I haven't wanted to be this alone for a long time. Distant. Off. Walking outside in the gloom--I mean...this terrible gray gloom! With bright faces walking to their next class.
My eyes are green, but the rest of me is gray. And I stay----'''__' 'gray.
When I say gray, I mean it. I'm donning the one pair of boots I'll wear in the winter, leggings that aren't technically to dress code, the white shirt and braided hair that I slept in--all of it doesn't seem gray, but then you look at my slippery knee-length coat that's ruined with paint that I pray to [god] looks better on my friends wall than in does on me. It's a washed out and sad color, and when I look in the bathroom mirror on the fourth floor and wipe off flakes of residual make-up from yesterday, I catch sight of it and put it to my face.
Maybe...well, some paint might have rubbed off onto me. That would explain the dull color. I rub my cheek. Nothing comes off, but my skin comes to life there. So I rub more life into myself: I slap my face and smooth my eyebrows and bite my lips and scratch my arms. If anything is worse than gray it's pink and now I'm pink and I start to panic
because at this point I've been looking at myself for too long and
I stop recognising me--just this raw, hysterical, pink stranger STARING at me! almost pulls her hair out by the roots. this mousy gray-brown hair... disgusting--
Of course someone walks in. No one is ever in this bathroom. That's why I came here.
"Oh...are you okay?" They ask. I avoid eye contact and think she must be a professor because... those shoes.
"it's just my hair and this...goddamn coat," i take it off and drop it and squish my face with my hands
"Do you need anything?" She sounds worried. And I think that's really nice of her.
"that's really nice of you," I tell her. But I shake my head and explain that I left my medication at home because I haven't needed it for a really long time and so I might just have to ride this one out without it. ..."alone," I try to hint.
"I need a minute in here anyway," she says. She takes off her coat, picks mine up and hangs them both on a stall. "This could help." She holds out a little white pill that I know. "Just don't tell anyone." She starts fixing herself in the mirror and I swallow the pill dry.
I know I should be more concerned with how I come off to people, but it's just not the first thing on my mind right now, you know? And she has my pills so she's probably seen something like this before. I'm sitting on the floor with my knees pulled up to my chin, watching her do her hair. I say, "You're beautiful. Is your hair really that color?"
She smiles and thanks me and explains that, no, it's not real. Her natural color is a little bit lighter and less chocolatey--"kind of like yours." I start to really cry, and I feel bad because I know it's making her uncomfortable because she doesn't know what to do.
"Look," she says a minute later. My ears are ringing now and I try to listen hard because I think what she says next might be important. "I don't really want to know what's happening to you...but none of us know what the hell we're doing. And some of us say we know, especially around here, but I think that most of us just really hope we're doing the right thing. I don't buy religion because they all say they're right, but they can't all be right. Maybe it's bad that I'm not trying to figure it out, but maybe it really doesn't matter. I don't know..." she trails off. They were nice words and I appreciate her for trying even though she kind of missed the mark.
"Your hair is beautiful, too," she adds, and, "I hope you feel better soon."
I thank her while she leaves.
Now I need to breathe and calm down, but I lift myself up a little to peek in the mirror. I'm still pink. Red, even, so I sit back down