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Even though she was smart, even though she was pretty, even though she had the voice of an angel — she wore an eye-patch, and that made her pirate girl. Sometimes they would ask where the treasure was buried, sometimes they would draw a red cross on her textbook, sometimes they would pretend to use wooden rulers as make-shift peg-legs, sometimes they would simply shout at her: “Ahoy, me hearties!”, or “Yo ho ho!”, or “Shiver me timbers!”
High-school was daunting enough without this cosmetic affliction. Most frustrating is that Violet didn’t even need the damned thing. She was perfectly content with the colour of her left eye, and perfectly content… enamoured with the life it showed her. But the shame had been drilled into her deeply, and she could not remove the patch in this world: it was an action that her body was incapable of executing.
She still has friends, two really great ones actually. Through her blue right eye — the “normal” one, existing on “normal” Earth — there was Patrick. And through her red left eye there was Pace. Violet could see, touch, smell, hear, and — if she felt the need — taste Patrick. Violet could only see Pace, and this upset her, as all she had ever wanted, since she could first conceive the odd behaviour of her left eye, was to touch Pace. She desired to touch the young man because he was so very different, so unique, beautiful… and beyond reach… unobtainable. An unquenchable frustration seemingly, as the pair had conjured countless convergence schemes — each to no avail.
The people of Red-world — and Violet had seen only Pace in person — were almost human: differing in the slopes of their brow, the sharpness of their ears, the calibre of their eyes, the faint blueish tone of their skin, the pronounced attenuation of their bodies.
Violet called Pace’s world “Red”, as that was the colour of the optical organ she used to perceive it. Light from the Red-world was visible to every able inhabitant of that reality. And for reasons unknown, Violet of Blue could see it too.
How did Violet’s parents respond to her gift? Well, why do you think she wears the black eye-patch? They impose this veil upon their daughter in front of themselves and the rest of their world. She is free in only the confines of her room. Outside of her zone she is a pirate — Yarrr!
It is a bright day, absent of clouds, weak with wind. A fig tree shields a young man and woman from inexorable streams of sunlight beating down upon the stretch of grass on which they lay. The lawn is freshly cut, and it emits a distressing odour that many have come to enjoy.
The young man is Patrick. Customarily, he is attempting to test the boundaries of Violet’s friendship. Occasionally he generates momentum with this venture, but it is always arrested upon Violet’s returning to her house. Patrick — the poor guy — has no comprehension at all of the reasoning behind this. He stows his hormonal emotions inside under immense pressure.
Violet is day-dreaming through the words of her devotee. She imagines that he is Pace — that they lay side-by-side in Blue… or even in Red… Yes, Red would be better. Both Pace and herself — fully tangible, awake in sensual totality. Violet tightens the sharpness of her delusion and perceives the sensation of running her hands along Pace’s flat chest, combing the fine strands of his silver head, groping the lean muscles of his forearm. She recites lyrics in her head. Song has been the clearest method of communication so far discovered: the closest they can be in all that they have tried.
This place dims ever, you brighten.
To the world of Red, I travel,
To be with you, be with you.
See you, no more,
I will feel you now, feel you now.
Blue-world, no more…
Violet’s fantasy evaporates when Patrick says: “So, I can pick you up at seven-thirty?”
“Oh, seven? Tonight? No, that’s no good, Patrick. Sorry, another time maybe?” She forms this cute, oblivious smile.
Patrick’s heart sinks into his bowels. He takes strawberry-blonde locks from a bun, letting them drape upon his face. Shame, was the girl abusing his good nature?
“Yeah, okay, another time. That’s cool. No worries. I’m cool with that.” His face is heavy with blood, and he looks away when he says this.
The peal of a school bell — and the gawkiness saturating the air is cut.
“Ugh, maths.” And Violet’s smile inverts.
She cannot be abusing him — how cute of a frown.
During class, Violet is passed a note. She unfolds it, thinking it came from Patrick.
A crude treasure map — how original.
“Does geometry bore you, Miss Ellender? Show me what you have in your hands,” says the fat mathematician as he waddles toward Violet.
“Another treasure map?” The Blue-world teacher struggles to contain his merriment. His eyes are wet and glassy. “Enough of these fantasies, Miss Ellender. Focus your efforts on the real world. You have problems enough as it is!”
“Real world?”, Violet mutters under her straight, black hair — quiet as in the vacuum of space.
“Real world?”, she speaks louder, turning gazes throughout the room.
Violet was reserved, introverted; she dealt regularly with the name-calling, the pushing. But this was a different form of insult entirely: the fat mathematician was insulting an entire universe — insulting Pace.
“What would you know of a real world? What, all this?” She waves her arms about. “All this bullshit… and your donuts… and cake!” She stands, grinding her chair across the floorboards. “I’m done.”
Violet crashes through her front door, spilling her emotions into an empty house. Her parents are still at work — wasting their time earning money for greedy Blue-worlders, dying slowly in the bi-products of a futile species. Violet’s reflection wasn’t cynical — it was right.
Violet dumps her bags and assaults the staircase, shedding anger as she climbs. The girl falls into her room, slams behind her the door, rips from her head the eye-patch, throws it to the floor, springs open her eyelid.
And there he is, glorious as ever.
Violet’s mood has reversed: she is as cheerful now as she was furious seconds ago.
