Copyright © 2019 Christopher Hiedeman. All Rights Reserved.

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Aster looked out the window. Colorful houses lined busy streets full of people. Each person cast their personal style on the world around them, creating a sea of interesting, vibrant beauty.

She sat back in her rocking chair. Her grandchildren came running up to her.

“Grandma! Grandma!”

A smile formed on Aster’s face. “What is it, my darlings?”

“Tell us a story,” they asked eagerly.

Aster pondered for a moment, then looked at her grandchildren and smiled. “You know, I have just the story for you,” she said. She glanced out the window once more and began.

Once upon a time, the world was not like it is today. Houses used to be painted mostly the same colors, and people used to dress in mostly the same clothes. They read mostly the same books and watched mostly the same movies. Having your own personal style back then was frowned upon. Society had come to the conclusion that similarity was preferred over difference, and so, the world was bland.

One day, a young girl was born. Her parents decided to raise her to be strong; they raised her to be herself. So she was. Being herself was not always easy—actually, most of the time, it was quite difficult. She dressed in bright colors unlike the other girls and boys at school. She loved to create things, while others around her frowned upon her creativity. Though the world seemed against her dreams, her parents encouraged her to follow her heart—and so she did.

After she graduated from school, she had a hard time getting on her feet. Though she knew her work was valuable to the world, the world was stubborn to see the value in her work.

Her parents reassured her, telling her—

Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. The world cannot be changed with old ideas and old ways.

Now a young woman, she took life by the reins and followed her heart. She dreamed of a world full of color—a world that celebrated difference—and so she made it her mission to change the world.

She began writing about uniqueness and paid to have her writing printed in the local newspaper. She did this for a few weeks, until one day the newspaper contacted her and asked if she would write a segment in the paper weekly. They told her they had had such an overwhelming warm response from readers that they would like to pay her to write rather than have her paying to write.

She jumped at the opportunity with excitement and continued writing about uniqueness in her segment titled “How To Be Yourself.” She received warm responses from people of all ages and found that, though sometimes she felt alone by being herself, many people yearned to be themselves but were too scared to stray from the gray world.

Over the years, something marvelous started happening. The world started to change. People started painting their houses different colors. They started wearing unique clothing, reading different books, and watching movies that interested them. The world wasn’t just becoming a different place but a happier place. People were being themselves—they were happier because they were no longer trying so hard to be something that they were not.

By straying from the gray ways of the world, she brightened the lives of those around her.

Aster looked down at her grandchildren’s faces and saw their eyes filled with wonder. She smiled, for she was happy with the vibrant world that they would experience.

She glanced over at a framed article she had on the wall beside her and read the final line of the article:

Be a bright beacon of color and wash the world in beauty; life’s too short to live life without color.

Gray

Genre: Sentimental Short Story

Aster shares with her grandchildren a story of how a young girl changed the world.