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Dressed in a black tuxedo, he walked onto the dimly lit stage and smiled as he approached the baby grand.

Settling onto the red velvet stool, he sat tall and straight.

The audience was quiet and still as his adept fingers slowly began to dance across the keys of ebony and ivory.

Poised and agile, he stared into the crowd as he played and took in the colors that each different note produced. Music was color. Music was happiness. Music was his language of choice.

Angelo smiled as the full orchestra joined him and the colored lights stretched higher, grew brighter, and filled his mind.

Colors everywhere, in everyone, in everything.

He never painted people black and white. Life was never black or white.

There were no quick judgments, no first impressions. Everyone was flawed. Everyone had imperfections. Everyone in his world had insecurities.

Angelo smiled when he recognized his friends on the front row.

He saw Ms. Parker. She was a deep purple which mingled in a delicate dance with blues, granite and even shades of red at times. Hers was a tragic symphony which never ended. Moody and beautiful. Her secrets, her pain, fears and tenderness well hidden.

Jarod was blue, a stunning blue, like that of a sky devoid of clouds. The blue shifted to yellow. He was light, he was life. His song was usually airy, light but the shades of blues and yellows would become muddled at times with fiery anger and morph into a deep blackness. It was then that an ensemble of demons would materialize with their eerie, yet haunting minor chords.

Broots. He was shades of orange. Always bright, vibrant. A whimsical tune reminiscent of a clear spring day. There were occasions when life's brush strokes would paint him with anger or fear but it was a rare occurrence these days.

And Sydney. Sydney was clouded, conflicted. Winter lingered in the older man's heart, the days were overcast and the sun stubbornly refused to peek out from behind the clouds. The cold colors twisted, spiraled into a heart wrenching adagio of regret, anger, shame, love, sadness and hope.

But for now, Angelo's friends beamed bright with pride and joy.

The crowd applauded and rose to their feet in a standing ovation.

Angelo smiled wider, then stood as the rainbow of colors filled the theater.

"" He whispered unintelligibly in his sleep.

His mind's eye still intrigued by the colors, his ears still tuned in to the sweet symphony.

And yet, in his waking hours, the vents surrounding Angelo undulated in shades of grey and silence. Angelo's world was dull. Not vibrant, not clear. Not black. Not white.


But he dreamed in color.

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