She smiled, and the day she smiled, no one smiled back.
She wept, and the day she wept, no one wept with her.
She was a splash of darkness in a world of color: the fiery passion of red, the fierce joy of orange, the pure happiness of yellow. No one would see her grayscale.
She wanted them to look at her, to understand and love her, but when she reached out no one grasped her hand, and when she pulled away no one reached out to her. She smiled, but no one smiled back. She wept, and no one wept with her.
She watched from afar their colorful world, wondering why they couldn’t see her, why they didn’t appreciate her colors. Were the ebony black of night, the silver of stars, the white frost not as beautiful as their many hues?
She tried in many ways to be noticed. She entered their world and painted herself red, orange, and yellow, her determination just as fiery as the colors she’d seen the others wear. They looked at her, a tilt of their heads, a gleam in their eyes, a note of recognition. Did they see her? Yes, she was sure they did. She smiled, and they smiled back.
She danced with them, a spark among their flames, feeling fierce and proud and joyful. They saw her. They danced around her, she wove around them, and when the moment was right, she reached out, a smile shining on her face.
Their hands slipped through hers, and where they had touched her, red became the black of night, orange was the silver of stars, and yellow turned to white frost. They looked away, their eyes dulled, and she was alone.
She wept, and no one wept with her.
She didn’t wish to try again. Their world was so bright and she had been apart from it for so long, it began to hurt her eyes. She didn’t smile, and they shed no tears for the loss; she didn’t weep, and they spared her no glance.
So she stopped chasing after them, stopped looking at them, turned away, looked back at her own grayscale world. It did not satisfy her; there was no fire, no dancing, no shining eyes and burning passion. Only black, and gray, and white.
She cast a glance back, watching as they left her behind, as they always had. She turned to sit and watch as the fire disappeared, becoming less than a distant spark. And when they were gone, there was nothing to do but examine her own self, the darkness that had shadowed their light for so long. Her ebony black of night, her silver of stars, her white frost. She had no color, as they had, and she would never be enough for them.
She had thought she was empty of tears, but she wept still. No one wept with her.
She did not open her eyes for a long time. Perhaps hours, perhaps years. It did not matter, for there was no one to see or be seen. The color was gone, and she did not want to see the grays of her own world for fear of forgetting the fire of a world she could never be a part of.
It took so much effort for her to open her eyes and stand up. In vain, she looked around for them; she had been following them her whole life, after all, and although letting them leave her had been simple, it was not so easy for her to leave them. But no, their colorful, fiery world was gone, leaving her alone in the darkness.
She stood and looked blankly at the gray horizon for a long time. Perhaps hours, perhaps years; it did not matter. Finally, she took a step. One, then two, then three, and more. She walked slowly at first, dwelling still on her loss. She walked faster, and faster, trying and eventually managing to outpace the past, allowing herself time to accept that the color was gone, allowing herself time to weep once more and feel the pain of her loss. She walked for a long time, then ran. If she had no choice but to run through this dull, grayscale world, she would do it as quickly as she could.
Soon she realized she was dancing. She didn’t know when she’d stopped running, when the pain had left, when she had come to love her dark world, but she had. She loved the ebony black of night, the silver of stars, the white frost.
She could not remember what the color she had shadowed for so long looked like, and she no longer cared. She smiled, and though no one smiled back, her tears were those of joy, and she didn’t need anyone to weep with her.
As she danced through her beautiful black world, eyes tightly shut in pure acceptance, things began to change. She reveled in her newfound harmony, understanding, and peace and felt that she didn’t need to search for color ever again; the darkness was enough.
She opened her eyes and immediately stopped dancing. She fell to the ground and looked about her in awe. All around her were colors she had never known before: the pure harmony of green, the deep thought of blue, the soulful melody of violet. She had never imagined that there could be anything more than the fiery colors of the ones who had rejected her and her own darkness.
Hesitantly, tentatively, she reached out to the strange colors. She waited, eyes downcast, sure that nothing would come of it, that once again she would be separate from the beauty before her.
A hand grasped hers, and she flinched, nearly snatching her arm away. She looked up, straight into a colorful face with cool, kind eyes, so different from the fierce gleam of the fiery ones she had once known. They pulled her up from the ground, but she felt unsteady, sure they would let go and leave her behind. They did not.
They danced with her, and it was not the fast dance of red and orange and yellow, but a slow, weaving dance of greens and blues and violets. She was afraid to believe in these new, strange colors, but as she danced, she felt that they were what she had been missing for so long.
She wanted to smile, but found herself weeping instead. Perhaps they could touch her, perhaps they looked at her with kindness, but she would never be one of them; they were harmonious green, thoughtful blue, peaceful violet; she was ebony black of night, silver of stars, white frost. She had learned a long time ago that grayscale could not compare to color, and she knew that the longer she tried to change, the more it would hurt when they left her behind.
She let go of them, sat, and wept, expecting them to leave her; she was surprised when they sat beside her and put a hand to her chin, forcing her to see their beautiful colors, taunting her with what she could not have. Could they be so cruel? But no; their eyes shone not with malice, but with tears— tears for her. She wept, so they wept with her.
Through the tears, they held out a hand; she hesitated, but took it. They held it up for her to see, and she was amazed at what she saw. Although she was still black, silver, white, she was more than that: she was the velvet blue of midnight, the violet of nebulas, the green leaflet. She had found what she was meant to be, and her tears of pain became tears of joy.
She wept, and they wept with her, holding her close as they danced through this new world. She smiled, and they smiled back.
She loved, and she was finally loved back.
Author Notes: I wrote this story about three years ago now, at what was probably the loneliest time of my life. In this story I explored the feeling of not belonging anywhere, of never being enough for anyone, and tried to express the sensation of wanting to be loved for who I am even when I don't think that who I am is worth loving. I think this is a feeling that most people have when different things come up in their lives; I know that I've had more than one problem be my black, gray, and white in a world of color.
I hope this story helps bring a little bit of color to your world when it feels black.