Join author Devon Pearse in this semi-autobiographical journey through the most heartbreakingly beautiful and deceptively mysterious events of her own life and the lives of those closest to her.
A Lighter Shade of Gray
A Lighter Shade of Gray
Ten years ago, Devon gave up the love of her life, fearing she would one day fall victim to the mental illness that has slowly ravaged the mind of her mother, who is now being cared for in a private facility.
Just when it seems Devon might have a chance to make up for past mistakes, her best friend Cass becomes a suspect in the murder of her sister's drug-dealing boyfriend. Devon knows Cass is lying about the details of her involvement and the lead detective on the case, convinced that Cass is guilty, is relentless in his pursuit of justice.
When her mother's young, emotionally disturbed roommate insinuates she knows something about the night of the murder, as well as details from Devon's own life that no one else is privy to, Devon becomes desperate to uncover the truth before Detective Lake does. As the investigation continues, Devon is led down a path she never expected and forced to face her greatest fears of life and love.
Tangled in a web of lies, regrets and questions, can she find a way to let go of the past and start again? And, once the mystery is solved, can she live with the secrets she's uncovered?
Through the Looking Glass
Have you ever seen the life within a photograph? Ever pondered how it
might feel to be one of those images – trapped, immobile for all
time? One minute you‟re moving along, free as a bird. Then, in the
glaring flash of a bulb, you are transfixed; an image captured on a
glossy white expanse. Eternity in one tiny breath of life. Not quite a
reflection. A pawn without a soul. A plaything in the eternal memory
of technology. Photographers live through the lens of a camera,
pressing onward frame by frame. But real life isn‟t like that. It rushes
at you headlong with a thundering force that knocks you breathless
and leaves you there to bleed. Beautiful in its savagery, intoxicating in
its fierce desire for more.
Black and white is supposedly clearer, but I have to ask, what‟s the
use in clarity with all the colors gone? The colors give us purpose;
make things more than shades of gray. And if one person‟s orange is
another one‟s violet, then so be it. All‟s fair among the varied hues of
Or so I tell myself when colors become pain, when I stand in the
developing room of life, watching the images un-fade before me
through the ripples of my past. I often feel as though I can relate to
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Alice in her Wonderland, like I‟ve fallen through a rabbit hole into
my life and it‟s not at all what I expected it to be. I recall gazing for
hours at the illustrations in my father‟s antique books. Alice’s Adventures
in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass held my fascination
for hours on end. Perfect little Alice. Through all her misadventures,
not a hair out of place. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be her.
Time and again my memory assaults me and I‟m thrust into the
child I once was. I am in my father‟s study, wondering at bookshelved
walls lined with stately, aged tomes. My father kneels beside
me. In his hands he holds his newest possession, his eyes glazed over
like a child at Christmas, which, coincidentally, it is. In his study,
books are opened like presents, holding wondrous things inside. He
opens the volume in his hand, a rare 1847 first edition of Wuthering
Heights, and tells me to smell the book. I do so, timidly at first, then
taking a good whiff. There is a scent like dusty cedar in the attic, the
aroma of thoughts transcribed so long ago. I inhale the pungency of
words, and a tradition is born.
The auras of butter-rum punch and cinnamon are also calming
presences. In the corner of the living room there stands a Christmas
tree. The slowly blinking lights invade my consciousness and I fall
asleep on his lap, curled up in his substantial arms, head resting on
his shoulder. I long to stay within that memory, and so many of its
fellows. The feeling of a shadow left behind. The overwhelming
yearning of an all-too-bittersweet life.
Still, the days of youth fall like petals from a flower. All too soon
they fade and blow away. We reach the gates of Grown-up Land in
haste, only to hesitate outside them for a time in shell-shocked horror,
wondering how we got there so damn fast.
And so we advance through life, pressing on but looking back,
becoming collectors of things. Memories of sunsets, pictures of our
days and friends and loves. Wondrous little snippets of each moment
long gone by. These are things we hoard throughout our lifetime;
things we cannot bear to part with, all the trinkets of our past. They
A Lighter Shade of Gray 3
exist to prove that we were here. So that one day when we are gone,
in some future just beyond our grasp, someone may stop by, happen
upon our worldly goods and say, “Ah, so this was a life, then. Look!
Here is proof. I‟ve found a silver acorn, a Royal typewriter and a diary
of thoughts. Here‟s a poem, there‟s a thimble, an old book collecting
dust. Whatever could it mean? Alas, I suppose we‟ll never
Each soul is a mystery, a puzzle box of hopes and wants and
dreams, and all the pretty little pieces of the vast illusion we create to
shield our inner selves. In the end, the colors run and bleed together,
and finally fade into the dust. But the evidence remains; captured
images and writing and the like.
And so, who is more real, more permanent? The one who gazes
into the mirror, or the reflection locked inside?