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Another's Eyes

Aine Gwaed Infanc

          You step outside and see blue the same color as your eyes. It’s your favorite color, and who can wonder. It’s much better than the endless shades of yellowish grey that make up the rest of your world. One in twelve males are red-green colorblind. And you’re one of them. They say that you’re missing important cells in your retina, but that it’s a common genetic problem. Nothing to worry about. You don’t worry about it. You can’t worry about missing out on something you’ve never experienced. At least that’s what everyone says.

          Oddly enough, you look forward to seeing the sunrise every morning. Maybe you watch it because you like to philosophize about the endless possibilities of a new day. But I think you also do it in hope that one morning, if you’re good enough, if you stand in just the right place, if you crack your eyelid open just right, that the sky will bloom red and purple. Each morning is another experiment. This morning will be a failed experiment just like the other 7,701 mornings before it, but never mind that. Edison never quit. How many ways was it that he invented the lightbulb before it glowed? And so, you wake up and crawl out of bed to stand on the hill you call a mountain and watch that fearful orb rise. In the past, you’ve tried looking out the side of your eye hoping that one of those missing cone cells exists on the periphery of your retina, an antisocial little bugger hiding from the world and, in doing so, hiding the world from you. You squint differently today than you did yesterday and the , days before that.  You clench your teeth, ball up a freckled fist, and wait in the dewy darkness until pale light begins to flow over the horizon. A tsunami of light mounts and comes splashing over the world. But it is just yellow light and the sky is blue. And that is all that there will ever be.

          After today’s failed experiment, you jump in your Jeep (blue, of course) and pull cautiously out of your driveway. You pass a gas station, go under phone lines, and pass mid-century houses all seen through the lens of a yellow discolored photograph. The contrast between modernity and antiquity is striking. You’re a time-traveler. The cars passing you look strange in the sepia tones of the daguerreotypes you will be working with in a few minutes in the Archives. Everyone else finds the office

environment dull. But you see no difference. The whole world is made of so many different shades of manila folders.

          You like to stay indoors and look forward to the rain. Gloomy days are an equalizer. Inside, you read as many books as you can, contented that the pages are the same beige as the world you see. Your imagination is better than most maybe because the world of books and the world you see aren’t that very different.  The distinction between the page and reality blurs allowing you to easily transport yourself to the Greek Academy; to a galaxy far, far away; and then into stories of your own fabrication.

          The trees along the road wave their half-barren arms at you. It’s autumn, but you don’t understand all the fuss about the leaves. What is so exciting about brown leaves? To think that people would drive up into the mountains to see leaves that are brown all year long.

          The falling leaves signal in semaphore that Christmas will be here soon. That means pretty packages tied up in red and green. Beige and darker beige. Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas. Your friend is thinking about getting you a Rubik’s cube as a prank gift. You chuckle.

          You pull your Jeep up to the stoplight known to the rest of the world as a red light. The light turns green and you know because of the rhyme you were taught: “If it’s up and red, don’t speed ahead; if it’s down you can go now.” And so you drive through the intersection, doing something a thousand other people are taking for granted.

          Along your way, you pass a flag whipping in the breeze, a flag that represents the nation you love. The good ole Beige, White, and Blue. our deuteranopia affects your political and philosophical views in unexpected ways The world isn’t strictly dichromatic. You’re a true postmodern. Everyone’s beliefs are just so many shades of beige. You say you’re neither red nor blue politically; each side has its valuable opinions if you listen with an open mind. If decreased bias and empathy were symptoms of deuteranopia, it wouldn’t be bad if more people were colorblind.

          For all your enmity with color, no one would know that you can’t see the electric green of your own personality. It’s impossible to imagine that someone dancing so animatedly to Mr. Mister could live in a washed-out world. Although you’ll occasionally slip into darkness, you’re generally a vibrant rainbow. With your endless jokes and contagious laugh, you are a prism transforming the colorless light you see into a kaleidoscope of color for everyone else to enjoy. Everyone except you.

          You park the Jeep and take a final glance at your clothes to make sure they match before going into work. And they do: blue goes well with beige. You waltz into the library to greet a friend with a hug. You can’t tell how sunburned her cheeks are or the hazel green of her eyes. You can’t see what she sees. But she tries to see what you do. After all, you’re the one that showed her to see the value of looking through another’s eyes.

Fall, 2017 Issue