The Majesty of Colours
Sometimes a fuzzy picture came to mind; an image blurred and patched and creased with time. An image- a glimpse- of her mother's face: green eyes bright against brilliant, rustic copper hair. It was a fond memory; a beautiful memory… her most colourful memory.
Memories like those of her mother came and went like a tide; filling her up and then leaving her cold and empty. She could no longer remember which of those beautiful images- which of those beautiful colours- were real and which she had created. It had been too long since her eyes had seen. The more time passed, the more she forgot. The more she forgot, the more she hated herself for forgetting. The disturbing, endless cycle often left her in tears; mourning the loss of something she never really had.
He was torn between curiosity and disgust; watching this man's mouth move, watching colourful words fly from his lips. Settling for disgust (despite that annoying little voice from his anger management class) he wondered whether or not the man understood just how repugnant he came across. The ugly colours of his words permeated the space between them, mingling with his less-than-fresh breath.
"Enough of this," he murmured, watching his own words mix briefly in the air with the salesman's.
"Goodnight," he spoke brusquely, shutting the door with a tight snap in the man's face.
Resting his back against the closed door, he could hear the salesman mutter darkly about the 'manners of kids today' as he headed towards the house that belonged to the next unfortunate soul who answered the doorbell's call. A grin split his face at his own sarcastic thoughts, and he locked the door before ambling back to the den, where his father and his movie were waiting.
"Who was at the door?" his father queried without raising his head from his head from his laptop.
Moving back to the couch he plopped himself down and stretched out along the soft leather, groping a moment for the remote through the darkness.
"No one," he replied easily, his words disappearing in the darkness as he hit play.
"Ah," his father's reply was drowned out by a boorish Hollywood action sequence.
"Annabel, please." Her father called up the stairs. "We're going to be late if you insist on being so stubborn!"
"That's the idea," she shot back, crossing her arms in defiance. Her cane stuck out awkwardly, but her father couldn't see that.
"Annabel," her father repeated with a sigh, clomping up the stairs.
Annabel felt the vibrations through her feet, counting the seconds until her father would be upon her. Leaning against the wall, she let her cane rest beside her, and she refolded her arms.
"I'm tired of all these useless appointments," she did her best to control the anger in her voice, but it was harder said than done.
"I don't want to be dragged into another office to see another doctor just so that they can tell me I have a one-in-a-million chance of getting my sight back. I don't even know if it's worth it anymore."
"Annabel, you don't mean that," she felt him slide down the wall beside her to the floor. After a few moments of his expectant silence, she joined him.
"Look, I know this is tough, and I understand the pressure all this must put on you, but this new doctor shows a lot of potential. He's already done several successful surgeries already! I really think he's going to help us out."
"What do you mean?" Hysteria, against her will, crept slowly into her voice. She edged away from her father before lurching to her feet.
"You don't know a bit about how it feels to be blind! I don't want your pity, or his pity. I don't want any of it! I just want to be left alone! I'm tired of people walking on their tiptoes around me!!"
"Annabel, honey," her father began, but she cut him off, her voice shrill.
"No! Stop it! I'm tired, Dad, I don't want any of this anymore. None of it."
She threw her cane at her approximation of his position, but was left strangely unsatisfied at his grunt of pain. The bitter sting of tears in her eyes made her sob, and she slumped against the opposite wall of the hallway, joining her father once again on the ground.
"Annabel," her father placed a warm hand on her shoulder; comforting her, despite her uncanny accuracy and the newly-forming bruise on his shin.
"Just one more time, okay? After this doctor, no more, I promise. And we can even look into a guide dog, okay?"
Ah- the magic word.
"A dog?" Annabel practically choked on her sniffle.
Annabel quickly weighed her options. Another (perhaps the millionth) trip to a doctors… but then… a dog. Her very own guide dog! Annabel hmmed a moment longer, but she felt a grin of excitement stretch across her face despite her anger.
"Okay," she did her best to sound aloof through her sniffles and her smile.
"What is it this time?" his father thundered over the phone.
"Who- how'd you know it was me?" he proclaimed, watching his father's words float lazily out of the earpiece.
"Caller ID," came his waspish reply. "I recognize the school's number. Now, pray tell, what have you done this time?"
"So… if it was a secretary, would you have replied the same way?" the boy grinned, winking at the younger (coincidentally, the cuter,) of the two secretaries.
"No," his father replied with a sigh. It sounded like a deflating tire; he could picture his father cupping his forehead with his elbow propped up on his desk. He did his best to withhold his sarcastic comment despite his mental image. "Just call it a father's intuition."
"Don't you have the phrase a little mixed up there, doc?"
So he couldn't help himself.
"Jude." Uh-oh… his Dad whipped out the 'stern-doctor' tone. "Hand the phone over."
Passing the phone over to the impatient secretary (coincidentally, the ugl- older- of the two,) Jude watched as his father's words fizzled into the stuffy air.
"Dr. Fitzgerald, your son-" the secretary was cut off by his father, though his words were little more than misshapen blobs. He wondered what his father was ranting on about. His 'record', no doubt.
"Yes; the principal is busy, so-"
More garbled words from the other end of the phone.
"Of course, though it isn't necessary-"
A raised voice, now- god, what crawled into his father's pants and died today?
"Quite all right… yes, I will. Yes, yes, of course. Yes. Sorry for the trouble."
A loud voice; though Jude noted his father was no longer yelling. Dulcet tones of blue drifted from the phone. Apologetic.
