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The Colors That Swam In My Eyes


        For my entire life, I’ve been colorblind. It’s not as exciting as it seems, and some people think colorblind people see the world entirely black and white. Instead, it’s easy for me to mix up my reds and greens, because they both look brown, while pink is like a lavender gray. It’s boring, and kind of frustrating to know I’m missing out, but I can handle it. I’ve never lived any other way, so I don’t know what I’ve lost. The only times it affects my life is when I don’t know what color shirt I’m wearing, or what color apple I’ve bought. It’s not much of a problem, because I prefer grapes.

My friend Jake had recently bought a new television, and he wanted me to help set it up. I worked at a popular electronics company, Bapple, so he wanted me to help set it up. I happily agreed, and took the bus over to his house. I was greeted by a silver cat with blue eyes, and Jake opened the door. “Hi, Matthew, thanks for coming. The TV is in here, sorry this place is a mess”, he said.

“Oh, no worries!” I said as I walked in and looked at the massive box.

“That looks like a very good quality TV! We have a lot of work ahead of us.” After he offered me something to drink, we got to work. I noticed that in the instructions, there was a feature for color blindness, which he disregarded. Day blended swiftly into evening, and then night. We had completely finished setting up Jake’s expensive new television, but before he could tell me good night, I ran to the television and looked up the colorblindness app. After filling out a brief survey, much to Jake’s chagrin, I turned it on, and was immediately stunned.

Little fish of every color were swimming through my eyes, as if they were great lakes! For the first time ever, I was seeing cadmium red, indigo blue, and salmon pink, instead of the usual malachite and stone gray. I was entranced, and stared blankly at the screen, my face only a few centimeters from the pixelated screen.

“Um...Matthew? Hello?” asked Jake, waving his hand in front of my face. “Why are you staring at that colorblindness thing?”

“Because I’m colorblind!” I announced excitedly. “And I can see! Oh, I need this TV right now! Where can you get it?”

“Ohhhh, sorry. When I bought it, they were almost all sold out. People love this new TV apparently, so now, demand is going up!”

I stared at him in unwilling disbelief. It was my destiny to be able to see this marvelous array of pigments! They washed over my glossy eyes like paint. I had to be able to see them, they were an unattainable privilege, Jake didn’t understand, he didn’t know what it was like to only see shades of olive, brown, and gray. A gust of jealousy suddenly blew me over like the wind, and I quickly excused myself and went back home.

The next day, I took the bus over to the mall, a place I usually despised. There was only one TV left sitting complacently on the shelves. I dove towards it, my feet became wings and lifted me off the ground.

And then I realized that the TV was really expensive. My wages at Bapple were rather meager.

I took the bus back home, noting the somber gray clouds that hung above the city, and my mind. Fat raindrops poured down from the heavens, and I sat at home, thinking.

“Why is color so important to me? Why do I need it? Other people take it for granted, so it’s probably not that great….” I tried to convince myself. The fact was, I had tasted some of those delicious colors which I had never encountered before. Once that little seed was planted in my mind, an obsession grew like a tree. I found myself resentful of Jake and my other friends, because most of them had perfect vision! I began spending more time at Jake’s house, finding excuses to watch things on TV, like the newest golf games, and such.

“Matthew, seriously, don’t you hate golf?” he inquired.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Jake! I love every sport! Golf, Baseball, B...b…bracketball…!”

“It’s called basketball.”

“R-right! That’s what I meant!”

I sat in the awkward, olivine silence of my reality, looking over at him. He looked at me, and then seemed to realize something. “Oh, Matthew, I understand! You’re not here to watch games…you just like my TV! Haha!”

I tried every excuse in the book, but he had figured it out. I was ready to leave his house, and never see the spectrum of color again. Until he said…

“You know there are colorblindness glasses, right? They only cost a few hundred dollars.”

I paused in my tracks, and turned around to face him. “Really?” That night, he showed me what they were called, and I bought some online. While waiting for them to arrive, I realized something. It wasn’t the lack of colors holding me back…it was my own obsession!

For the first time in a few weeks, I stopped thinking about my color deficiency. Instead I decided to go upstairs, and watch some golf.

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