Coloring the Gray

By Gazel M.

Chapter I

I never really thought about it, but everytime I thought of her.. she made me angry. If what I felt for her was anger, then why was I with her?

I always had a cold heart. I never really did consider anyones feelings. Everything was ordinary. To me, everyone and everything should be treated with equity. Maybe that's why the world was so grey to me. Everyone was the same. The similarities made me see everyone as one whole. My family, friends, and my girlfriend. People just plain irritated me. My perspective is odd, but that's what you expect from me. People tried getting close to me, and I shoved them away. Thus, giving me the stereotype of a "loner". I had no ambition to get out of Amsterdam-- let alone the Netherlands. The world was the same. People, nothing had any value to me. Nor did my life. It was just one big blur, one big question, one big thing I just wanted to get rid of. I had no anticipation on what was gonna happen in the future, and words meant no value to me. I just believed things were here because they are, and that life meant no meaning. I did not suffer from depression or anything, but everything just seemed like.

Life was not worth living.


"WILLIAM!" A nasal voice could be heard from up in my room. I didn't bother to respond to that one. I lazily lay in my bed, looking up at the ceiling. I was expecting the next thing to happen. Of course, as anyone else could predict: She'd call me again. I mean, what are mothers for? "WILLIAM!" The voice got closer. More irritating, nasal. Just plain annoying. I sat up from my bed, grumbling. I looked around the room, trying to block the sun from getting into my eyes. I rubbed my opts slowly, looking around. It was just me, the bed, sunlight, and other stuff that I owned.

The door bursted open, leaving only a figure of a slim black haired dutch woman (who looked like a matron, may I add) staring at me. "William." She said sternly, her face fixiated on mine. I raised an eyebrow cockily and looked back at her, "Mother?" In a sly voice. "Get downstairs for breakfast now." She demanded. "It's my fault I get malnourished." I shrugged and looked back at her. "We're all gonna die eventually." My mother raised her arms to me, as if she was gonna slap me. She took a deep breath then walked closer to me. "Get dressed, Will. Your sister is coming." I groaned, "Abril? Oh god." My mother gave me a glare, then twitched her upper lip. "Get dressed. Joe's coming too."

"Why is Abril and Joe coming here?" I asked in my usual monotone and nonchalant voice. "Shut up and stop asking questions." My mom said irritatedly. "Just get the hell downstairs, I need you to do chores."

My mother. How could I describe my dear, dear, mother? She was.. um. Strict. Very strict. She forced everything into you. From eating meals and snacks, to doing chores, homework. I'm surprised she didn't take over my emotions too. Not like it'd change. I'd still view the world as a boring place which I hate. I hate everything equally. Including her. My family. My friends. My girlfriend.

Ugh, my girlfriend. She makes my life a lot more complicated. And dull. I treat her no different from anyone else. Cold, and distant. Yet she's still with me. She's a moron. I hate her. I've been with her for about 3 years of my life. I'm turning 17 next month, and before she wastes my youth-- I'm gonna go dump her. I don't know why yet. Hey, the later: the better. Then she'll be hurt more. But anyways, Maria is the most annoying person you'd ever meet. She was a scholar, she was also very beautiful. People think I'm lucky to have a fabricated Barbie in my grasp. Yes. She's exactly like a Barbie doll. Slim, blonde, blue-eyed, caucasian and FREAKING SLUTTY. My girlfriend's such a hormone driven whore, it drives me INSANE. Yeah, I probably should bang her because I hate her, and I'm a guy. (GUYS NEED SEX) but, I hate her. So therefore, I will not have sex with that whore. End of story. Annoying guys from school want her, and by all means-- take her. I don't really give. But she wont let go of me. I might just have to break her heart. I'm leaving her before I turn 17. Yes.

I got out of bed, the stupid sunlight still in my eyes. I left out another grumble of annoyance. I fixed the bed properly and change my day-clothes.


I headed downstairs, which my mom was preparing breakfast. Her hawk-eyes followed my figure as I sat down on the table. My dad put down his "Het Dagelijks" and gave a smug grin, "Eyyy, dere' Willy." he said with his crisp accent bothered me as he spoke every word. " Abril and Joe ere comin' you excited?" He stroked his beard as he sipped his coffee. My mom put down a plate of olliebollen and toasted bread on the table. She sat down with me and my dad. It was quiet. Until my dad started talking again.

