Ruby’s friends were always telling her this was just a phase, some prolonged version of teen angst, or a rough patch.
But Ruby didn’t think was a rough patch; more like it was always rough with some good patches in between. And the good patches were becoming scarcer by the hour.
Ruby sat by her window gripping her mug, trying to remember how long it had been since she felt happy and wondering how she had grown to be so goddamn cynical.
Snow fell quietly over the bare trees. Everything was white.
The sky matched the ground and the trees were almost completely covered, and anything that wasn’t, was gray.
Endless shades of gray smothered by white.
Ruby had been staring out her window for so long she had almost forgotten what it was like to see colors. All she could see now was white, and some gray patches here and there.
She closed her eyes and tried to remember colors, but she began draw a blank.
“Maybe if I focus on a specific color…”
She shut her eyes a little tighter.
Red, red, red…
She tried to picture the bright red tube of lipstick in her purse, the half empty glass of maroon liquid sitting on her dresser, that scarlet tube top hanging in her closet… but she couldn’t.
She couldn’t picture any of it.
She opened her eyes and looked down at her mug.
It was white, as it always was, but the liquid inside it wasn’t brown; it was black.
And her hands, her delicate peach hands were now a light shade of gray. The nail polish on her finger nails, the stones on her rings, gray.
Her heart sped up as panic shot threw her. She looked around her room in a frenzy, searching for anything with even a shadow of color, a tint of life and saw none.
all of it gray.
all of it was gray.
She got up from her bed and stood in the center of her room.
As the shock wore off a new feeling took over her, one she hadn’t felt since she was seven years old and afraid of the dark- absolute terror.
Suddenly she didn’t know where she was.
This was not her bedroom, this was not her home.
She must’ve awoken in gray scale replica of her house, like the one’s in those 50’s tv shows.
But no, it wasn’t just the grayness of it all, there was something much deeper, more fundamentally different about her home. It was darker somehow, even with all the lights on, and an earth shattering silence that creeped around every corner.
It was like someone had broken in while she was sleeping with giant paint rollers and step ladders and painted her whole house with despair. It seemed they had painted her, too in the process.
This, she looked around her room with the widest of eyes this is what depression looks like.
Ruby wondered if perhaps the way she felt on the inside somehow managed to breakout of her and infect the world around her.
The sudden realization rammed into her mind like a silver bullet and sent shivers down her spine. She collapsed to the floor.
What have I done,
What have I done…
Tears ran down her face and it all seemed so incredibly hopeless, she was confined to the limitations of black and white and every boring shade of gray in between.
She walked to her very gray bathroom and turned on the very dull light. She wiped her nose and her eyes and went to wash her hands when she noticed out of the corner of her eye what she thought was pink.
Ruby turned her head slowly, fearing she would scare it away.
The rectangle attached to her medicine cabinet reflected pink wallpaper with beige sea horses. The woman who stood on the other side had rosy cheeks, red hair, green eyes and runny mascara.
Ruby looked down her hands, her arms, her legs, all of which were still gray.
But the Ruby she saw in the mirror, she had life. She had color.
The smile that spread across her lips cancelled out the tears in her eyes.
Ruby had never thought of herself as an attractive woman. She had always seen herself as slightly below average.
But that late morning in January she saw herself the way everyone else did- absolutely beautiful.
She reached her hand towards the mirror, the woman on the other side did the same.
Their fingers met and Ruby wondered why she didn’t feel the hard texture of a mirror, but instead the warm touch of water.
She pulled her hand back and almost walked away in fear, but curiosity got the best of her and she again extended her hand towards the mirror.
This time she pushed past the watery wall, and her hand felt a light warmth on the other side.
She climbed up onto her sink.
For the first time in years, Ruby could see herself clearly.
And for the first time in her entire life, she liked what she saw.
Ruby glanced over her shoulder at the very gray bathroom and decided she wouldn’t miss it.
Ruby thrusted past her reflection and into the other side.