Zach Schroeder

Grey

"Six weeks ago, I woke up and everything around me was grey. I know it sounds spectacularly made up and like I am, perhaps, hallucinating - and have been for the past weeks. However, I have experienced no decrease in productivity at work, my relationships have improved, and I find myself in tremendous physical shape."

Teresa shifts in her seat next to Trevor; she isn't sure what to think.

Trevor continues. "It was not gradual, if you're wondering. It came all at once. I woke up on November 11 th and all the shades of colours around me had turned to grey. Even now, I cannot tell you the specific colour of anything in this office, only the differences in the shades of grey."

"At first I thought it was a cognitive issue, due to the lack of symptoms of mental sickness, and so I went to the Opticians. They thoroughly tested my eyesight only to find it had actually improved with the new developments. The optician recommended me to get a scan of my head."

"After running my head through every machine they could find; the doctors, having most likely not believed me in the first place- sent me to you. I understand my situation is unique and you, like all of the others before you, do not believe me. I will neither try to convince you of my affliction's existence nor will I expect you to believe it. I only ask that if you do think I am lying, at least humour me. Treat me as you would a child playing a game in his imagination."

Teresa, the psychiatrist sitting in the chair opposite of Trevor, taps her pen against a school bus yellow notepad.

"I do believe you, Trevor," she says, "I believe you fully."

Trevor looks at the ground in front of his feet. "Thank you."

Teresa offers Trevor a tissue. He pats the moisture from his eyes. Both are wearing professional clothing to a deeply personal arrangement.

"I want you to tell me about the day before all of this happened. Everything up until the moment you went to sleep- the night before you saw grey."

Trevor laughs from behind red streaked eyes.

"It was a normal day. Work went well, new clients came into the office and I put on a demonstration of our new product: 'Sightless Headphones-a recently released gadget from the R&D department'. If you are curious, they are tiny Bluetooth headphones small enough to stick in your ear and have no one notice. We think they are going to be a big hit with teens, which, of course, is the most profitable demographic to target. The meeting went spectacularly well; they invested nearly 20 percent more than anticipated-"

"Trevor". Teresa interrupts, "Let's move on to what happened after work, your personal life, please."

Trevor grunts and checks his cell phone for the sixth time of the session. "Not much to say in terms of my personal life. In that, nothing has changed that could possibly affect my mental health," Trevor said.

"My marriage is 20 years strong; my daughter is graduating from Cornell in the fall and has many opportunities waiting for her, law school among them."

"Their names?" Teresa asks.

"Jessica is my daughter and Kate is my wife."

"Did you see both of them that night?"

"Yes," Trevor looks at the ceiling in thought, "After work. I said hello and then finished some work upstairs in my office. Later, Kate called me down for dinner. It was a good dinner, salmon with wild rice-"

"Did anything memorable happen during dinner?" Teresa prods.

"It was delicious really. Although, I suppose me and my daughter did have a rather passionate disagreement over the course of the meal."

"An argument of what nature?"

"Political. She has her head in the right place, but," Trevor sighs, "The naivety of youth can be astounding."

"She's a radical?" Teresa asks judgment absent from her tone.

"No, far from it." Trevor thinks, "It just upsets me greatly that someone so intelligent can dismiss her father's opinion so easily."

"Easier than you dismiss hers?"

Trevor checks his phone for the seventh time in the session.

"While our time is up, Trevor, I would like to give you some advice."

"Please." The portly man looks over to the therapist with hope in his eyes.

"I ask you to remember that we are not our opinions. Opinions come from a coagulation of the media you consume and the possibility of social acceptance from the people around us. You are not your political positions, and neither is your daughter."

"I'm not quite sure what you're getting at." Trevor's face has turned a slight pink.

"When your daughter insults or diminishes your political points you are taking it as an assault on your very person, your ego is blinding you to the fact that your daughter has become intelligent enough to have a battle of wits with you over dinner. Appreciate that. She is not a little girl anymore." Teresa replies.

"And this will help me with my eyesight in what way?" Trevor asks, indignant.

"It is only advice."

The two adults stand as Teresa walks Trevor to the elevator.

"Thank you," Trevor says as the doors close and the elevator dings, sending him to the ground floor.

Trevor exits the marble floored lobby into the bustling street outside, grey cars pass grey people. He hears a little girl crying.

Trevor looks over to see a child in absolute dismay, tears flowing down the child's face as the mother next to her pleads her to be quiet.

In this midst of the chaos- this loud storm in the ocean of people surrounding them, Trevor notices the girl's tear filled eyes are the most vivid blue he has ever seen.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Zachary Schroeder is a freelance writer out of Austin, Texas. He recently graduated from Texas Tech University and is working on his first novel along with an anthology of short stories. Twitter: https://twitter.com/zschroeder342 Website: https://writtenbyzach.wordpress.com/