"You excited' fer Abry and Joe comin' here, sweetie?" He drank his coffee slowly, he was looking at my mom like she was the only one who existed on this planet. My mom smiled back at my father (which I REALLY think is creepy.) and brushed her hair out of her face. "Really excited." I, for one, did not care one bit. I hated Abril and her cooking experiments. When she still lived here for her medical major in Amsterdam University, she kept HUMAN HANDS and EYEBALLS in the fridge. Which was creepy, and I hated her for it. I dont hate Joe as much as I hated Abril. Only because he was quiet and not annoying. "Willy, aren't ye excited?" My dad asked. I rolled my eyes and said in a dull, apathetic voice. "Don't care." My mom shot me a glare, "You stupid kid, you should be glad your siblings are coming, they will FINALLY bring excitement into this house." I laughed in a mocking tone, "I'm pretty sure." Her icy eyes looked to me, "Yes. I'm pretty sure. At least Joe brings his girlfriend home, and treats her with respect. What are you? You don't even take her home, nor even be affectionate with her. You have no affection at all!" My mom yelled. I laughed again. "I choose not to be, and I did bring Maria once." I took a bite out of an olliebollen with a malicious grin on my face. "And you never did ANYTHING with her." My mom argued. My dad chose not to go in. He knows not to mess with my mother when she's .. being .. a mother?

"I don't care. Just give me the chore list already." I said. She handed me the oily peice of paper, and I got up and looked at it.

- Do the dishes
- Dust from upstairs to downstairs
- Sweep floors
- Fold clothes
- Get Mail
- Come to Airport (Written in smudged words: Don't have to. Psh, surprised she ACTUALLY gave me a freaking choice)
- Get bread from the Bakery in town


I sighed. It's not much anyways. All I had to do was do the dishes (not much), dust (not much), Sweep the floors and fold clothes. Also, get mail. (In town, whatever.) Go to airport.. (Like that's a chore, I'm gonna not go anyways.) And get dinner rolls. In town, I'll most likely go to Maria's and talk to her. Possibly even leave her. Okay. I got this all planned out. I'm not so excited to see Joe and Abril, maybe because I've seen them for about .. uh. 6 years of my life?

Abril's about 22. She's studying Medical Sciences and stuff in London. Joe is a graduate, (27) and he's with some girl named Annaleise. He lives in Stockholm in Sweden. God knows why, but yeah. Abril's moving back to Amsterdam soon. I can feel myself trembling in disgust already. It was waaaay better when she WASN'T here. Sheer terror. Annoyance. Bah.

So, the house was empty. My dad went to work, and hell knows where my mom went.. I was scrubbing the dishes, annoyed on how routine and boring this was. The phone rang, I twitched slightly and dropped the plate into the sink. I walked slowly to the cordless phone and picked the ringing phone up, "Hello?" I asked in my same, dull, monotone voice.

As usual, I knew who'd call me. A cheery, girly, familiar voice responded from the other line. "HELLO WILLIAM." I rolled my eyes and gave out a loud sigh of annoyance. Her. I thought. The voice of the young woman I hated, Maria. I didn't wanna bother to respond, I hung up on her.

I went back to scrubbing the dishes, staring blankly at the water running down from the tap. I threw the dish onto the clean dishes pile, and slowly made made my way upstairs wiith the duster, and proceeded to clean.

After five minutes of dusting the already CLEAN house, I folded my clothes and shoved them into the cabinet.

I headed downstairs for mail. There was one, and it was from Aunt Clara in America. I didn't like her, or America to begin with. I took the envelope and put it on the counter. What was next on the list anyways?

The next deed to do was to go to the airport.

Yet, I just had no ambition to.


I knew what I had to do next, although. Everyday when I go to the bakery to get the rolls of bread.. I'd pass by her house.

