66 Black and White

    Julian read the signs poking out of the clothes lining the wall, looking for the one that read; pajamas and sighed happily when he found it. He walked a few feet into the room, his fingers brushing against the clothes hanging on the walls as he neared the pajama section with Matheio behind him, cutely mocking him by copying his movements and giggling with Gradis.

    Julian stopped abruptly, his fingers stopping on an outfit, "There it is!"

    Matheio bumped his head into Julian's legs, glaring at Gradis when she burst into laughter.

    "Daddy? What are you doing?" Matheio asked, his voice slightly raised in anger.

    Julian pulled out a plain black and white soft shirt and pants and waved it in Matheio's tiny face, "It's this outfit, right?"

    The color drained out of Matheio's face as he stared at the outfit, shivers running down his spine as the bland colors of the pjs lit up a burnt out memory in his mind. Color was something he didn't have the chance to experience while he was in the orphanage. He was given 4 outfits each month, all of them the same design and color; plain grey on plain shirts and pants.

    The walls of his shared room in the orphanage had matched his clothes and the games he played with the other kids in the room had a dimmed color from the years of being used. There was really nothing to look forward to in that place he had once called 'home.' The workers there played with them at certain times of the day and even when he had made pinky-promises with them to have their playtime extended, they would continue to arrive at the same set time the next day to break their promise with him with books for school in their arms. He had made friends with one of the workers there but they left one day without a goodbye, and when he finally made a friend around his age, they got adopted.

    The happiness he had felt when he would talk to his friends was nothing compared to the happiness he felt when he had gotten to leave the orphanage. But that happiness was short-lived when his father gave him no attention for the first five minutes of their meeting and the first sentence he spat at him without eye-contact was: smile for the cameras.

    He was about to believe that his life would always be in black and white when he had met Julian. He could still remember looking up at the stoic faces of both gramps and Julian and feeling horrified until Julian had talked to him separately when gramps wasn't watching. 'Don't worry, I'll take care of you so he doesn't scare you,' he had whispered, lifting the fear embedded in Matheio's face with one smile.

    The two years he remembered in the orphanage was filled with the bland colors, black and white  and his eyes were starting to see them too but Julian's smile was all it took for a smile to come on Matheio's face again. He had sworn to never wear anything that seemed remotely close to what he wore at the orphanage so the bland memories never got a change to come back to change him. Was he about to change that?