“Gray,” she replied while straightening her back to accompany her brazen tone.
Silence stung the air circulating through the car. The emphatic delivery of her answer had disrupted the flirtatious fluidity that had entangled the two in uninterrupted banter over the past hour. She couldn't help herself. The color had once again started to systematically drain from the world she had come to know and love the closer she came to their parting of ways. It had all become too painful of a ceremony to shroud under the 'c'est la vie' facade she had been trying to maintain.
Dorian focused her gaze upon the coastline, empty aside from the vicious winter swell pounding against the white sand shores. She rolled down the passenger side window, permitting her right hand to play with the balmy air outside, slicing through it in undulating waves. She closed her eyes and embraced the warm light spilling through the car’s windows. Longing for this paradise rippled through each of her days. He always initiated their stream of synthetically digitized interactions, forcing her to continually long for the happiness that swallowed her entirety. The technology of the future charged with eliminating the separation between people and places had been serving to remind her where she wished she was when she was not.
“Gray? Why gray?” James’s confusion was soaked in to every syllable of his response after her abrupt answer to his playful probing.
She looked over at him. At his bright green eyes focused on the gray cement ahead of him as the car rolled closer to their end.
“Well.. Gray has this way of shading a person’s perception. It happens slowly and then all at once as Hemmingway put it. You are walking down the street wearing your rose tinted glasses and then it knocks the wind out of you. And you start to see the world as it actually is, existing in absence. Like the color gray, it is found directly between white and black on the color spectrum. If you look up the word “gray” it is actually defined as being without color. And when it hits you, well then your fucked. With your eyesight no longer impaired, you notice the world around you is functioning to fill an inherent sense of absence, because it creates purpose for humanity.”
“So you’re saying I create purpose in your life?” he teased with an arrogant smirk slapped across his face.
“No. What I am saying is that you have created an absence within me..” the pain was painted upon her words as she spoke, “that I know you will never relent to fill. We, you and I, exist in a poetically tragic state of passing goodbyes. You entered my life slowly then all of sudden the gray came crashing into my world and I was not ready for it. And after I met you, the world looked uglier. You are every shade of gray I want in my life but cannot endure the continuous pain that your absence causes.”
James’s face was tight. “What airline are you flying again?” The airport terminals appeared through the front windshield offering an opportune escape from responding to her imploring explanation.
“Hawaiian Airlines,” her chest hurt as it always had from his absence.
She wanted to stay. She wanted to live her life in love with his gray. She wanted to scream out into the gray world he had created for her and she found herself trudging through each day because of him.
The car stopped. She looked over at James but her voice was absent. She slid out the passenger side of the car and gathered her backpack from the truck bed. She came around to the driver side of the car and met James standing outside smiling at her. He hugged her and she kissed him on the cheek. He leaned in to kiss her on the lips but she pushed him back. “Aw, come on, one kiss for the road. I’m going to miss you.”
“No,” She turned her face away refusing his offer of affection.
“Text me when you land,” James offered, his tone sympathetic, knowing he had escaped responding to her proclamation of want and love.
Dorian managed a smile, turned and walked toward the airport doors. James’s voice echoed against the gray world around her, “I love you, I’m sorry that I will always be gray for you. Don’t go to Bali!”
Typical she thought, ‘don’t go to Bali, but you can’t stay here’ is what he truly meant. She looked up, watched an airplane take off into the bright blue expanse of a cloudless sky, disrupting its innate beauty with its gray body, and whispered to herself while walking through the sliding glass doors of the airport, “I love you too.’