Grey — just a study in tones

Grey is in-between. Neither black or white, it is a compromise. It holds a bit of both, a bit that fluctuates on the tides of life. Grey exists between the poles of black and white, yes and no, positive and negative. It is where most of us live our lives.

That summer the grey of Rusty’s life titled somewhat towards the white, the positive side of grey. That was because of May. Rusty had known May for perhaps the best part of a year but maybe it was a little less than that. She would come to this place in the city that Rusty frequented but there they had remained friends, occupying that grey space somewhere between close friends and acquaintances.

Rusty doesn’t remember when the greyscale tilted, but tilt it did. May and Rusty were now more than friends in the casual sort of way of the time where they now shared that white-tinted part of the grey spectrum. Then, further tilting to the white end saw them decide in a casual sort of way to share the same room in a big old sharehouse. The greyness was becoming whiter.

It was in less than a year, though, when Rusty saw an even whiter tint of grey in the form of the slim young blonde woman from an upper-middle class suburb who lived in another room in the sharehouse. They had briefly shared a temporary zone of white-in-the-greyscale a couple years before, then they had gone their own ways into the greyness of life.

Discovered. Suddenly May’s and Rusty’s shared position on the greyscale upended and took up position far over on the black side. But as if to show that two portions of the greyscale could be occupied simultaneously, that of Rusty and the slim blonde woman was getting whiter. So white that they threw in their lot together in a state and city distant from that where they had discovered their mutually pale shade of grey. Just after that, May’s blackish grey turned to a glowing white when she took up with a mutual friend of her and Rusty and went into replication and reproduction mode.

And so it went. For both, the grey would once again tilt to dark grey and then to bright white again. That would take time and much of that time was spent in the middle-grey tone.


“So, that’s your theory of grey then,” May said to Rusty as she swallowed the last of the nutty-flavoured coffee in the cup.

“So, where does that leave us now? Are we in the mid-grey reaches or are we somewhere to the whiter shade of grey?”.

“I’d put us in the whiter shade,” Rusty replied. “But it’s a whiter shade with a rosy tint to it. And that’s because neither of us want to reoccupy that other whitish zone of grey we once occupied despite a faint pull in that direction by one of us. That’s too troublesome, too unpredictably likely to tilt towards the dark or whiter end and I think we’re both beyond that sort of tonal instability now.”

So it was that day, in that little downtown cafe, that the shades of greytone were evened out and a new tonation of grey, this one with a whitishness tinged with a faint rosy glow, set them on a path that resolved their colour confusion for good.


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