"I understand. Have a nice afternoon- all right."
She hung up the phone gingerly, with two hands; as if afraid she would smash it into the cradle unwillingly.
"Jude Fitzgerald," she spoke his full name.
Why? He was the only one in there, other than the other bimbo of a secretary. Who else could she possibly be addressing? He was tempted to reply, 'Who?' but wisely, he remained silent.
"Your father will be here in fifteen minutes to pick you up. Gather your books, and wait for him by the front benches, please. The principal will deal with you tomorrow."
Jude needed no more encouragement; he simply turned on his heel and disappeared out the door of the stuffy main office, glad to be leaving school grounds even if his Dad was in a pissy mood.
"Beats school," he shrugged, weaving his way through small indecipherable clouds of words that leaked from classrooms into the hallways on his way to the front doors.
Annabel frowned. She couldn't tell where they were; her father had turned from the familiar network of streets in her neighbourhood and they were now approaching what she knew to be unfriendly territory: the doctor's office.. The brakes squeaked in protest as the car slowed to a stop, her father abruptly parking before hurrying around the nose of the vehicle and hustling her out of the passenger seat.
Her younger sister, Lizzie, waited patiently; asleep. When they had hit highway, Annabel, no longer having a method of keeping tabs on her location, had begun counting Lizzie's little breaths. Her father deftly unbuckled the small girl from her car seat, and hoisted her up onto his shoulder. Using his other hand at the small of Annabel's back, he led her gently into the building.
After a trip up the elevator and a brief walk down the hall, they emerged into the doctor's office right on schedule. Annabel composed herself as gracefully as she could in one of the waiting room chairs, resting her cane on one of her folded legs while her father, Lizzie in tow, went to sign her in.
"Mr. Ross," the receptionist called a moment later. "Dr. Fitzgerald has been called to fetch his son from school, so he will be a little late."
"I see," her father replied. "Thank you."
Annabel felt as he sunk into a chair beside her, and deposited Lizzie between them. The waiting room was silent between the gentle clacking of the receptionist's fingers on her keyboard and a clock ticking somewhere to her right. She heard her father's gentle breathing slow to a pace similar to that of Lizzie's, and she realized that he had fallen asleep. Sighing, she rearranged herself; sitting up straighter, crossing her ankles, resting her elbows on the arms of the chair. She could feel welcome warmth pooling around her, and realized it was the sunlight from a window.
Her mind drifted back into her memories, pieces missing; playing like a broken record. Sunlight shone through the trees; they were outside- her mother, smiling brilliantly, laughing. Her hair was a fiery halo around her face in the sun, and her eyes a brilliant shade of grassy green. The familiar pang of loneliness and sting of tears snapped her out of her reminiscing, and her eyes refocused on the gentle redness of the sun on her closed eyelids. A quiet clicking caught her attention; a new sound added to the mix of the clock and the receptionist's keyboard.
It took her a moment of careful examination, but as the sound got louder, she realized it was approaching the doctor's office; and she recognized it immediately.
The doctor was here.
Voices accompanied the steps now, and Annabel could tell that one of them- no, wait- both of them- were boys. She turned her face back into the sun, feeling the patterns of sun and clouds whisper across her skin.
A startling slam seemed to echo through her head as the door to the office whipped open, two bickering males moving through the threshold several decibels louder than they should have been. Annabel's father and sister were startled out of their slumber and rose abruptly, searching for the cause of the panic.
"Sorry about that," the deeper voice seemed to realize himself, and his tone was sheepish. Annabel held herself still, unsure of what to do. She could tell that he was addressing the three of them, and she knew that he was little more than a few arm's lengths away from where she was sitting, but she was more curious about the other voice- the one who had fallen silent when they had burst through the doorway. "My name is Mitchell Fitzgerald, sorry about the delay," his tone sharpened at the end of the sentence, and Annabel could picture the frown on his face as he glared at who she presumed was his son. "But please just call me Mitch; it's less of a mouthful."
"Quite all right," Annabel heard her father's reply, and an accompanying rusting of clothes as he rose, likely to shake the doctor's hand.
"And who are these lovely young ladies?" the doctor's smile, again, was tangible.
"My name's Lizzie!" Annabel heard her sister chirp. Annabel imagined that Lizzie was smiling in that pleasant, adorable way that young children do. "Plezure to meet you," she giggled, slurring her 's'.
"And you," the doctor chuckled.
The silence that followed made her father uneasy, she knew, but Annabel felt bile rise in her mouth. She hated doctors. Why did this one have to be so pleasant? If he had been unpleasant- if his voice had not been so deep and rich and exotic, then perhaps Annabel would have found it easier to hold her silence and let her father speak for her, as he inevitably would have.
"Annabel," she spoke softly, her voice almost a whisper.
Another pregnant pause filled the waiting room, and Annabel wondered what kinds of looks were being shared by those who were gathered in the room. And then, the silence was broken.
"Annabel," Dr. Fitzgerald's voice sounded softly. "It's nice to meet you."
A/N: Well, this is a short story that I wrote for my Writer's Craft class. I haven't gotten my mark back yet, so I don't know how I did... it was supposed to be 5 pages, though, and I ended up going more than a few pages over... heheheh...
This story will be posted in three installments, when I can, so that I can edit them before posting. This is the only section that I've gone through more than once so far. Please be sure to let me know what you thought; and be sure to point out anything that I missed (spelling, grammar, ect.) and ask about anything you're unsure about!!