The Purple-Haired Girl

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The street lights began to flicker on over the paved streets. Dusk was settling over the busy city, the buildings’ rooftops lit with the orange leftovers of the sunset. Even though it was starting to get late, people were bustling back and forth on the footpath. Cars would take ten minutes to drive one hundred metres because of the many workers trying to get home to their families.

One of the many people on the busy streets strode with his head down. Currently, his hair was the shade of a dark blueberry, which made most people give him his space. This was normal procedure in society, as everyone could tell he was going through something difficult. A few people would brush past him roughly, but those were usually the ones with fiery red hair who obviously couldn’t care a less about his feelings at that time. No one scolded them though, as nothing good happened from telling off an angry person.

The lanky young man turned away into the big park in the middle of the city, one of the few places that still had trees. The gravel path crunched beneath his feet as he walked slowly towards a small wooden bench, then proceeded to place himself on it. He found himself looking out into the foliage of the park around him, and sighed heavily, his hair turning that much darker. There was a light beside the bench he sat on, and others littered throughout the park, so he still managed to have a view of the plants though night had come. An uncertain amount of time had passed by when a short purple-head sat beside him. Her colour indicated that she was currently feeling neutral, a unique look. Not particularly ecstatic, but not sad either. Not angry, not envious. Just….satisfied. It wasn’t common to see those in society, and it was a trait guaranteed to attract stares. “What’s wrong?” she asked softly, looking at him curiously.

“Excuse me?” He seemed taken aback at the question. It was understandable, as not many people stopped to speak with those with blue hair.

“What’s wrong?” She repeated, the same look on her face. “You’re upset about something.”

A silence passed between the two, but she didn’t interrupt it. It was a silence when you could tell the words were being well thought about before escaping the mouth. Finally, it began to trickle out. “I….recently discovered a truth. And it’s not a good thing.” He ran a hand through his hair, his line of sight cast downwards. “And I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Sometimes, you don’t have to do anything with it,” the girl said. “There are things outside of our control, and we should accept it.”

He lifted his sight to the girl now, looking at her with the same curiosity she’d just recently looked at him with. “This is coming from a purple-head,” he pointed out. “You guys are the dreamers. You barely listen to anyone around you. I like to stay grounded. Reality is key.”

She tilted her head slightly, an almost smile playing across her lips. Her hair seemed to go a shade lighter. “We’re not just the dreamers. We just see the way you can get the most out of life.” Pulling a lock of hair to the front of her face, she stared at it with a scrutinizing gaze. “It’s strange, the way most people worry about what others will think of them. If someone has extremely bright yellow, they’ll most likely go darker once people start staring, which would mean depressing yourself. But why bother getting upset about that? No one should affect the way you feel that drastically.”

He seemed to be thinking about what the girl had said. What she said had purpose behind it, but didn’t change the fact that he disagreed with it. But, as he glanced at the girl, he couldn’t help thinking about how at peace she seemed. It was as though nothing in the world could bring her down. And he was sure that in their entire conversation, her colour had only changed by going lighter.

The two new friends spoke some more, but as it was admittedly just relative small talk, it can be assumed that none of it really need be repeated. And when finally he got up to go, they shook hands, and went their separate ways.

It didn’t take very long for the blue-haired young man to reach the apartment building that housed him. Climbing the stairs to number fourteen, he opened his door quietly and closed it behind him. He stared out at the apartment he stayed in, quite lonely looking and solitary. Making his way to the bathroom, he glanced in the mirror, and despite the events he had gone through that day, the evening had apparently been quite the turn around. His hair was now, ever so slightly, a brighter blue than before.

The next day, he was able to go to work without a look of complete desolation. Going through his entire day with blue hair attracted quite a few glances, but none of them actually asked him how he was feeling. It could be certain that even if he’d broken down in tears beside his desk, nothing around him would change, except possibly a feeling of guilt in his unmoving workmates.

But after struggling to the end of a day that never seemed to finish, the blue-haired young man fare-welled some people politely, then made his way outside. Walking down the footpath, once more amongst many other humans of varying colours, he seemed to move with quite strong purpose. Reaching the park bench, he sat down quietly, the occasional runner moving past.

