Grayscale

As her eye lids blinked up and down, she got glimpses of her dad. He was at the door. She couldn’t keep them open for more than a fraction of the second. They felt too heavy. The next time she opened them he was beside her. What happened? How’d he get here so fast? Had she just fallen asleep? Her eyelids felt heavier and heavier. She could feel the weight of her head, she was suddenly aware of her own presence. She could feel the blood rush through her veins; it felt like warm blankets in the winter and iced tea in the summer at the same instant. She noticed the beat of her heart slowing down. Thump-thump-thump. Thump. Thump.
It felt like morning, she could smell the mint of the toothpaste mixed with the fragrance of coffee from the kitchen. She opened her eyelids. They didn’t feel as heavy as before. She looked at her gray ceiling fan. Round and round it circled.
Whish. Whish.
She heard the sound of motor. Thk-thk-thk. She turned her head, and saw her laptop on her table. She turned to the left and saw her gray SpongeBob SquarePants bed sheet. There was a slight bump on it, like it had just been slept on. Wait, Spongebob isn’t gray. Her wall isn’t gray either. She stared back up and realized everything was gray : her fan, the walls, even the web of the spider at the upper right corner of her room; wait, that was supposed to be gray.
Now if no one was on her bed, then where was she? She tried to turn her head again. Nothing. Her muscles wouldn’t react. She remembered how she felt each and every muscle contract last night. What had happened? What is happening? Why can’t she move her head? Is this the sleep paralysis she had read about on Facebook?
She was eerily calm about this. She was pretty surprised herself. She had convinced herself it was sleep paralysis. But why was everything gray? She tried to think about it. Yes, she had always been a calm person. She took a little pride in it too.
Silence, she realized was something she was feeling now. The sound of the fan stopped and so did the chirping of the crows. But she could hear air. The sound of air moving and swirling and she remembered Brownian motion. She could feel all the other sounds dying, slowly, but fast enough to be noticeable. First the fan, it was still moving though, and then it was the crows. As the usual ones died out, the other ones heightened. She heard the sound of her lashes going up against the air and falling down again; the occasional sound of one of her strands of hair crashing against the other one; the sound of her muscles struggling to move. Ssshhh.
Silence was something she thought she knew well. It was her friend in times when life felt like death. She would spend hours on end reading or just thinking. Life to her felt meaningless, most times. No matter what she’d do, or could do, her existence didn’t really matter in the grand scale of things. What was the point then? Of her inhaling each breath, eating each bite and blinking each time? Maybe death had more purpose. Maybe, she would be of use after she died. Maybe her existence was only for her to eventually stop breathing. Aren’t all our existences the same though?
She could hear absolute silence. The sound finally died out. She never thought silence could be her worst enemy, it was defeating. No matter where she was, she had never actually experienced silence. There was always at the least, the sound of air to accompany her.
Now, her insides felt empty. She could see her surroundings but the silence was devouring her from within. She tried closing her eyelids again, in hope for a little peace. But as soon as she did, she saw something. Something inexplicable. It was like a jungle of blood and veins and just ugly black lines. She couldn’t depict what it was, but it scared her. It was horrific. The black lines moved, and curved and pierced as if through her pupils, while the blood boiled and blistered her lids.
When she opened her eyes, she saw her dad again, this time crying. She hadn’t ever seen him shed a single tear. Some dads are like that. Wait, he isn’t crying still. He’s stone, crouched over what seemed to her to be a black void. Light ceased to exist. Or maybe was being absorbed. She could just see black, a black she had never seen before. At least something wasn’t gray.
She looked at her father’s lashes, they were so beautifully curled. He was younger than any of the other dads at school; he was also one of the very few who were divorced. She saw him put his cell phone to his ears. Had he finally called mom? After 15 years? Would she come to him? Probably not; not after what he had done to her.
It’s strange how one person’s absolute worst sinner can be another person’s saint? She had just recently found out what he had done to her mom. But somehow, she could never imagine the same guy who tucked her in every night, (even though she insisted she was an adult and didn’t need tucking in) to be the menace who harassed mom. Maybe she was in denial.
Now however, who would comfort him? Who would he take out to eat when he would quit his job again? Who would be the only person he was actually nice to in the whole entire universe? Maybe her existence wasn’t all that meaningless after all. It might not have given her purpose, but for him she suddenly wanted to be that black void that he stared at with empty eyes. For him she wanted to live.
She closed her lids again, this time to be met with only gray. She didn’t feel like trying anymore, to figure out what was happening. That’s always the worst, the feeling of utter hopelessness. As she felt the dirt granules fall on her skin over the white cloth, the silence began to die out. When even the silence is gone, what else could be left?

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