*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.
I worked with a woman who had beautiful green eyes. Her eyes were brilliantly green, unnaturally green, but she claimed they were natural. I never believed her, and it turned out I was right.
My coworker received many compliments about her emerald green eyes. More than a few people asked her whether her eye color was natural. She responded the same way every time. "Yes," she said. "This is my actual eye color."
She basked in the attention and the compliments. My green-eyed coworker especially enjoyed the attention from male coworkers, many of whom were mesmerized by her mossy eyes. "Your eyes are so unusual," they'd tell her, "and so pretty."
People would ask about her family. "Does anyone else have the same color eyes as yours? What about your parents? What color are their eyes? Do you have any siblings?"
She was an only child, she said, and no, her parents did not have green eyes.
"I could swear those are contact lenses," I once told a mutual acquaintance.
"No way," he replied. "That's her natural eye color. I know because she told me herself."
I remained skeptical, but I didn't argue. I figured she was bound to lose a contact lens someday, and the truth would reveal itself.
My coworker called out sick one day. She was absent for a week and then for two weeks.
No one knew what was wrong with her. Finally, the manager called her at home, not to ask about the nature of her illness but to advise her she would be replaced if she didn't return to work or provide a doctor's note explaining her absence.
My prediction came true one day when my coworker returned to work wearing a pair of glasses. Sure enough, her eyes were as brown as mine.
She tried not to speak with anyone unless she couldn't avoid it, and she kept her head down while she worked so her hair would obscure her face. But she wasn't fooling anyone.
I was tactful and said nothing about her ordinary eye color, but our mutual coworkers weren't as kind.
"What happened? I thought you said you had natural green eyes," one coworker told her.
"That's funny," another said. "I thought your eyes were naturally green."
The poor woman felt humiliated as comments poured in about her stunning green eyes that weren't green after all. It was the price she paid for lying for so long.
"If I didn't need this job, then I would never have come back to work after I got conjunctivitis and the doctor said I couldn't wear my contact lenses anymore," she confided.
It was her business if she wanted to wear green contact lenses, and she didn't owe anyone an explanation for being born without green eyes. Unfortunately, it was her lies and insistence that her eye color was genetic that made her look bad and ultimately caused her embarrassment.