The house of the girl I was to be paired up with, even if I had no feelings for her. The girl I had to make happy, yet I put no effort. Not even a single spurge of it. I cannot remember a time I actually loved a person, yet alone her. But yet, I was still with her. And that sole fact made me uncomfortable, it made me baffled and dumbfounded as to why I would be. I did not like her, the simple sound of her name made me shudder. I hated her. I hated her for loving me, I hated her for caring about me. And it's wrong, to say. One should be thankful a girl like her should give feelings like that to oneself. Yet, not myself.

I retained no feelings for Maria.

And why I haven't broken it off yet? I hadn't cared to. I'll let her do it first.

It was mid-afternoon, yet even so. I knew what I had to do. The return of my siblings was a huge event, where my mom and dad would spaz out because they're back. I was the sibling who was never liked, I was the sibling who was just there. Even if I was the youngest. It's weird, I never really accomplished anything for as long as I lived on this world, in this place called Amsterdam. I guess I'm just used to the fact my two older siblings.. whom which one was an Engineer and another is a doctor-in-training, hogging all the attention, thus making me the shadow. But like I care. Life's too short to be worrying anywho.

I walked outside for a bit, looking at the Amstel river. Sometimes I felt relaxed, just looking at that river. The sun would reflect at it, and at times the orange tinge hitting the dirty blue water was the only colors I saw in my gray world. Amsterdam was so big, yet I explored so little. I continued on my path.

I saw her house, and Maria was standing outside on the steps, just looking out at the Amstel river. She had a smile on, and a facial expression as if she was so excited to see me. Yet, as usual. I returned no feelings. Even if my reaction was clearly obvious, she just kept that same loving expression on. Some expression that was foreign to me, yet it was so familiar at the same time. The expression I had recieved often enough, yet I never had the feelings in my heart to give it back to anyone. I don't think I ever felt that way before, I doubt I ever will.

I doubt I will ever love anyone else.

"William.." I heard her, she came near the fence. I did not want to stop, I slowly walked past her. I could hear her calling my name, softly spoken.

"William.." I hated how she said my name. I turned to her, my expression neither warm or cold, neither loving or hating. It was the glance of someone who didn't care, someone who was a stranger. That's how I always looked at Maria. Like she never existed, and I just met her. She was nothing spectacular to me. Yet people around me tell me she's beautiful. I see no beauty, only a lone girl standing there, a girl who is blind and persistant. A girl who doesn't realize that her significant other didn't love her.

That significant other was myself. And if I were just a random person, I'd chuckle to myself and look at her in pity. Well, not in pity, but I'd go.

"What a sucker."

"Hi, William.." She said, as if nothing happened earlier. She avoided the subject and leaned in closer to me, the fence separating us. "How are you?" She titled her head, anticipating an answer. I looked to the river, and the boats that passed us by. "Whatever." I said, shrugging. She giggled, brushing her blonde waves out of her face. Her eyes were so fixed to me, as if she was trying to draw herself closer to me. "I missed you." She said quietly. "A lot.." I shifted slightly, the silence growing. I saw the dissapointment in her face, she kept on going.

"William, I love you."

I didn't respond. She leant closer to the fence, her lips touching my cheek. I stared down at the ground, I felt nothing amazing. I felt nothing. I could feel though, the sadness within her.

I don't know why I didn't break it off with her just yet, but. I don't know.

Maybe tomorrow.

I reached the inner city, and went to the bakery to get the bread that my mother had requested, I don't want to get heck from her. It's annoying and it wastes my time, when I'd rather be sitting in my room.

"The usual." I said, giving the euros to the woman at the counter. She got the bread, giving it to me in the bag. "Here you go." She said pleasantly. I silently took the bag and went out of the store, with a usual blank expression.


So I continued on my previous path home, I was just so concentrated on .. I don't know. I used the river as my guide, to lead me home. I passed by Marias house. No longer was she there. I smiled to myself due to her dissapearance, and I kept on walking. The wind was blowing softly against my face. I closed my eyes and inhaled the air. The faint scent of bread lingered from inside the brown bag I was carrying. I wasn't so fixed on reality anymore. It was just a black space, something blank. Nothing else. Darkness, complete darkness.

There was no color there, at all.

Suddenly, I heard a girl's voice call out.

