Color wasn't something that seemed like a big deal to Jackson. It was either there or it wasn't. Red was something that's pretty vivid, he knew that by how red his face got after working out and the brightness of his favorite hoodie. It was his favorite color. Green was soft and light but it was basically everywhere. Yellow was faint but everything else just didn't exist and it didn't matter. Jackson lives his life in his comfortable shades of grey. Everyone kept telling him that he should get his eyes looked at, that he might be able to be "fixed" as if there was something wrong with him to begin with. What was wrong with just existing how he was?
Ever since he was born Jackson had seen the world this way, he found a sense of beauty in the almost colorless world around him. Even in his now second year of college his opinions and view on this had not changed. He went to class, semi-participated in school related events and got along with his roommate, Youngjae, without any problems at all. It wasn't until he saw one particular color for the first time that Jackson had even considered the idea of color as something that was truly important.
It was all so quick and seemingly insignificant but life changing at the same time. Jackson was walking to one of his sociology classes, falling into what quite literally felt like a sea of people. He tried his best not to feel anxious in the crowd, so he kept his earphones in and his head down. He was almost to his class when he ran headfirst into another student. The force knocked the other student back more than it did for him. He was also on his phone but he was carrying a stack of papers that flew into the air and scattered on the ground with the impact.
“Hey watch where you’re going.” Jackson said with an angry and annoyed tone as he looked up to see who he had run into. The student was crouched down on the floor picking up the papers. Jackson felt something inside him, urging him to help, so he took one of his earbuds out of his ear and bent down to shuffle some of the papers together. Jackson did his best to straighten them before handing them back. He balanced himself on his knee as he waited for the other student to finish.
Jackson reached out the hand with the stack of papers in it towards the student who finally looked up to meet his eye. Jackson felt his breath physically leave his body. It’s like the world around him stood completely still, nothing else mattered.
“...thanks.” the student said as they took the papers out of Jackson’s hands.
“I… uh…” Jackson was at a loss for words, he couldn't take his eyes off of him. His eyes were so bright, so gorgeous. He has never seen anything like them.
“You always this articulate?” the students asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Uh.. yes. I mean… wait no. uh..”
“I think the word you’re looking for is I'm sorry,” He replied with a bit of surprisingly attractive sass in his tone.
“Yes. Right. Sorry. I wasn’t paying attention.” Jackson said as he proceeded to stand, thinking and hoping to himself that his legs would actually hold him once he did.
The boy laughed as he stood. “Its alright, I wasn’t really paying attention either.” he shuffled the papers around in his arms until he was able to extend his hand out. “The names Mark. And you are?”
Jackson took his hand, starting at Mark. He opened his mouth but no words came out. The only thing that Jackson could do was stare into his eyes. They were like nothing he had ever seen and he couldn’t look away no matter how much he tried.
“Did you forget it?” Mark said, that same attractive sass in his voice returning as Jackson proceeded to stare. He had to physically close his eyes and tilt his head towards the ground in order to gather his bearings enough to form words.
“Jackson. My name is Jackson.”
“There you go. Knew that morning caffeine would kick in eventually.” he said with a laugh. Jackson smiled, he felt a sense of warmth spread throughout his body as Mark laughed. It was weird and he kind of wanted it to go away but it was nice at the same time.
“Well I’ve gotta…” Jackson tried to say. He ended up pointing and gesturing in the general direction of his classroom, since words wouldn’t work when he looked at Mark's eyes.
“I gotcha.” Mark said with a nod. “I have to go back to work too. It was nice talking you. Well sort of.” He laughed again and that weird warmth spread throughout Jackson’s body once more. He gave Lance a small smile and turned to head towards his class. He only took about two steps forward before he stopped and turned around to look at Mark one more time before he turned the corner and walked away.
Jackson shook his head before stepping into his class, trying to wiggle out any warm sense as best as he could but to no avail. How could he focus on the professor when all he could think about was Mark's eyes? He found himself daydreaming about a color so vivid yet so distant, something he had never seen before but wanted to learn about so badly that it physically pained him.
The vision of those bright eyes stayed in his mind all day long. Jackson was constantly on the lookout for Mark around campus; looking, praying, hoping that he would see that vivid color and feel that warmth throughout his soul that he still didn’t completely understand. When his efforts failed he retreated quietly to his dorm room where his roommate Youngjae was already, eating a sandwich on the couch watching TV.
