He loved her and the green that she carried beneath her skin. But then she changed. (Synesthesia)

'She used to be beautiful'. That's what he thinks now, whenever he sees her. She's still just as lovely, her hair is still in short, uneven locks that make him grin. Her eyes are still the same shade of hazel. Her freckles are still in the same place – he traced over every one just to make sure. He's mapped out her face a million times, stared at every blemish and secret, but he can't figure it out. There's something different, and he knows it, he just doesn't know what it is. It isn't all of a sudden, either. He's noticed for a while now. At first it was just a niggling little thought in the back of his mind. Now though, it's like something is screaming at him and he needs to know what's different, what has changed.

He remembers first seeing her. It wasn't in class, or at the mall, or the cafeteria. It was in the hallway, where the press of bodies made her inaccessible to him. He could see her, though, and that's what mattered. She was pretty enough, a whir of excitement and near-demented laughter as she spoke to what he supposed was a friend, but it was what he could see inside of her that made him smile. There was green, rich, vibrant, the color of summer, and it filled her up. Her ribs kept it caged in, kept it contained, but every time she smiled, a little bit would escape and it appeared as a small whisp of smoke from her mouth when she spoke. A cloud of green meandered around her head like a gaseous halo. He loved it, and in that moment he loved her as well. She looked hazy, only half there, like something he might have seen in a pipe dream. He made a promise, then and there, that he would talk to her. And he did.

It only took a day. He saw her in the library on his way to the bathroom. It went over like a clichéd romance. He embarrassed himself, she laughed and forgave him. They exchanged numbers and spent the rest of the school day trading questions-as though the decision had to be made, right then, of whether this was worth anything or not. They decided it was, and they spoke again, later that night, over radio waves. He found he didn't like it, though. He couldn't see her and most importantly, he couldn't see the green that he now felt was vital to his continued existence. They met often. He saw her every day, and that's what had given him the chance to chart her face as she had, to imprint it on his mind in near-photographic detail. Now something had changed and he couldn't figure it out.

Then he did, and he wished that he had never noticed. Wished that he had never had to suffer that disappointment.

He was walking down the hallway when he saw her, just like that first blessed moment. He called out to her. She turned at the sound of her name; a blur of short, choppy locks and over-sized earring in the shape of broken hearts. She was grinning, exposing white teeth in a red, chapped mouth. A piece of gum was snagged on her right canine, a thin, worn out thing that had had the life choked out of it. Her eyes were narrowed tightly, barely revealing narrow strips of brown that zeroed in on him. He flinched back even as she turned, her arm in the air in an expressive wave, but he was already gone. He couldn't stand to look at her. She was ruined. The green that he had once loved had turned sickly, spots of yellow that he did not recognize - did not wish to recognize - dotting the surface and seeping into her essence. She was ruined and he could not think of her, could not look at her, because if he did, then it spelled for the further ruination of a fantasy. He ran because he could not look at the end of a dream.

The End

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