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Grade
10

They told me it would look like mud, but all I could see was the depths of the earth.

The rich, deep soil that nourished the most radiant of flowers.  A winter-bound leaf falling from an amber tree. Melted chocolate emitting a sweet smell in a bakery.  A ray of sunlight filtering through a glass of whiskey. Strong, dark coffee, white cream swirling in the steam.

A thousand images flashed before my dull blue eyes as I got lost in hers.  I had seen them in pictures before, documentaries, textbooks, the whole liking.  I knew what they looked like. I knew the color. But to see them now, in person, with my own…

Why had it been removed?

“As you can see,” the tour guide continued, her drone projecting from the back of our group, “this young woman possesses the brown-eyed gene, which was the first to be removed from the human gene sequence in twenty eighty-one.  The brown-eyed gene has been extinct for sixty-four years, longer than both the green, yellow, and grey-eyed genes.”

Her scripted words meant as much to me as I’m sure they meant to herself.  We all knew the stats; they’d been taught to us in every history class since the fourth grade.  The entire human race was one stinking example of the mutation of genetics and the Strive Towards Perfection movements in twenty ninety.  There was nothing in the books left to learn.

Which was why I had begged for the last spot on the tour.

My grades were good.  Honors classes, the standard piano lessons, track practices, blah, blah  I managed to never get anything lower than a B. But these kids, the rest of my stuck up group never failed to get lower than an A+.  I had to beg and plead and make promises that I knew I could never fulfill to earn the last spot on the educational Tour of the Past, meant only for students going into history fields.  

I don’t know why, but some part of me knew that the year twenty nineteen would be worth it.  I was so insanely sick of staring at the same frigid blue eyes that my family, friends, and teachers possessed.  They were pedestrians on the street, the guy behind the cash register, the dogs thrown in the pound. They were in my face, in the same mirror every single day.  

“Disgusting.”

I involuntarily turned my head around at the source of the voice.  It was Owen Smith, shaking his head and taking a picture.

Of course.  How could I expect anything else from our blue-eyed class president?

The girl picked up the small silver tube, the same one she’d used two times already, and began putting the paste onto her eyelashes again.  They were so short, nothing like today’s eyelashes, and the paste barely did anything to lengthen them. She did it expertly, making sure that each individual hair was covered.  Even through the jerking movements of her dancing and her off-key singing, she managed to put it on without smudging.

“The song playing is called Despacito, a popular song written by the famous composer Justin Bieber.”  The tour guide added, speaking mainly to Owen. A few murmurs from the students could be heard, likely from the music-lovers.  Pop-culture students, the ones who were obsessed with old composers, like Ariana Grande, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Maroon Five, along with Justin Bieber.  

“Bieber’s music is famously known for beginning the tradition known as Homecoming, a ritual dance done by people from ages fourteen to eighteen.  Homecoming symbolized the start of a new beginning to the educational cycle, one that, unlike today’s, only lasted eight months of the year. This woman is preparing herself for Homecoming.”

She spent so much time around the eyes.  A thousand shades of powder, several layers of paste, a crayon, and a weird pointy paint thing.  When she was done, she leaned forward into the mirror, coffee eyes circulating her face to make sure that everything was in place, everything was how she wanted it.  She decided it was, I think.

A huge smile broke across her face.  

Incidentally, the corners of my mouth tilted up with her’s.  Her cinnamon eyes squinted in delight and a small intent made its way onto her cheek.  The abnormalities of dimples would never have been allowed today. It was disturbing and unusual at first, but after a moment I came to see how dreamy they looked on her bronze skin.  I had only ever seen them in the books before.

“Yes, queen!”

Her voice was filled with such pride and vigor and happiness that I nearly jumped back in awe.  I knew what she meant by the term “yes, queen,” of course. We had annotated texts that used the language; stories filled with historically famous quotes.  "Yes queen," "bae," "hit the whip."  Though the books made me yawn, it was fascinating to see terms being used in the atmosphere of twenty nineteen.  

Why was she so happy?

It was a strange thing to see.  In the textbooks, anyone you saw with brown eyes was always frowning, arms crossed and head hanging down shamefully.  The color represented the lower class, the only people who couldn’t afford the procedure and lighten the color. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t something to be flaunted or proud of.  At least, that’s what they told us.

I hoped that the rest of the group couldn’t see how intensely I was watching her.  

“And just ahead of us, we have the Space Odyssey Trials of twenty seventy-four.”

What?

Panic surged to my head as the people surrounding me began to migrate forward with the tour guide.  Why were they leaving so soon? Had I gotten so lost in her eyes that I lost track of time? I didn't want to leave.  Twenty nineteen seemed like such an amazing place, filled with dimples and Homecoming and pretty brown eyes. I wanted to cling as hard as I could to the warm coffee of her eyes and stay there, away from the cold-hearted blue eyes that plagued the world.  I wanted to just stay there, in twenty nineteen.

“Right this way.”

State
OH
Zip Code
44107