Jackson dropped his backpack on the ground, allowing it to make a loud and heavy thud. He walked to the couch and dropped himself down in a similar manner next to his roommate.
“Why the long face.” Youngjae says with a mouth full of food. Jackson stared straight ahead of him, completely engulfed in his own train of thought. Youngae looked at Jackson with concern, set his sandwich down and waved his hand in front of Jackson’s face.
“Earth to Jackson. Anyone in there?”
“Yes, Hello, sorry.” Jackson replied literally shaking his head to try and get himself to focus on what his friend was saying. He turned to look at him and Youngjae could see the pain behind Jackson’s eyes.
“What's got you all tied in a knot?” he turned his body so he was facing Jackson as he spoke.
“I have absolutely no idea. I met this guy today and it’s got me all sorts of fucked up.”
“OHHHHH ALL OF THE DRAMA!!” Youngjae’s eyes completely lit up at the thought of emotional drama happening in their small world. He leaned in close and a giddy smile stretched across his face. “TELL ME EVERYTHING DON’T YOU DARE LEAVE ANYTHING OUT! GOGOGO!”
“Okay okay, geez.” Jackson couldn’t help but let a small smile spread across his face because of Youngjae’s genuine enthusiasm. He had never really had anyone who cared this much about what was going on in his life, much less the thoughts going through his head. It was both nice and overwhelming so Jackson wasn’t a hundred percent sure how to feel at the moment.
“It was weird. I quite literally ran into him. It was like a scene from a cheesy romantic k-drama. Both heads down, the crash, papers flying everywhere, ecetera ecetera. I told him to watch where he was going, which was dumb because I wasn’t exactly watching either, but I felt bad for scattering his stuff everywhere so I helped him pick everything up. When I offered out all the pages I had gathered and he looked up…”
“YES YES AND?????”
“And… his eyes. They… they caught me off guard. They were absolutely gorgeous. Like nothing I have ever seen before in my entire life. They were bright… they were literally glowing… like a light shining so intensely that it was going through my entire body and made me feel all weird and warm and...happy. I think it was the color. I’ve never seen it.”
Youngjae tilted his head to the side like a confused puppy “Can you describe it a little more?”
“No that all i’ve got. Bright, warm, glowing…”
“Well you’ve got to give me more than that,” Youngjae said as he leaned back on the couch, ready to ponder the solution to Jackson’s problem. “What else happened?”
“I made myself look like an idiot that’s what happened.” Jackson ran his fingers through his hair as he reminisced his babbling. “I couldn’t get a full sentence out.”
“Did you at least get his name?”
“Mark.” That part he remembered very clearly. “His name is Mark.”
“Mark Tuan? Oh I know him! We were in one of those gen. ed. classes together last semester. I think he interns in your sociology building. Working under Dr. J with some sort of work study, research project thing. I talked to hi a couple of day ago actually I-”
“Youngjae! Focus.” Jackson snapped.
“Right. Sorry. You’re right about his eyes. Their a gorgeous shade of blue and-”
“Blue…” Jackson said in a hushed tone this time. It sounded calming. Blue. So beautiful and kind yet warm at the same time. “Blue… Is there anything else that looks like that?”
“Yeah,” Youngjae said as he stood up and looked around the room. “There are plenty of things in here that are blue.” He walked around for something resembling the blue that shone in Mark’s eyes. “This cup is blue. This pen writes in blue. My headphones are blue.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Jackson replied as he took the objects from Youngjae’s hands. “I don’t see it. It’s all this blah shade of grey.” He set them all down, completely frustrated with himself and this situation. Why wasn’t it there? Why couldn’t he see it?
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Youngjae said sitting back down on the couch, “Maybe you are just seeing things?”
“No way,” Jackson replied with a stern voice, “I know what I saw. I have to find him. Where did you say he worked?”
“Last I heard he was interning under a sociology professor, Dr. J, doing some sort of research or volunteering.” Youngjae shrugged his shoulders and took a bite of his sandwich, “Go back to the scene of the crime and see what you can find.” The idea eased Jackson’s mind ever so slightly. He wasn’t completely sure why, but he was determined to see this color again. Something in his heart was telling him that there was more to this than it appears.