Finally, he gets to it and I slump down in my seat, trying to look disaffected. I concentrate on a chalky spot on the board until he’s done with his overview. Slowly, I look around the room and I see a lot of tan, which means boredom. Crowley has a horrible monotone. No one is hardly paying attention at all. Often because I can tell how everyone in a crowd is feeling, I forget that they can’t tell my emotions. Even if they could—after all in a class of five hundred students, it’s entirely possible that someone else has the weird, focused form of synesthesia—I give off a very dim light. Usually a little grey indifference is all I see when I look in the mirror.
Finally we’re dismissed and I’m relieved. I get up slowly and take my time placing my books and notebook in my bag and putting on my jacket. I like to have a little peace without the colors every now and then. I watch the mainly pink haze slowly filter out of the room. That’s when I can guess that they have more classes. Pink is the color for laziness and tiredness, sometimes resignation. I see a lot of pink on campus. In fact, it’s the only other color I see on myself in the mirror. That one can even be bright at times, despite my dim nature. I wish I could make a career of being lazy; it’s the only thing I know I could be really good at.
After lingering for a moment to revel in the relief of no colors, I gather my things and head out to tend to my job, being Dear Abby for the newly formed campus entertainment newspaper. Actually, it’s Dear Lynn they call me here. In high school I was Dear Amanda. Kevin O’Brien, chief editor for the Campus Star, wanted me to use my real name. “But Iris is such a unique name, it goes well with fortune telling and wisdom,” he said. I thanked him for the compliment but insisted on anonymity. I do it for the money and the money alone. I don’t want anyone knocking at my door. It’s bad enough I see their troubles just walking down the street.
I drive to the newspaper office to pick up this week’s load of letters. Kevin smiles when he sees me come in. I know that boy thinks he’s in love with me. Sometimes people can really inflate their own yellow. I never see that happen with any other color, but they inflate their yellow when they think they’re in love and sometimes they try to hide the tinge of green, the lust, by covering it with the yellow of love. I’m not sure why, because yellow love is one of the most dangerous things there is. Kevin has it coming out of his hair and ears as if the sun itself were burning inside his skull rather than neurons—with proper wiring, I’m sure—as he says today, “Iris, you’re the reason we can pay the rent.” He thinks he’s in love with me but I hope he’s wrong. The colors get all messed up when they’re in love, like psychedelic strobe lights.
I haven’t done any more current fiction in awhile, so today I’m posting the continuation of my short story “Dark As Roses.” The beginning is here. This is a story about a girl who sees colored auras around people and is somewhat at odds with her psychic ability. At the end of the first section, Iris was sitting in a college psych class afraid that when her professor mentioned her condition (or what she thinks her condition might be), she might do something to accidentally give herself away.
Don’t forget, you can always check out the Samples section, including Older Works and Published.
Next Excerpt: A Somewhat Double Life – DaR 3