By: Emma Olinger

“People just choose to be pink, everyone is born blue.” “People with pink marks are going straight to hell.”

“There are places to go to get your pink mark made blue again, so why not go?” “These millennials with their pink marks.”

“Blue marks are the superior marks.” “Hello.”

The sounds of the bus was never quiet, and as the bus passed every street lamp, she felt the chaotic tendencies of those on the vehicle heighten. It meant almost nothing to Margaret Claire, though, as her earbuds produced a haunting melody that rung through her eardrums. It was no surprise that Margaret did not hear the greeting of a person beside her, being nearly deafened by the beautiful arrangement of notes. Yet, when she was nudged, she immediately glanced up to see what could only be described as the biggest rose she’d ever seen. A rose, of course, is a slang term for those who had a pink mark on their chest, which Margaret’s parents used to describe people they didn’t particularly like.

Despite all that, Margaret Claire had been nudged by this rose, and turned down the volume of her music just enough to hear what a rose had to say to her.

“Is this your bag?”

Margaret took her eyes off of the rose’s face and down to the black and blue tie-dyed back pack she held in her thin fingers, fingers which were covered bottom to tip with various rusty rings. The two said nothing as they sat virtually in silence for the duration of the next few moments, and before Margaret had the chance to reply, the rose dropped the bag in the woman’s lap and sat beside her. Margaret was astounded.

“Wait, wait wait wait-” she began, the minty taste of her breath lingering upon her lips as she spoke. “What the hell was that?”

“What the hell was what?” The rose replied, raising a brow at Margaret’s staring. “That- stunt you just pulled. My stuff was there and you just-”

“What are you looking at me like that for?”

Margaret paused, stunned by the opposing woman’s comments before shaking it off, not yet finished with her rebuttal.

“Listen here, you- you-” she felt the word ready to leave her mouth, the word she knew her parents would finally praise her for saying as she refused to use it her entire life. It wasn’t like she agreed with a rose lifestyle. The thought of defacing a proud part of yourself, such as the universal blue mark, and making it a disgusting pink color- it was completely out of the question.

“You what? Come on, say it. I want to hear it.”

Margaret Claire took herself and her bag away from the rose, the pinkie, the zany. There it was- the word that rumbled at the pit of her stomach, causing her to feel sick every single moment of every single day. It was no matter, though, as she brought herself to the exit of the bus and awaited the vehicle to come to a grinding halt. It was nowhere near where she needed to be, as if there were a place she needed to be. After exiting, she spotted a public restroom, and entered quickly.

Upon entering, Margaret found the restroom to be empty, causing her to quickly drop her bag in the sink closest to the entrance. She took another look out of the room, making sure the coast was clear before locking the door. Slowly, she brought herself to the sink and glanced up in the mirror, watching her sunken in appearance reflect the insufficient amount of sleep she received in the last few nights.

Tears were unexpected, as Margaret thought she’d done this enough times to make her feel numb while performing this ritual, but apparently her encounter with a zany had triggered an emotion she hadn’t felt in ages. Her fingers shook as she reached into her bag with one hand and used the other to softly pull up her shirt. Slowly, she pulled out a blue marker, her eyes dead-set on the middle of her forehead in the mirror as she knew if she glanced down she would immediately begin to sob.

She had gone through the procedures- the removal therapy, the religious removals, she had even taken it into her own hands by trying to cut off the layer of skin on which it sat.

However, none of it worked. So, she had gone back to her old method, one she had used since she realized she was different. She colored it in twice a day with a blue marker to make sure no one thought she was a zany.

She continued, circling the mark until it was completely blue, the superior color, the perfect color. However, something was different this time. She was shaking, small sobs bubbling from her lips as she colored outside of her mark and onto her skin. Margaret couldn’t stop, she simply continued to scribble her chest blue. She covered her arms with blue ink, her legs, her face- it was all blue. Blue wasn’t right.

Pink the color that defined her life, one that watched her grow up and fall down during her worst times. Pink held her through bad times and showed her a way of living, a way in which Margaret Claire could finally be free again. However, through all the times she had betrayed pink, through all the instances she had taken a color so close to her and so pure to her and shattered it without a second thought, just as everyone else she knew did, pink had become tired of saving her sanity. So pink had let Margaret go, let her right and wrong blend together, and watched as she shook in a pool of her own tears, covered head to toe in blue ink.