The Green Goodbye

A collision of illuminated gold specks and lush green made up the intensity of his eyes, yet his facial expression bore a gloomier shade.

He was my morose classmate forever staring at the exit, desperate to leave.

I know, I sat beside him going through the same thing. Fate destined us to take the required history course and see it through until the bitter end, as boring as it was. It was comforting to find another classmate who shared the same disposition.

He was an unusual sort. He never took notes during lectures, never uttered a word. During group projects attempts to engage with him resulted in a glare built of stone and odd silence that spoke volumes.

Was he okay?

One day, however, he possessed an aura filled with the brightest light when we returned to class.

Affable, natural, happier. He must have received some good news, I thought, imagining a tar-like substance of dark weight slipping from his shoulders. I took his gleeful demeanor as a welcome signal for a friendly exchange. And while I can’t recall what I said, the memory of piercing golden rays dancing along his eyes as he laughed remained with me. Warm feelings of wholeness surrounded my heart — it all felt so familiar.

In the following days, the repeat occurrence of green found me. Traffic lights kept the color as a constant fixture which made my travels smooth. Teal, Mint, Lime, Fern, Forest, Sage and Olive foliage, signage, and structure captured my curiosity in every direction; accompanied by the golden hues of a fall sun, the sights were unforgettable. Appreciative of such beauty, my classmate came to mind.

He’s okay, I remember thinking to myself.

But the next time we returned to class he wasn’t there, and a strange sadness clouded my mood. Something was wrong. Our instructor stood by the door, stone faced and mute.  

“He killed himself,” her words a jumbled whisper. Waves of silence ensued once we grasped the news.  

I pictured his eyes then: shimmering green pools drained of its potential, sunlight laid to rest. Class dismissed early dealing with the news, departing through the same exit he always stared at.  

Did he find his way? 

The shock of his death remained with me. I felt he was someone I had to look after and failed. Perhaps another lifetime, another path. Maybe we would meet again, maybe not. Were we meant to? What was the point of our laughter? The thoughts drove me mad, although in time I took comfort when I remembered the vast array of luminous colors of green that found me, and knew he was okay.


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