Pace still pretends not to have noticed the presence of his parallel crush. He is tinkering with some strange electronic instrument over a handsomely etched wooden bench. Violet dances around the boy, humming softly, teasing his left ear. Fine hairs upon Pace’s fare skin stand up, his spine quakes. He smiles, replacing the exotic device upon the bench. Together, and separately, they dance to the sooth of the Blue-world girl’s emotive tone. As Violet moves into Pace her left eye blackens — for inside Pace, or any solid object existing in Red, there is no light. It is difficult to co-ordinate the dance, and she moves within him many times. Their interactions lack an intended grace, but remain passionate.
Close now to Pace’s ear — the appendage that allows him to hear the Blue-world — Violet sings the lyrics of her day dream. Infatuated, he turns to a blackboard littered in many words of many colours, and begins marking it with a white chalk and a feminine elegance:
You are home early. What happened?
“I was sick,” she half sings, half lies.
The patch? He knows the girl well.
“Not this time. A fat, ignorant teacher. A real typical Blue-worlder.”
I wish I could take you here.
Violet’s eye waters as she imagines the beauty of the Red-world. Her mind is vivid with it, as she has seen much of the unreachable utopia through the visual devices shown to her by her Pace — and through the young man’s bedroom window, which overlaps her own.
Don’t stop, Pace refers to Violet’s splendid voice. He draws a simple smile.
Violet lubricates their connection, sings as she wanders to the window with her right eye closed. Through the Red-world window she can see a neighbourhood of flourishing vegetation: yellow stone pathways, strangled with green, replacing roads; enshrouded houses, spaced comfortably — infused with sparkling solar cells; little Red-worlders, playing in rich soiled gardens; a gorgeous purple tinge as the sky. Heaven…
“I wish you could take me here, Pace,” she echoes.
Bolded, emphasised: More than anything.
“I want to keep it off… I want to see more than what I can from my room… your room.”
Why can’t you? Who will stop you?
Tangled in response: “My family, they won’t… they won’t allow it. You know this.”
They cannot see you for what you are.
I am real.
My world is real.
Violet had not heard the ringing: her other senses tended to dull with her blue eye closed.
Habitually, she equipped her eye-patch before leaving the bedroom.
Who could it be? Her mother and father were not expected home for hours yet. Maybe the school had called them. Really, they would have been stupid not to. What was Violet thinking, running off like that?
As she descended, her prior anger returned, and she opened the door briskly, without first checking.
“Patrick? What are you doing here?”, faking surprise.
“What was that all about Violet?” He steps into her house.
“Patrick, you can’t be here,” Violet pleads, pushes lightly on his chest.
“You wear that thing in the house too? Violet, you can take it off around me. Trust me, please. You know how I lo——”
“Patrick, now is a bad time.” She forces a tiny smile. “I’ll call you later?”
The Blue-world boy blisters with lust and he is not so friendly now, not so great a friend. Hostility permeates the air — it radiates from Patrick’s surface.
“I’m sick of giving you my all. You will never let me in. Through all of it, all the bullying, the pirate shit, I have been there, by your side. I stood up for you right from the start, Violet.” Patrick intrudes further, against the fragile force of the thin girl.
“Patrick, you are my best friend, is that not enough?” Violets lower lip shakes, she is afraid now, has never seen him like this — imposing, even with his own bony frame.
“Take off that stupid pirate-patch!” He reaches in, grasps the patch, scratching her as he rips it from her face.
Violet gasps! She thinks immediately of her parents, the beatings issued long ago by her peers, the shame — oh, the shame. Her eye remains closed. And Pace — trapped in his Red-World, utterly unknown to Patrick in the Blue — hears everything.
“Show me, Violet! How bad can it be?”
“Get out!” She cowers further into the house, to the stairs.
“Violet! It’s okay ——”
Patrick has unconsciously followed Violet up the stair case, forcing her to its peak. Pace is besides her… in the same time… in a different space. The refined creature sickens with his inability to protect his ghostly companion.
“Out, I said! Go, you idiot. Get out!”, Violet tears at Patrick with a shrill voice.
“Violet, I ——”
Violet is a compact storm now. She opens both eyes, aiming her petrifying glare upon the Blue-worlder who had shattered her introversion. She needs not say another word to him, for he suffers in the shock of witnessing her blood-stained iris. Patrick is overwhelmed with a paranormal terror. An eerie, demonic anxiety marinates him — and Violet can sense it.
“You are just like the rest of them!” And she lunges with all her weight to shove at him——
But he evades, and — falling through the ethereal arms of a desperate Pace — Violet sends herself in a furious tumble down the tiled staircase.
Violet reaches consciousness with the inhalation of a benevolent atmosphere. The catastrophic blur of her vision dissipates, and she finds herself in a strange parody of her living room: everything made of deep wood, only few odd devices of metal or plastic; plants hanging from the ceiling in transparent jelly-like sacks; dimly lit orbs of light floating about, to the same effect as candles; a fine reflective mist in the air, like fruity dust.
Blue-world, no more…
Blue, no more…
Violet spills tears and sings these stray lyrics several times before she can conceive what has happened.
And there he is, glorious as ever.
Her tears evaporate. Her face is clean, scratch-less. She feels only love.
“Violet, you are here… you are finally here — it has been years… years…”, comes the soothing accent of a blue-tinged boy.
“Pace?” She has only ever seen her Red-world lover — her other senses burn with foreign stimuli as they adjust to an alien, but habitable and nutrient-rich, atmosphere.
“Your home, Pace… it’s beautiful.”
“This is your home too, Violet.”
Then the nimble young man becomes visibly nervous as two much taller beings enter the room. They are hairless entirely. Purple splotches infect their blueish skin.
“Allow me to introduce my parents.”
Sketch Credit: Sarah Gerber @sarah_gerber