"WATCH OUT!" I opened my eyes and turned, a girl who was only centimeters away from me came crashing into me with her bicycle. My eyes widened as the bike hit me, it didn't hurt much. But damn, did it sting. A flash of light came flashing through my eyes. I opened my eyes and looked at the girl. She was kneeling down with the most sorry expression.

"Oh my god.. are you okay?!" The girl said, brushing her black and red hair out of her face. I looked in her eyes, which were a sparkling violet color. It seemed unnatural, and it probably was. The way she spoke was not Dutch sounding, but more Americanized. She had her hands on mine, and I was just confused.

Who was she?

"Umm.." I said, trying to make sense of the situation at hand, "I guess.." I looked at my arm, which had a slight cut. There was blood that was gashing out, and she gasped slightly. "Oh gosh, I'm so sorry.." She whispered. She dug in her school bag and got a box of bandaids. They were one of those kid bandaids, the ones printed with like.. 'Blues Clues' or something. She took it and plastered it on my arm.

I didn't know what to do, I just sat there on the ground, confused. "I'm sorry.. I didn't see you.." She laughed nervously. "It was too late before I could reach the brakes.. my bike's really crappy.." She scratched the back of her head, smiling slightly. "Forgive me?"

"Uh.. I guess it's okay." I said, surprised not to find a hateful emotion in my system right now. The girl got up, and I observed her more.

She was neither fat, or skinny. She wasn't exactly the most beautiful person in the world, nor was she the most ugliest. It surprised me, to examine her features. She had a foreign face. She was Asian looking, with big eyes. She was dressed unusually, wearing a polkadot-bow dress and a longsleeve shirt underneath it. She had black tights on, and worn out sneakers. Her makeup was like it was neon colored, contrasting with her tan skin.

She was the most unusual person I've ever seen, and I didn't know what to make of it.

She smiled at me, and I felt really awkward. Which I have never felt before. She put her bike up from its fallen position, standing it up. Then she extended her hand at me, continuing to smile at me. I stared at her hand dumbly. Unlike myself, I took it and I felt baffled as to why I did that.

"I'll learn to be more careful." She broke her grasp from my hand, going back on her bike. "I'm sorry I hit you."

"I said its okay." I said, with slight annoyance in my voice. I felt annoyed at myself, rather than her. She nodded and adjusted her glasses. "Goobye." She said, pedalling away.

I stood there, looking her fade away from my sight. I felt confused, and such. I shook my head, and walked back to my home direction.

Maybe it was the damn impact.

"Ohhh Williammmmm..." I saw the menace herself, standing in the main hallway. It was my sister, Abril. She still looked the same as I saw her, when she left for London. She was slimmer and much more taller. She still had the same long dark hair, the same pale face, and same annoying aura she possessed. Needless to say, she was a MUCH MUCH more annoying version of my mom.

Abril ran to me and gave me a big hug, and I groaned. I shuddered and stood there.

"Distant as usual.. huh?" Abril said sadly. "I was hoping a female influence would change you."

Haha, a woman, change me? Fuck that.

"Hah, yeah right." I broke free from her grasp, walking into the kitchen. I could hear her say to my mom, sitting on the couch, "Mom, he's still the same." And she'd say plainly, "He'll never change."

And the day I change is the day I die. It didn't seem like it, but I'm actually SLIGHTLY content with my life. Even though I think life is worthless.

"Hey, William." My brother and his girlfriend, Annaleise, were standing in the kitchen. "Hey, Joe." I said. "Hey, William." Annaleise smiled. I didn't bother with her, because I plainly didn't like her. I saw the concern and dissapointment in both their faces. I put the bread on the table and walked to the stairs, up to my room.


"Is your brother always that.. distant?" Annaleise said, looking at Joe. Joe nodded. "He's.. different.. still the same, when I left. He was so quiet, he'd add some slight remarks, but he seldom talked back.."

"He was never an enthusiastic guy. He never showed much emotion." Joe walked to the bread bag, pouring the rolls onto the big bowl. "Since he turned 4, he's never shed a tear in his life..." He drifted. Annaleise smiled sadly and nodded.

