I had only lived in California for 10 years, after I graduated college. It seems like a lot, but you really don’t realize how much you don’t know, even after a decade of living away from your hometown. California was huge, the biggest thing I had ever taken in! When I first moved here, I grimaced over its size and the pain left inside me was incomparable to what I had felt before, but you have to pop your cherry somehow, right?
The beauty had me on my knees, reveling in the spurts of radiance the sun cast upon me. The lush palm trees, the beautiful stretches of beach. It really was everything horrible 80’s clichés made it to be and more. Yet, I couldn’t help but notice a gaping hole that needed to be filled, filled to the brim with the exquisite desire to belong to something bigger than yourself.
Most people lose that desire as they age, but I’ve been lucky that way as I’ve managed to keep youthful exuberance almost as long as I’ve been on this planet and even as a wrinkle or two, or the odd gray hair rearing itself, I still see myself as the optimistic teenager I was.
I was about 13 when I hit puberty, a tad bit later than other girls at my school, who started at nine, but that was when I noticed my very unique traits. It started with my hair, going from orange, to red, to blue all the colors in between, which seemed strange for a natural brunette, but it didn’t stop there, as my skin would change too. I hid it to myself for months after that, until one night at dinner, when I was depressed and my entire body turned blue. My mother screamed at top of her lungs, as my father attempted to get to the phone to dial 9-1-1 faster than race car driver. I kept screaming I’m fine, but it was as if no one would was paying attention.
I would spend the night in the hospital overnight for evaluation, but was discharge the following morning. No amount of doctors I went to could figure what was wrong. They knew it must have been a mutated genetic, but it was nothing deadly, no disease, no cancer, nothing. One doctor offered free treatment in exchange for letting him study the disease. So I spent a lot of time in the hospital, the only thing he found as a corrupted gene for Tetrachromacy, which would normally give the host vivid ability to see color, but he figured in me, it made my moods express themselves throughout my body, as if latterly wearing my feelings on my sleeve. Sadly, he never became famous for his research, but at least it was a potential glimpse into my condition. That’s why I sought out California, a place that cultivate my unique offerings instead of seeming them as queer and out of place in the Midwest.
The waitress placed two beers down on the table as my company for the night seemed awestruck that the backstory. He raised his glass and took a sip, shook his head and said “Unbelievable.”
I moved my hair out of my face and took a sip. My beer was more golden, he was drinking a stout and then I asked him about himself.