Cyan, magenta, yellow, black. The four basic colors.
Red, green, blue. The colors we see.
All color as one.
The absence of color.
How do you live in a world without color?
Michael swirled the brush imbued with deep crimson onto the blank canvas. He mixed in a bright turquoise. He added a little canary yellow. Oranges, purples, greens, browns followed. He delineated his shapes with black. Giving them definition. Giving them meaning.
And from all this emerged a picture. From all this emerged beauty.
Shades of gray. Between white and black. An entire range. Everything.
Nothing. There is no variation. You see nothing.
Michael watched as the workmen hung his last painting on the wall. It was his first time headlining a gallery opening. To say he was nervous about his first solo show was understating things a bit.
He put everything he felt on the canvas. All the words he couldn’t say. All the things he dared not express. Everything hurled out of his soul and onto the white space.
His artwork was vivid as it was abstract. His medium varied as his moods did. He was brooding. He was silent. His work was as intense as he was.
It was impossible to stand beside him and not feel the charged air that surrounded him. His barely suppressed feelings whirled around him uncontrollably.
Color is an illusion.
Something the eyes see when light rays bounce off everyday objects. The different waves create color. At night, in the dark, there is not enough light to distinguish more than shapes. The sea vibrantly blue, turquoise, cobalt, cyan, aqua, during the day is a deep black at night.
Color is relative. The blue of the sea in Athens is not the blue of the sea in San Juan nor is it the blue of the sea in Sydney.
Color is in our head.
Color isn’t real.
Michael glanced around the room. It was a success. He’d sold nearly his entire collection. He was pleased.
But at the same time he felt as if he was selling off pieces of his very soul. Art was how he expressed himself.
It was second nature.
It had always helped him deal with what terrified him. The feelings inside he didn’t know how to handle. Love, hatred, anger, forgiveness, acceptance. Sometimes it was all too much.
“Michael, this is great! I told you this would be a hit. I talked to Maria, she writes for the Roswell Daily Reporter, and it looks like your review is going to be stellar. This will push the prices for your work up so high.”
“Good, listen Isabel, I’m heading home.”
“Michael, the party’s still going? Why would you leave now?”
“I’m just sick of smiling. Besides won’t this help with the elusive artist mystery guy thing you wanted me to play up?”
“Fine go. I’ll be calling you later.”
Michael nodded and made his way out to the parking light. He didn’t understand everyone else’s fascination with the paintings he’d done. Nothing he’d ever painted was as beautiful as the world that already surrounded them. The night sky, the clouds right before the rain, the desert at high noon. That was beautiful. What was inside him was ugly.
The room was dark. Its sole occupant did not notice.
The lamp on the end-table remained off. She sat on the sofa facing forward. There was nothing on the walls. White-washed, they were like huge blank, empty canvases.
She held nothing in her hands. She sat motionless. She was waiting.
He was supposed to visit today.
Michael walked into the apartment he shared with his best friend from high school. He could hear the TV blaring from the living room.
Max looked up blearily from the couch, “Hey man. How was the show?”
“It was all right. I think I sold them all.” Michael shrugged wondering just how many beers Max had already indulged in.
“Great, I’m sorry I didn’t go, just got off of work. Listen, I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, the leftovers are in the fridge.” Max rambled making excuses that Michael knew were untruths. There was no way Max had just gotten off work. And he wondered who exactly had made the spaghetti dinner because there was no way Max had actually cooked without burning the apartment.
“Yeah, I already ate thanks. Weren’t you going to go visit Liz?”
“Um. I changed my mind.” Max mumbled staring even more intently at whatever program he was watching.
“Max. It’s been three months since the accident. Don’t you think you should talk?”
“What do you know about anything, Michael? You just moved back here from New York. You’ve never even met Liz. How would you know anything about my life? Besides I didn’t tell her I was going for sure. I’m sure she’s having fun with the friends she’s made there.”
“Whatever you say Max, I don’t want to argue, but she deserves at least—“
“What the hell do you know about what she deserves?” Max stood up from the sofa and said, "I’m going out. I’ll see you later.”
“Where are you going?” Michael asked wearily, suspecting that he wouldn’t like the answer.
“None of your business.” Max replied as he slammed the door on his way out.
Michael sighed. Max could be so selfish. He felt badly for Liz. Michael had come home to Roswell after spending several years in New York trying to figure out what he wanted to do as an artist. Having become fairly successful and establishing himself as an up-and-comer, he’d chosen to return home for his big opening.
And Max had just been involved in a serious car accident with his longtime girlfriend, Liz. While Max’s injuries had been minor, Liz had remained in the hospital for three months, two of those in a coma. When she’d awakened the doctors had discovered that there had been severe damage to her optic nerve and that they thought she’d never see again.
He wasn’t going to come.
She knew this soon enough. But she was too proud to call and ask for help back to her room. She wanted to be able to do it alone.
Now everything was difficult. She had to count her way around everything. If something was even moved an inch she’d tumble into it. She was graceless and clumsy and blind.
She was blind.
Michael knew that Max wouldn’t go see her. Ever. That the guilt he felt wouldn’t allow him to go. That her imperfections would make it impossible for him to accept her in his life.
Michael had never met Liz.
But he would. He had to go see her. He didn't know why this felt so important. But he didn't want her to be alone. She needed someone.
And for some reason he felt she needed him.
She was all alone.
Even when there was someone sitting next to her.
She couldn’t get used to not seeing. She wanted to be able to open her eyes and know it was morning. She wanted to lay awake at night and watch the shadows play across the ceiling. She wanted to be able to see everything in color. She was so tired of the darkness. She was so frightened to realize that it would never end.