Teal is an ambiguous colour. Not quite blue, not quite green, but something in between. And it was exactly how Kevin was when I first walked past him at the bridge, eight years after our high school graduation.
The man who was alive, but observing the sky around with lifeless eyes. His skinny body was wrapped in an oversized hooded jacket, shielding him from the wind while he leaned his back on the railing of the bridge. His shoulders curled up, and as my beige coat brushed his arms, our eyes interlocked.
“Dark green eyes?” The man muttered, and I could see a glint of surprise came into his dark brown eyes.
My feet immediately stopped at the familiar voice. I looked directly into his eyes, and called out, “Kevin?”
His eyebrows rose up. “You know me?”
It was then, my jaw dropped.
Of course I knew him - the most popular boy in our local school, the infamous teenager who was rumoured to have driven a car illegally and killed his girlfriend in the process. The one who never showed his face nor communicated with any of his friends after the incident, whom I thought had died along with his lover.
The man who proved me otherwise; that he was still breathing and well, walking around aimlessly in town, hiding in plain sight. The guy whose appearance changed so drastically that I couldn’t recognize him at a glance, although he was the boy I used to obsess over.
Teal is a mysterious colour. It is similar to cyan and turquoise, but a much darker hue. And it was just like Kevin, who decided that it was a great idea to jump into the water under the bridge, throwing his life away while I stood beside him and reminisced about my past memories.
The distressed person who made me splash into the river on the cloudy day, paddle in between the current while dragging him into the nearest shore. His thin lips coughed out water, while his shoulders fully drenched and shuddered in cold. And as he hugged his body with his arms, he put his sights on me.
“Why did you save me?!” Kevin raised his tone. “My life isn’t worth it anymore. Just let me die!”
Gritting my teeth, I slapped his cheek. His eyes widened in shock, his head turned around with his mouth gaping open. But instead of feeling bad, I glared back. “Well, I don’t know what your experiences were, but don’t throw away your life!”
It was then, I could see the soul came back into Kevin’s life.
The young man proceeded to bawl his eyes out. Not a single word slipped out of his tongue for the next couple of minutes; only tears continuously streaming down his face. His burst of emotions was enough to make me freeze for a moment.
The long-lost acquaintance of mine, who then gradually ceased his cries. His lips quivered, his pupils were fixated on me, and as he wiped his cheek, he opened up on how he lost his lover eight years ago.
The detailed minutes about the car incident that he had buried deep within his heart and never told anyone. The little section of it that he shared with the media, which got twisted around, making him the number one hated person in our small town for a while.
The depressed guy who claimed he had been scarred for life by the news and people’s sickening gazes at him, but was shaken back with hope by my words, and promised to move on from then onwards.
Teal is a unique colour. It is not one of the primary shades, hence rarely used, unconventional, and different. And it was the same as Kevin during the few weeks we spent together after his attempted suicide.
The wounded mind whom I often visited, the same person who was stuck in the corner of the living room of his brother’s apartment. His bum was glued on the brown leather couch, and from time to time, he covered his head with a thick blanket while swaying his head frantically.
“The ghost… she’s back,” Kevin’s voice turned shaky. His finger pointed to the ceiling of the room, making my eyebrows squint in return.
Not understanding what made him scared, I enquired, “Tell me, what do you see exactly?”
“A young lady, eighteen years old. Blood spilling out of her head, drenching her clothes,” Kevin answered while his hand clung tightly to the fabric.
My eyes bounced back and forth between the man and the empty corner, and I tried to pull him out of the covering. “But there’s nothing there, Kevin. It’s all in your head.”
“No, I could see her. I could see her haunting me, piercing me with her blue eyes,” refuting me, Kevin’s breath turned haggard. A sniffle could be heard under the wrapping, overlapping with the screaming coming out of his lips, “I want her gone. I want her away from me!”
I let out a sigh. “Then, forgive yourself, Kevin. Trust me, when you do that, she’ll be gone.”
It was then the muffled cry gradually disappeared.
The man who kept hallucinating about his dead girlfriend, the one who believed he was haunted by the ghosts, then flipped the blanket. His head peeked out of his safe bundle, trying his best to embrace the reality.
The almond-shaped eyes which glanced away from the ceiling, focused on the TV in front of the couch, watching the shows I had put on. The same pupils whose corners curved downwards as we reached the time for me to go back home.
The guy who begged me to stay, stating that he needed me around to continue on living in sanity. The scared young adult who thought the dead would be back as the night deepened, and how he wouldn’t be able to ignore it if he was alone.
The same pleas he uttered in the next couple of months, the ones allowing me to stay in the apartment building for a long, long time.
Teal is a tranquil colour. Once you look deeper into it, you’ll realize how it promotes restfulness, while giving out a calming sensation to your mind and spirit. And it was similar to Kevin these days, about a year after our fateful meeting at the bridge.
The person who was able to leave his trauma aside, regaining his beautiful smile. The same smile, complemented with dimples on his cheek, that registered a warmth in my heart every time I came over to the apartment.
“Hey,” Kevin waved his hands, welcoming my arrival. However, unlike his usual pajamas, he was clothed in a formal button-up shirt.
“Hey…, are you going somewhere?” I squinted at the man in front of me.
In return, Kevin wrapped his arms around my shoulder. “Let’s go to the community park. I want some fresh air.”
My mouth circled up into a big O. He had never wanted to go out of his place throughout the year, confessing that he was still wary of cars after the life-changing incident. Hence, this request of his took me by surprise, yet I was happy he forced himself out of his comfort zone. And so, I willingly walked with him on the side of the road, reaching the yard full of blossoming trees.
I sat down on the wooden bench, just beside the kids’ playground. My eyelids were zipped tight, and I basked in the sun. It was then, Kevin called out my name.
I put my face away from the sunshine, only to find him kneeling in front of me. His fingers fumbled the inside of his jacket, then stretched up a small suede box. In the split second, I covered my mouth with my palms, and a thought popped up in my head.
Is this what I think it is?
The man then smiled widely, and as if he could read my mind, he uttered the big question.
“Will you marry me?”
The question that made me jump in excitement.
The question that made my head nodding frantically.
The long-awaited words that made joyful tears run down my cheek.
The guy who then put the diamond ring into my finger, became my fiancee.
The guy who I had longed for eight whole years, the love which I thought ended back in high school.
The teal-like man who changed for the better, and from now on, would be my happily ever after.