I sat on my bed, looking out the window. The river was there, just flowing along. Boats passed by, and the sun was soon to set. I saw the sun, I visualized the big flash I saw. Like, it was sort of the first flash I've seen in my dark chain of thoughts. All I thought was in black, then the light just bolted through my head. With the light, I saw that same girl. The girl who left her name unsaid, the girl who ran me over, was sorry, and I showed no anger towards her. The girl who looked different, and showed unaffectionate kindess to me. That same girl, who I wont probably see in my lifetime again, was just haunting and lingering my thoughts repeatedly.

It bothered me. Yet, I couldn't get that facial expression out of my head. The way she took my hand, put a bandaid on my arm, and looked at me with her violet eyes. She looked and seemed so different.

Maybe it was her oddness that made me think, I've never seen anyone like her in Amsterdam before.

I looked at my arm, the bandaid placed on it so nicely. There wasn't even blood anymore.

I wonder where she was headed to in such a hurry, and why I thought about this. It's not like I know her, it's not like I'll ever see her face again, it's not like I'll have an opportunity to talk to her, even if it was a few words.


She's still in my head.

And I hate myself for it.

I smelled the faint scent of curry that made its way upstairs, I looked at the door open. It was my sister. I blinked multiple times, shaking my head. I was snapping back into the world. I asked Abril coldly, "What are you doing here?" Abril turned to go out the door, "Dinners ready." She smiled, "I cooked."

"I can tell." I said, standing up. I was kind of hungry. "Who else cooks non-Dutch here?" She walked out the door, laughing. I smirked and headed down the stairs with my sister.


We all sat down around the dining table, which was fuller than I was used to. There used to be five of us, now six of us were dining. Annaleise was now with us, Joe's girlfriend of about 5 or more years.

Abril was running around the kitchen, giving us a full course meal. In such short time, she can produce only so much. She should've been a chef rather than a doctor, because she's also good at that. Another thing a sibling has accomplished that I have not myself.

The bread was on the table, butter and such. She had samosas on the table for I guess, an appateizer. Also some vegetables which looked like salad. We were all eating, people having their own conversations. Suddenly, Joe spoke up.

"Mom, Anna and I have an announcement to make." He said, smiling happily. My mom and dad's eyebrows arched, soon, everyones eyes were to Joe and Annaleise's direction.

"A week ago, I asked Anna to marry me." Joe smiled. Annaleise showed her ring placed on her finger, which I swear I havent seen before. She looked contented and cuddled up against my brother. My mom burst out of her chair, all excited. "Joe! That's wonderful! Are you planning to stay in Amsterdam..?" She looked hopeful. Joe shook his head. "I'm staying in Stockholm, in Sweden."

"Where's the wedding gonna be?" My dad asked in an excited tone. "It's going to be here, in Amsterdam." Then he turned to his fiancee, "Of course, the civil marriage is going to be at Stockholm.. in a few months."

"I'm so happy for you.." My mom said. Abril nodded, "God, Joe. It's about time." Then she teased, standing up and getting the main course. Which was, Aloo gobi. Some type of curry. She placed it on the table along with hot steaming rice. She nudged me, "When's Willy gonna get married?" She grimaced.

"Never." I said plainly, getting some rice.

"Never say never." Joe said. "You're still young, but I'm sure you'll fall in love when you least expect it."

"Wow.. I never realized it.." I said. "I never realized that.."

"He's right?" My mom said.

"I never realized he's so damn corny. That's gay, Joe." I took my glass of water and drank it. Joe just laughed, and my mom glared at me. Abril then continued on, "Then who's your girlfriend daddy's been telling me about?" I turned to my dad, he just shrugged and nodded.

"Why didn't you invite her to dinner?" She asked me again/

Because I don't fucking love her.

"She's not worth the trouble." Joe and Annaleise looked at each other as if I said something wrong. My mom shook her head, and my dad coughed. "You shouldn't say that about her.. I mean.. you love her, right?"


I just laughed and stood up, "I'm skipping whatever dessert you have." I didn't even excuse myself and took my plates. I placed them on the sink and walked upstairs.

"Doesn't he love her?" Abril asked, and those were the last words I heard.