teacher, a family member, or a close friend, they’d always squint and look at her as if a screw had gone loose within the inner workings of her brain. And she’d laugh, hysterically so, shake her head, and give the same follow up statement before any questions could be asked further.

“Don’t worry about. It just is what it is.”

She’d never lied though. It was a fact. Every night, the moment her head made contact with the pillow and her eyes shut, she’d dream in color. It wasn’t as pleasant as most people would make it out to be, and she’d never enjoyed a second of what the oddity had to offer.

So she did what every normal person did when it came to things they didn’t particularly like. She avoided it like the goddamned plague.

Sadly, she wasn’t stupid. She knew her limits, and she knew that sleep wasn’t something that she could runaway from for the rest of her life. So she wasn’t lying. She did sleep. She took the bare minimum to function and always set an alarm to wake her up afterwards.

But she never did quite enjoy it. And it never changed. Always, always, always, her dreams were in different colors.

Like blue,

She was seven and everything was blue. The water of the pool, underneath the harsh sunlight, had always been a sapphire shade that made her jaw drop. She’d loved jumping and diving and being relieved of the heat every time her head submerged and her body made contact with the sudden cold of it.

As a child, it had been her favorite color too. So she remembered clearly how her towel was always the color of the sky, laid out on the lawn chair to warm it underneath the ultraviolet rays for later use. Her over clothes were always blue too, different shades like indigo or cerulean—it depended on her mood.

Even her flip-flops were blue. A dark blue that may have looked black from far away, but a deep navy that she had loved nonetheless.

Most of all, it was her swimsuit that she remembered—an aquamarine that she couldn’t bring to forget. It was plain for a kid, no ruffles or weird cartoon prints, but she’d loved it growing up. She’d chosen it for herself, on the rack of some mall that she couldn’t quite recall the name of.

And she recalled every detail of it.

She remembered the u-neck that wasn’t that low, but was low enough for fingers to trace over. She recalled thin straps that were tugged on, and hearing low chuckles when the loud snap echoed from the tangible fabric harshly making contact with her skin. She vividly pictured the, then, barely existent dip of her waist that the swimsuit accentuated, and the large hands that had wrapped themselves around her and tugged her into the small shack.

She’d been smart though. Her mama raised her that way. 

So she hadn’t let him. She’d looked back at the pool, and moved the hands away. She’d run to her towel and wrapped itself around her. She’d looked at that man and sat down on the white chair, waiting to see what he would do. He’d always shrug, and then he’d put on his royal blue sunglasses and smile.

“I was just playing with you.” He’d end up saying.

And another thing that was blue would pop into her head just then. An imaginary image of her very same self, in a dark, cold, place—alone and unmoving without a single breath to take. 

The end of these dreams had always plagued her. Because she wondered, if she hadn’t known any better, would she have become the blue corpse that she always pictured?

or red,

She was nine and everything was red. Her mom’s favorite color was red—the almost terrifying and overbearing crimson that had been the older woman’s bedroom walls. Once, even, she’d gotten nightmares that a demon would appear out of nowhere by the headboard and take her away.

But that wasn’t the only thing her mother had kept red.

She remembered that her skin would always boast something red too. A loud slap would echo in the room and her cheek would sting with a rosy glow for hours. A yelp would emerge from her mouth whenever red finger marks appeared on her wrists, and her lips would become plump with a flush, because she’d bite them to hold back the screams that came with the reprimands from her previous wails and complaints too.

As clear as it was yesterday, she could even recall the oxblood paint on clean fingernails that were, thankfully, never sharp enough to pierce and invite an even more gruesome red to join the soiree.

But, most of all, she remembered the scarlet of her mother’s lips.

She couldn’t see what her mother’s eyes were relaying, and she hadn’t paid close enough attention to her body language to measure sincerity, but she’d never forget how those red lips moved. 

“I’m going to take you to your grandparents. You’ll stay with them for the summer, okay?”

She stood by the door of a house that wasn’t her mother’s.

And she didn’t know what hurt more. 

Watching the bright red of her mama’s car fade into the distance as her eyes spotted a redder shade as well, or waiting by the window everyday and never seeing that same red vehicle come back. 

Even when the summer months finally faded into the fall.

sometimes green,

She was eleven and everything was green. There was a garden outside of her grandparents’ house, and the grass there was always a vibrant green. Their sheets and covers in the house were even a mint green that she recalled falling in love with—just because of how calming it was to look at them.

Nothing, however, compared to the mossy green carpet that her nana had selected for their bedroom carpet.

Her cousins would come over, some of them would have eyes that were a pretty shade of olive, and they’d always spend time in that room. They’d shout, have fun, and play games until it was finally time for them to go. The adults stayed downstairs, in the living room or the dining hall, and left all the children to their own devices.

They were too rowdy and could entertain themselves—that was always the excuse.

But on some occasions, when she and her cousins got a little too curious, they’d think of wilder games to play that maybe the adults should have supervised. They’d think of things to do that maybe went passed the idea of rowdy and entertainment.

Her cousins would always start it the same way.

“Let’s role play!”

And they’d say something about how they’d watched a television show that involved a boy pushing a girl, and the girl would fight and she would scream, and the boy wouldn’t care. 

“It looked like fun!” Her cousins would say, and she’d known it was wrong, but she barely had any friends. She couldn’t lose her cousins too.

She’d hated every second of it. 

Always, always, always she would be the boy. Her cousins would watch and force her to shove one of them onto the bed, and always, always, always they’d tell her to do it stronger or to use her tongue or to lift up a shirt or to pull down a skirt. She’d stare at the green carpet and go away, doing everything they told her to from a distance.

As her hands moved across skin she’d look at that mossy fabric. As her tongue was forced into a warm cavern that made her want to gag she kept her eyes trained on the gentle, nature-like, floor.

And when her cousins finally called game over, it was green that greeted her when she vomited into the toilet afterwards.

but always in color.

She was eighteen-years-old. She had hair that wasn’t long, but wasn’t short, and skin that stood out due to its pasty nature. She had a group of friends that were important to her, and she lived a life filled with smiles, laughter, and its fair share of problems. If you asked anyone, she was nothing but perfectly normal.

Except, there had always been something off about her too. Her deep brown, almond shaped, eyes never seemed to lack those dark circles that had seemingly made her face their permanent home. No matter who asked, no matter how it was asked, she’d always given the same answer—

“I dream in color.”

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