Maddie Unger loves to practice empathy by getting inside the minds of people who are frowned upon by society and seeing what makes them tick. She loves to create imaginative environments that challenge the reader’s view of deviance and encourage compassion.
She lives in the woods. She sits amongst the tall grasses and stares as joggers draw deep and shaky breaths past her. They’re flying. And she just lies there. Little boys and candy cane girls walk by, whining at their mothers. They tread on her territory. Her piercing lilac blue eyes bore holes into the back of their small heads as they stroll the concrete. She doesn’t want to hurt them, she just wants to watch the world slowly turn.
As the sun sinks lower, strollers turn into noisy, clumsy teenagers. They bring yellow drinks and sloppily tangle tongues with each other. The words they string together are slurred and the vulgarities so intense they would make a stand-up comedian blush. Lilac Blue observes their callous ways but doesn’t move an inch. She has nothing to say. She is one of them and will always be, until the end of time.
No one ever visits Lilac Blue. Deep in her unconsciousness, she longs for visitors. For someone to talk with about the best place in the woods to roast marshmallows or the greatest vantage point for seeing a sunset. Sure, some people want to visit her. The police have been trying to. But she’s been hiding from them for a week now, and she doesn’t want to ruin her winning streak.
When it rains, it pours, and she gets ever so soggy. Her skin never quite dries, just like pesky oil paint. On sunny Saturdays, the sun burns her outsides and it never turns into a tan. In fact, it doesn’t even peel. When it’s overcast, she breathes a silent sigh of relief. The softly swaying trees are her air conditioning, keeping her preserved.
Many have asked me if Lilac Blue was beautiful. I say, it depends. Was she the kind of beautiful that makes men covetous and women angry? Was she beautiful in the way that a mother who sustains life is? To all this, I say, Lilac Blue was beautiful in the way that ruined innocence, all rotting and despised, is. She was beautiful for her decaying mouth, her receding eyes, the skin that hung like a canvas over her visible bones. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. But to the world, she did.
One day, Lilac Blue finally lost the game of hide-and-seek. The police found her and cruelly stole her corpse. Their cold eyes scanned her body with all the compassion of a self-checkout machine. She was quantifiable data to them, another casualty in the endless sea of statistics land. No one asked her what her favorite color was (lilac blue), the things that made her eyes light up (lip gloss, prom dresses), or even what her last words were (I’ll do anything you want).
But I cared about her. I, who named her Lilac Blue in the first place. Because I knew her favorite color, her favorite band, her favorite lunch. Hell, I could’ve written her biography. She rejected me so many times, as if I she expected me to just stop. But I couldn’t. I could’ve died by her side or died in the road when a car almost hit me as I gazed up at her window. The car didn’t see me, just like Lilac Blue. I just wanted her smile at me.
Her beautiful blue skin, stretched out like a vast nebula, enchanted me. And to think…I did that. I made Lilac Blue a galaxy. I made her glow; I made her beautiful. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. But to the world, she did. And I was the world. I relished the moment she looked up at me, all doe-eyed and pleading, back when her skin was only the color of porcelain.