“Hello there,” the purple-haired girl said to his left, and placed herself down beside him. He almost smiled at her, as though she managed to break through a depressed funk it looked he’d gotten himself into just by being there.

“Hello,” he replied. “You came back.”

“So did you.”

“Why?”

“Because I thought it a shame to waste a possible friendship,” she answered honestly. And once more, the small talk began. It continued for quite a while, and as does usually happen when people run out of menial things to converse about, the conversation turned to more personal subjects.

“So what was the not-good truth is it you spoke of?” the girl asked curiously. “Or are you not ready to tell it yet?”

“I don’t think so,” he shook his head slowly. “Some other time, perhaps. But I can’t help but notice, your hair has been purple the entirety of today’s conversation and yesterday’s.”

“That’s because I’ve been satisfied the whole time,” she shrugged. Her red jacket over her small shoulders seemed too big for her, so when she made the movement it was hard to notice. “Why shouldn’t I be?”

The expression he wore said that he thought there were many reasons, but he obviously didn’t voice them allowed so as not to offend his companion. Instead he made his goodbyes to her, waved, and walked away.

And once more, when the blue-haired young man walked into his apartment, the mirror revealed that his hair had again gone just that shade lighter.

The days continued like that for quite a while. A year, in fact. Every day after work, he would meet the girl with the purple-hair, and make small talk. And every day, she would ask the same question. “So what was the not-good truth is it you spoke of?” She would say. “Or are you not ready to tell it yet?”

And the answer never changed. “I don’t think so. Some other time, perhaps.”

It seemed that the terrible truth would stay his and only his. Until the day he was late to the bench. “I was here before you,” the girl commented, a look of curiosity crossing her features. “Why’s that?”

“Because I have a truth,” the young man said quietly. “And I’m ready to share it now. Just not here.” And he led her away from the park bench, out onto the busy streets. They swerved amongst people and vehicles, and reached a tall building that everyone dreaded the sight of. Making their way inside, he motioned for the girl to stay while he went to the reception desk. The lady kept a grim face as they exchanged words, but her eyes kept showing the occasional sign of confusion. Her hair was blue, reading her sympathy for his predicament, and she gestured to a building map. He nodded, and walked back to the purple-haired girl. “Follow me. We’re going to level three.”

The elevator doors opened and people streamed in and out, the young man and the girl included. Level three seemed a dismal place, grey walls and hardly a picture in sight. A light blue hair coloured man was waiting outside an office for them, and led them to a small side room that contained equipment and a starch-white bed. The man made sure that young man was comfortable, and plugged a few pieces of the equipment into his patient. After making his final checks, the doctor nodded to them. “I’ll leave you two alone,” he said, shooting a sorrowful look at his patient as he made his way out.

When he was gone, a silence fell over the room. “So do you understand my truth now?” He asked.

“Yes,” she whispered, gripping his hand tightly. Her hair had started turning a dark blue, a sure sign that she was finally upset, and not satisfied. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”

“I’m glad you know now,” the young man said, lying back on his pillow, his hand still in hers. She was sitting on a chair beside him, as they had both seemingly lost their energy now for differing reasons: health and emotion.

“If there was anything I could do, I would,” she explained, her face now moist from her tears.

“But there is,” he insisted, squeezing her hand. “One thing that will make me the happiest person who walked the earth.”

“What’s that?”

He smiled at her, and wiped the tears from her cheek. “Don’t go blue because of me. Stay that purple-haired girl.”

At this, she also smiled, though it still seemed sad. “I will.” Leaning down, she kissed him on the forehead slowly, and pulled herself up again. Her hair was a dark purple now, no longer blue but leaning towards it.

The young man’ eyes fluttered closed, his breaths becoming ragged. They began to slow, becoming less frequent, until, finally, they stopped altogether.

The purple-haired girl found her eyes unable to focus on anything but the unmoving purple-haired young man, and she squeezed his hand one final time before beginning to cry. But all that time, she stayed purple, as though somehow she knew, wherever he was, he was satisfied.

Created: May 17, 2017

Tags: writing, original story, fiction, short-story

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