A Dark Tale
They named me Green, after the colour.
Green like the springtime. Green like my mother’s eyes.
How disappointed she was when I didn’t inherit those same jade tones.
“Her name makes no sense now,” she lamented, waving cigarette clouds over my crib.
My father comforted her, turned her away from the sight of me. "She’s still young. Her eyes will change,” he promised.
And change they did, but not to green.
Instead, I was gifted the same watery blues as him, waned and weakened through generations of recessive design. Colour blind, to ensure her absolute dismay.
“She’ll never know how pretty my eyes are now,” she sobbed into his apologetic arms, and she was right.
I saw the world in displaced hues, sometimes red, sometimes blue—never green. I saw her eyes as angry pinholes—never pretty.
My father did his best to show me the beauty of my namesake. We collected pine needles at Christmas and planted sweet peas in the fall. We made friends with the glass frogs that visited our garden. In the summer, he would muddle fresh mint leaves into the palm of my hand and tell me to breathe in real deep.
“You spoil her,” my mother scolded when he presented me with an emerald pendant for my ninth birthday.
He waved away her disapproval, and for three days I cherished that precious gem, studying all its gleams and glistens and mossy caverns...then the garbage disposal jammed and I never saw the stone again.
They named me Green, like the colour, and over the years I came to know it well.
Green like the lawn my father neglected. Green like the cash he didn’t earn enough of. Green like the too-thick lime in his too-many gins. Eventually, he waved goodbye from a green taxi and I chased that colourless cab right down the road.
“Stop fussing”, my mother said, dragging me back to the house with a menthol in her hand. “If he loved you, he wouldn’t have left.”
And then it was just me and her. The pine needles turned brown, the frogs stopped visiting, the herb garden died.
It was just me, my mother and a world without green.
“You’ve overcooked the spinach again,” she complains, pushing her plate away.
I apologise, mid-tuck. “I’ll fix you some more.”
“Don’t bother. My appetite is ruined.”
She’s weak now, saving the last of her energy to wield that viper tongue. She watches as I load the tea trolley, condemnation cocked and ready.
“It’s a lovely day, Mother. Why don’t I take you out in the sunshine for a while?”
“You left me out to burn last time.”
I didn’t but I know better than to argue by now. “How about a nice green tea?”
“I'll take black,” she says. “I don’t like green.”
“The doctor says you can’t have black tea.”
“I’ll have a cigarette then.”
“You can’t have one of those either.” I plump her pillows and she slaps me away, her hand all veins and crepe paper skin.
“If I’m going to die,” she says, “I’ll do it with a cigarette between my fingers. Inside, thank you very much. Too damn green out there.”
The walk to the store is a long one.
I take the shortcut through the woods, ignoring the pine needles that crunch beneath my feet.
“How’s your mother, Green?” asks Mr Irving from amongst the canned beans.
“Dying,” I reply.
He nods, sympathetic. Then, “Menthols?”
We make our regular transaction and he presses the cigarette packet into my hand, sighing and well-wishing as he rings up the sale.
I pass the box back. “These are the wrong ones.”
“No, they’re definitely her brand. See?” He points to the logo. It’s her brand all right–same name, same bold font, same cool and minty rhetoric.
But there is something different about this packet. An unfamiliar color that outlines each of the letters, a swoosh of the same foreign hue just underneath.
“What is this?” I ask.
He’s confused, but not for the same reason I am. “It’s green.”
I take the shortcut home again but this is not the path I remember.
As I walk, the forest rises up around me, oozing chlorophyll into the trees like an artist’s brush, becoming more magnificent, more viridescent with every step. First the maples, then the laurels, then the pines. I scoop the needles off the ground and marvel at their vibrancy.
It’s green. It’s all green!
I run home and burst into the house, tossing the menthols on the kitchen counter. “Mother!”
There’s a silence in the air, a calm that wasn’t there before. The air feels lighter, brighter somehow.
I find her in her bed, motionless, still warm, no pulse. Her eyes are open.
They are the most beautiful shade of malachite, just like she always said.
“So pretty, Mother,” I tell her.
I close them, one by one, and my world grows greener.
About the Creator
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Original narrative & well developed characters
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
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Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Wow. I immediately connected to your main character here… This piece was a journey and I just felt a huge weight lift at the end. Beautifully written ❤️
I think I found this just in time for the ushering in of Spring. Fantastic, as always.
Great one!! Thanks for writing. I am new around here, can you look at my writings as well and let me know if you liked it. https://vocal.media/poets/blue-moon-ka77gr01qz https://vocal.media/horror/strange-land-part-1
Just wow 👏👏👏
This is so real.
This is so, so beautiful. Absolutely captivating and very emotional. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this piece!
So great! Great writing
gorgeous writing! Very engaging story!
whoa, that was a journey. i loved all the different threads woven through it!
Very poignant and yet realistic
This story is beautifully written and has so much poetry and symbolism to it! I am in love with the theme of this. I could read a story about every color by you. :) I'll definitely be checking out more of your work! ❤️ Subscribed
I enjoyed reading this :) well done.
You made me care about Green right off the bat. Home run, and score! Excellent story.
This was a very compelling story and written so elegantly. Wonderful work. I truly enjoyed the read :)
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Your words really resonated with me, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to read them. I'm now a big fan of your work, and can't wait to see more of your writing in the years to come.
This was enjoyable to read and the ending made it simply wonderful.
Terrific story, incredibly written. Prose, plot, THEME — this one is firing on all cylinders. I kneel!
This gave me chills. I was completely transported into that world!
Astonishing and impeccably edited.