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Shades of Madness
by Monica Dennis

Lisa couldn't help it. She was afraid. She never wanted to wake too early or stay out too late, lest she see that tepid hue announcing the rise or fall of the sun. Even when she closed her eyes to sleep she couldn't rest in the pitch blackness that others took for granted. No, she saw pink and the harder she pressed her lids, the brighter it became.
    It had started when she was born. Her mother told her of her own disdain for all things pink because she had come from a segmented society that worshipped the trends of fashion and felt that the only way to tell babies apart was to dress the newborn girls in lifeless pink and the boys in oxygen-deprived blue. But then she had her own daughter Lisa and when she went to buy clothes for her precious infant, all she could see for miles in every direction was pink in all degrees. Lisa's mother had sought high and low for colors of life, vibrancy and distinction purple, green, royal blue, maybe even a little black but to no avail.
    "Is this it? Is there no other color for my baby?! She's a girl! Can't you see? Can't you tell?" Customers stared at the frantic woman as she tore through the tiny garments, tossing Barbie shirts left and Dora pants right. Finally, in the end, her search for rainbow brights had driven her mad. They carted her mother away to an institution in the mountains of northern Connecticut, miles away from the society that insisted all her life that she play the role of the dainty princess and wear pink dresses with crinoline and matching bows, even after time made it evident that she was indeed all girl.
    Lisa's mother was locked away now in a newly padded room where the walls were puffy pink and the only relief was the red of her own blood as she dug her nails into her arms in anguish and rocked herself on the floor. For Lisa, pink was the color of insanity.

About the author:
Monica Gilbert Dennis is currently the Senior Editor at a multimedia, healthcare focused company in Connecticut with aspirations to be self-employed. The wife and mother of 2 also creates custom jigsaw puzzles as the part-owner of Village Works Enterprises LLC, and is writing more and more every day, especially since she joined a phenomenal critique group over a year ago. She is working on a children's picture book and is a student of the Institute of Children's Literature. Monica has a blog that helps chronicle her attempt to juggle all these diverse facets of her life - And oh yes, her favorite color is purple.

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