Pink is her favorite color. It has been since the age of sixteen. She couldn’t exactly tell you why. Why she’d rather have playful pinks instead of bland blues or purposeful purples. Some days, she thinks it’s because it makes her feel youthful and forever rosy. How just by looking at the color, her heart blushes like her teenage self with a crush. Other days, she swears it’s because it makes the simplest things livelier. That it only takes a single coat of watermelon polish to transform broken brittle nails. That no other color can liven decaying cheeks like pink could.
Pink is playful.
Pink is positive.
Pink is protective.
Angel stared at the photos before her. They were all tucked in a box a minute ago. A silk, circular, pink box that she had found underneath the floorboard of her childhood room. Now, they all lay scattered across her floor. Varying from selfies with magenta-eyed friends to pastel petals dancing in the wind. It was pure euphoria. Bubblegum bliss frozen in time forever.
A knock interrupted Angel’s intense daze. Her attention removed itself off of the floor to the door. Her eyes greeting Emmett’s, the guy from next door.
There he stood dressed in a coral button down, flocks of flamingos inhabiting the fabric. One hand shyly hiding in the pockets of his pale pink cargo pants. The other carried a glass filled halfway with a foggy sunset. “You’re wearing those things inside?” His finger pointed to the glasses sitting on the bridge of her nose. The ones with golden frames and rose-colored lenses. “I wear them everywhere.” The ones she refused to take off. They were her favorite pair of glasses. The world around her is the right shade of pink when she wears them.
“Those things are going to give you a headache, y’know,” Scruffy locks of chocolate followed the motion of his head. Along with a chuckle shortly afterward. “Brought you some lemonade.” He held up the glass, showing it in all its glory. “You shouldn’t have,” Into her hands the glass went. Both hands clutching around it as if it was the world. She expected it to be sweet on her tongue. Instead, her nose scrunched up, lips pursed in sour surprise. “Seriously,” Angel shook her head in playful disagreement.
Emmett found himself on the floor across from her. Legs crossing one over the other, hands resting on the hills of his knees.“What are these photos?” Her eyes caught a glimpse of the photos he held up. A smile cracked onto her face. Similar to an eager child, Angel’s grubby fingers ran towards them. Snatching them out of her brother’s grip. “These are pictures of me and Harvey.” She squeaked.
Emmett lifted himself off of the floor. “You seriously kept those?” Quizzing her politely as he cocked an eyebrow.
“Of course I did.” A frown creased Angel’s brow. “Why would I get rid of them? He was my best friend. Look how happy we look in this one!” Swiftly, she flipped the photo around. Angel didn’t need to see it to know every detail of the photograph. Especially the moments caught before the flash of the camera. It was the night she and Harvey went to a showing of A Walk to Remember. They had snuck out of the theater halfway through. Originally on a mission to grab more snacks from the concession stand; easily distracted by the photo booth in the distance. Harvey had grabbed the sleeve of her sweetheart sweater and danced with her into the booth. Whispering, “I have to have a souvenir of this night,” so lovingly it sent chills down her spine. Thankfully, his arm warmed her right up as it wrapped around her waist. As it pulled her so close to him that she could feel his hot caramel breath on her bare neck.
A fond sigh escaped the depths of her heart. She’d do just about anything to relive that one moment again. While Angel’s soul lit up in happiness, the light in Emmett’s eyes dimmed. “You’re kidding.” His hand plucked the photo from her. Eyes carefully examining each second of the moment. Confusion filled the crevices of Angel’s face. “I’m not kidding. Don’t you see it?” Couldn’t he see the smile plastered on her youthful lips? The blush that dusted the highest points of her facial features? The way Harvey was jokingly tugging at her laced pink ribbon pigtails for the photo?
Silence blanketed the two for a moment. “Don’t you see it? Come on now, give me the glasses,” Lips of taffy twisted into a sweet treat. And though delightfully tooth-aching, something was off. His tone didn’t match up with the picture painted in front of her. The words that slipped from his mouth were sharp. His demeanor cotton candy freshly bought at the fair. Angel shook her head. “Take off the damn glasses, Angel.” A vile green began to bleed into his passionate pink voice. Infecting his words like venom in a bloodstream.
Angel scurried to get up. Eyes aligning with Emmet’s, green swirled in his dark irises. She could see it vividly through her lenses. The green made her sick. Ill with the oldest plague in the world— fear. “I don’t want to.” A beg hitched her breath. “Please don’t make me.” Her arms compressed against her chest. The attempt to move away from him only brought him closer. Soon enough, her back was greeted with the wall. Panicked, her legs went to dash by him. Quicker, his calloused hand yanked her by the arm, pushing her back into the wall. Aggressive hands ripped the glasses from the bridge of her nose and tossed them across the floor. “No!” She attempted to jolt after them but an attempt was all it was. Emmett shoved her body against the wall once more. He held her down with the strength of his hand. Her arm would soon scream a purplish-blue.
“Look at it, Angel!” Flames of hell raged from his mouth. “Does this look like happiness?” The photo was shoved back in her face. This time it wasn’t painted with the hues of romance. Black now tainted muted colors that depicted a horrid assault. It was the night she and Harvey went to a showing of A Walk to Remember. Harvey had drugged Angel out of the theater halfway through. She didn’t want to leave but had no say or power. He was originally on a mission to get her to his car but was easily distracted by the photo booth in the distance. Harvey had grabbed the sleeve of her sweetheart sweater. Yanking her into the booth with him. Whispering, “I have to have a souvenir of this night,” so sinisterly it sent chills down her spine. Unfortunately, his arm rioted against her movements as it wrapped around her waist. As it pulled her so close to him that she could feel his devilish red intentions on her bare neck.
Fire turned to ice; red shifted into a melancholy blue. Intense gripping turned into a hollow hue. A final whisper escaped Emmett’s lips. “He wasn’t your friend...He was fifty-three. After nineteen years, I thought you had finally seen it.” The photo dropped from his fingers, plummeting into the deep sea of sorrow flooding the floor. He stepped away from his sister. His heart sank as her knees hit the floor. His hands into the depths of his navy blue jeans.
With shaky, frail fingers, she tried collecting every piece of her distorted memory. “Seen everything,” Nothing was colored pink anymore. The true colors of the world now shaded previous memories. Her friend’s eyes no longer were magenta instead red with envy. The pastel pedals that danced in the wind now revealed themselves as sickly yellow leaves, whipped by violent winds. “I needed you to see the truth…” Tears burned a trail in Angel’s pale purple skin. Her knuckles washed with white as she gripped the photos. She didn’t know what to make out of the dull, abstract painting that captured the true essence of her past. Her head tilted up to Emmett.
“...To finally take off the rose-tinted glasses.”
Pink was her favorite color. It had been since the age of sixteen.
She knew exactly why too.
No other color could hide the red flags of life like pink could.
Pink is protective.
Pink is phony.
Pink is painful.