- Vol. 03
- Chapter 01
IrisEyes beat like a heart if you look close enough. A blue pulse, a brown tremor, a green quake; blinks of motion that tell a story no differently than a book, song, or a flattering eulogy might. It’s there, the answers we seek, beneath the lids, a riddle hiding like a bashful pearl.
Our skin and ego demands attention. Society says don’t ogle, don’t leer, don’t use your eyes as a weapon. Stare hard and you’re a creep, a threat. A transfixed goon. But we secretly desire affirmation of our beauty, our vanity. How dare you, we say, when the wrong eyes find us. But there’s always a sliver of a smile behind the indignation. Don’t be rude, you neanderthal! But does my new haircut look good? Is my new exercise regime working? We condemn the catcalls conceived in the eyes and birthed by the mouth, but we crave the glare. Or like my father always said: we can’t be seen if no one is looking.
Mary broke my heart with a glance. At the dinner table, between bites of lasagna, the boredom in her eyes breathing, breathing, breathing. My boss telling me I’m a valuable member of the team, a lie throbbing in masculine sapphire. Little League games as kid, me looking at the bleachers, my father peering at halter tops and the bottom of a can. If you gather all the eyes from your past, hold them in your hand like a sick bird, feel the rhythm of their truth, you will see hurt and shame; acceptance and dismissal. You will see the evolution of self. You will see a map of choices. You will see the only pair that matters, the pair found in chapter one.
They no longer dance, those addicted eyes of hers. On the shelf, preserved in glass, dead and drowning. Always staring at me; always locked onto my forgotten face. Am I handsome, mother? Am I a catch, mother? It’s all there: the delusion, the desperation, the longing, the story of me, of us.
I chased her eyes as a child, but I was always just out view, on the periphery, out of focus, a blur crawling on the edge of her womb. Look at me, mother. Please look at me. I'm right here.