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Fiction Teens & Young Adult

I walked down the street as I dreaded having to go to school. My phone rang, telling me about the steps that lay ahead. I knew this route by heart but it was always nice to have my phone tell me how far steps, crosswalks, etc. were and if there were any hazards that weren’t normally there. 

“There is a set of five stairs approximately five feet in front of you,” my phone chimed in its robotic voice.  

I walked around five feet and felt for the edge of the stairs with my foot. As soon as I found it and located the handrail with my hand, I started walking up the stairs. As soon as I reached the fifth one, I felt around for the ground. Once I got my footing, I continued walking down the street.  

“Nala!” my sister yelled from behind me.  

“Person approaching from 20 feet behind you” my phone informed me. I always wondered how someone’s vision could be better than a machine.   

When she did catch up to me, Samantha was panting. “You’re quick! By the time I found out that you left without me, you were already three blocks down the street!”  

“Yeah. See? I can get around just fine without you and your sight,” I stated while picking up the pace.  

“Oh, come on Nala. You know it isn’t like that. Mom wants me to keep you safe. If something happened to you, Mom would never let me forget about it.” 

I scoffed. “Well, I’m doing just fine without you!” I started walking even faster, naively hoping that she would just leave me alone. 

“Wait!” Samantha yelled. She ran up to me and threw her hand in front of me to stop me.  

“What?” I yelled. 

“They poured down fresh cement. You were going to step in it,” she explained.  

“My phone didn’t say anything,” I grumbled. 

“They didn’t put up a sign. Your phone didn’t have anything to read. You would think people would be more careful in this day and age,” Samantha lamented. 

“If there is no sign then how could you tell that the cement is wet?” I asked, hoping to poke holes in her story. 

“It looks different,” she said. 

“Oh, it looks different! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?” I yelled. 

“I didn’t mean it that way,” she stated. 

“How do you always forget? Nobody else in this town can see! Only a few people in this county can see! Mom and dad can’t see! Almost everybody you talk to on a regular basis can’t see!” 

“You’re right. I’m sorry,” she apologized. The conversation stagnated in silence. 

“What does it look like?” My curiosity got the better of me. 

Samantha stood silent for a moment before speaking up. “You know, no one has really asked me about that before.” 

“Really? In a town where you are the only one that can see, no one has ever asked you what it’s like?” I asked. 

“I guess people just look it up with their phone, ask someone else, or don’t really care. I don’t know. That’s a pretty hard question to answer. Sight is nothing like the other four senses. I don’t really know how to describe it.” She answered. 

“You can’t think of a single way to describe sight to me? Really?”  

“Well, wet cement is more reflective than dry cement,” she finally said. “The light bounces off of it more. Like how sound echoes.” 

“So, sight is like sound?” I asked. 

“Kind of, but not really. In theory, it works the same way but with different mediums, light and sound, but they don’t really feel the same in practice. It’s hard to describe.” 

“How about reading?” I inquired, “how does that work?” 

“What do you mean?” Samantha asked. 

“How can you get different information from identical sheets of paper and signs?” 

“Well, the words are different colors than the signs or paper they are on. That way, I can tell the words apart from the background and read them. It’s the same way your phone works to read things,” she explained. “Oh, you don’t know what colors are. Um.” 

“Let me guess, it's like nothing else and it’s very hard to describe.” 

“Pretty much. Let me think. Well, each color has a different sort of emotion that it invokes, but I’m not sure if it’s the same for everyone. When I see a light blue, it makes me think of the sky, the open air, and the soft pillows that mom would buy when I was little. It’s a comforting color that evokes a certain feeling of freedom,” she explained. “There are darker blues that are more mysterious in nature. It’s like it’s hiding something but yet it’s beautiful and non-threatening at the same time.”

“There are different versions of the same color?” 

“Yeah,” she answered. “Yellows and reds are similar. They are both colors that make you feel warm. Yellow is like happiness while red is like fire. You can mix colors together to make new colors as well. Orange is a mix of yellow and red. ”

“Orange? As in the fruit?” I asked.

“Yeah. The fruit orange is colored orange,” she explained.

“Huh.”

“Green is a mix of blue and yellow. It reminds me of nature. Tree leaves, bushes, and grass are all usually green when they are healthy. Darker greens are like a different side of nature. Like the grass during a storm."

We sat there in silence for a few moments before she spoke up.

"Oh my, it’s nearly 7:30! We need to get moving or you’ll be late for school." Samantha directed me onto the street so we could go around the freshly poured sidewalk. She kept me out of the way of cars as we made it to the crosswalk. When we got there, she was able to tell me when to cross the street before my phone had the chance to read the crossing sign.

I ended up getting to school only a few minutes before the first bell thanks to her. Maybe she wasn't all bad.

"If you want to talk to me about colors some other time, feel free to say something," she announced. "Have fun at school."

Samantha continued down the street as I turned to face the entrance of my school. Having my phone tell me where the steps were suddenly seemed tedious compared to having her lead me places. However the independence my phone gave me was invaluable as well. I could only continue to wonder what it would be like if I could see as I made my way up the stairs.

August 14, 2021 03:52

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2 comments

Ryl J.
02:47 Aug 21, 2021

This story was such a wonderful read! I love how succinct it was and to the point and how most of it really happened in a moment, but there was still so much substance in it. I was so intrigued at the revelation that almost everyone in the town are blind and Samantha is an exception. That was such an interesting spin on it and took me aback. I loved the descriptions of the colors a lot! Great story! :)

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14:42 Aug 19, 2021

I really enjoyed this story! The reveal that the majority of people were blind gripped my attention. Samantha's description of different colors was fascinating, and I thought you portrayed Nala's frustration really well. Great job!

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