Shane sees everything in shades of grey, and finds it glorious. He exults in his peculiar blindness and will list, for anyone that asks-- and many that don't-- all the kinds of grey there are. "Certain cats," he’ll say. "Dust mice. Stormy skies and sheeting rain. Cobwebs. My mother’s hair in old photographs. The residue of moth wings. Old silver."
He dresses each day in a charcoal suit and matching tie and walks to work the long way through the industrial district to admire the smokestacks. At work he makes phone calls, writes briefs, attends meetings. He sits at his desk as his assistant, Selena, dripping memos and packages, dances trippily around him, balancing his coffee cup, collecting his papers, stocking his pencils and paperclips. He talks to her, about smokestacks and ashes and rain clouds. He tells her about his mother's hair, like silver satin now. He talks and talks, about phone calls, memos, appointments, and fog. She listens, and says nothing.
What Shane doesn’t tell her is that he adored color once. From the time he could distinguish it in the swirling primaries of the mobile above his crib and the sailcloth blue of his mother's eyes, all through his Crayola period, in which he covered long lengths of butcher paper in layers of riotous wax-- deep red circles rolling across bright yellow expanses like tangled suns; backgrounds of the darkest blue surrounding centers of pale morning blue; purples shouting to be heard over hot pinks and fluorescents.
He wallowed in color, until the accident. Red was the last color he saw, soaking through his father’s white shirt like a bright tie. When he awoke in the hospital, all was grey-- his mother's eyes, her face, pale and lovely as a flawed diamond, etched with tears. She put her hands on his shoulders as she leaned over him and he knew that he was alive and his father wasn’t and before he could stop it he was happy.
Selena's hair is yellow, like dandelions, and her eyes are turquoise, like the sea, but Shane doesn’t know this. Smokestacks billow, fogs roll in, mothers age, and Selena dreams of ballerinas as she pirouettes in Shane's grey space.