I let the lies you tell me melt on my tongue like LSD. Savoring every syllable, I smack my lips, always hungry for more. I’ve taken to holding your words hostage under my tongue, so they sink into my bloodstream faster and the buzz that makes life worth living come quicker.

The words you speak forge a new reality; I start to see the world through a kaleidoscope, distorted into crazy shapes and sizes, with things appearing more beautiful and broken than they actually are. My favorite part is the colors. Everyone’s auras flare up during these highs, yearning to be evaluated and appraised. There’s something chilling about the elusive essence of us humans–a truth we can never quite come to terms with, yet remains the core of our existence.

For instance, you’re a popping cerulean during your kind streaks; you bring me freshly picked flowers and snuggle and pray with me before bed. Your brilliance puts the morning sky to shame as you make smiley faced waffles for breakfast and actually search the newspaper for job openings.

But there are times when a dark cloud hangs over your head and drenches you in cobalt rain, until you’re coated in the hideous color which matches the bruises you leave on my upper arms and inner thighs. You never strike me–or mean to, anyways–but you grip me with such urgency, simultaneously pushing me away and yanking me closer, as if I’m a human yo-yo. And always, there’s a question balancing on your lips that you’re too afraid to ask, but it never stops you from trying to shake the answer out of me anyways.

But you’re not the only repulsive color in my life. My Mom gives off the tackiest orange, as dull as the pulp drained from orange juice, because life has drained her of youth along with everything else she had. She dyes her hair this color, too, to hide the grays sprouting on her scalp far too early, because she’s desperate for a boyfriend with some serious cash flow. Her hue gives me the worst headache whenever I stare at it for too long, until eventually it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. But I suppose that won’t be a problem anymore, since she’s kicked me out for good this time.

For Dad, I daydream him as a deep, comforting indigo which only appears right before dawn, when I usually end up drifting to sleep. But he’s probably a stewing brown due to his anger issues and shitty choices. Plus there’s the fact he’s been buried under six feet of dirt for the past eight years.

But then there’s Cassidy. God, I love that kid. She’s this really cunning magenta, a strategic color that will let her have her fun, but also help her avoid the pitfalls her older sister stumbled into by maintaining just enough innocence. It’s the same exact shade of pink as the lipstick I bought for her eleventh birthday, the one she refused to wear to school because she didn’t want boys looking at her mouth. But as soon as she would get home, she’d eagerly smear it on her lips and spend forever gazing into the mirror.

There’s this endless rainbow of passersby shimmering below our apartment as they traverse the city streets. On the rare occasions when my lethargy isn’t overwhelming, I venture out of our bedroom to admire the sight. Walking without any particular purpose, I’ve seen swarthy men emanating forest green, smothered in the scents of pine trees and animal dander–probably Rottweiler or German Shepherd; soccer moms ranging from lavender to mauve, depending on how over-involved they are in their children’s activities; and elementary schoolers brighter than sunshine yellow, refracted by their pearly-whites perpetually exposed in carefree smiles.

The worst is when I encounter teenagers reeking of crimson, a shade to match their bleeding hearts and the looming chips on their shoulders. Teens mirror images of myself, who’ve become enslaved to circumstance and have given up on escaping fate. Crimson embodies coping mechanisms ranging from slashed wrists to sharp tongues, cursing the world and vowing revenge. I always cry when I see them, and want to beg them to change their color while it’s not too late. But I don’t.

Because who am I to preach?

Suddenly all the other colors fade, or maybe all the ugly colors rise to prominence. Either way, I regret leaving the safety of our bed. But you’re never home and I go crazy in this cramped place, which is devoid of life and colors. I end up becoming entranced by my reflection, spending hours debating the exact shade of my pea green eyes, until everything around me fades to gray.

I can’t stand it when the colors become dull. Restless until you get home, I wring my hands while the rest of me is on pins and needles. I get dizzy and forget to eat, forget how to sleep, forget everything except the phantom presence of your words and an unyielding nostalgia for vibrancy. If you’re in a good mood when you come back from wherever you’ve slunk off to, you tease me until I’m irritable, but appease me just before I do anything about it. You pacify me with those sickly sweet lies, and I become complacent as I suckle on soft pink and lilac. But if you’re in a bad mood, then it’s a series of slamming doors and a black encroaching on my vision as we yell about trivial things until it escalates and one of us gets hurt.

And it’s never you.

Some people are born with the ability to see these colors naturally. It’s called Synesthesia. To them, the letter r is purple and the scent of vanilla is gray. I learned about it in Biology, back when I paid attention–hell, back when I went to school.

I’d kill to have my brain wired this way–it must be better than any drug.

A lot of people use this expression, but I would actually kill. I’ve pictured it all too many times before. Wrapping my frail, paper-white hands around your sandy neck, I’d squeeze and claw into your windpipe until your entire face was as purple as a blueberry. Then I’d be free from your lies and able to see the world my own way.

The first thing I’d do is head straight for home and hug my Mom, letting loose the crystal tears I’ve pent up all this time. I’d tell her it wasn’t her fault I left, and explain I had to purge the Dad in me before I could grow up. And then maybe her aura could turn into a beautiful sienna, a more respectable type of orange. I’d bury my face in Cassidy’s platinum hair and coddle her with hugs and kisses. Maybe I could become her role model, if I go back to school to get that piece of paper wrapped in a deliciously red ribbon. Then I could get a real job and treat her to pedicures whenever she wanted, and get matching seafoam toe nails.

But it doesn’t matter if I do kill you. I still won’t see the colors without your narcotic words. I can’t look at life the way I used to, when it was only the bitter truth, like a cold wind that sears your face and stings your eyes. And, honestly, I don’t see the point of trying to.

I used to try everything I could think of to wean myself off of your lies. Now I simply wallow in complacent addiction, unwilling to compromise the glass prism creating my rainbows. Because after hearing a lie often enough, lies so delightful like the ones you concoct, it somehow becomes the truth, and then it doesn’t seem so harmful after all.

So I remain tethered to you, trapped under the warm, cream-colored covers on a cold, dreary November day. Your arm is swung carelessly across my chest as you snore in my ear, your breath rancid with liquor and your aura laced with puke green. My eyes listlessly stare at the black stains lining the edges of the moldy popcorn ceiling, and I continue to wonder why all of the colors surrounding me are so ugly and loud.


Edited By Renee Luna


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