Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RS: The Eyes Have It

I can't remember his eyes. Were they green or were they blue?

I remember when something went dead in them. Right before he left.

After he was gone, they were searing. Seared into my memory. Couldn't close my eyes without picturing his. Couldn't sleep at night, things peering back.

I threw out every photograph of him, of us. Partly anger. Partly didn't want to see those eyes, windows into that soul, now foreign. Partly just didn't want to be reminded. Of the failure. Of the betrayal. Of the wasted years. I hoped against hope that I would just forget.

For a long time it seemed I never would.

Oh, I remember things. But not the eyes. Not now. I remember that I loved looking into them. Loved the reflection—seeing myself through those eyes, so precious to catch a glimpse from a perspective that wasn't quite so loathefully incriminating as my own.

When you learn that you've believed in a false reflection, revised self-definition—well, better to learn eventually than be fooled eternally. Or is it?

It was a slow death in those reflecting eyes. Cateracted. Counteracted. And, in truth, he never saw me for me, as me. He autocorrected. Edited out the parts that didn't fit his vision of who I should be. But, eventually, erosion left only the abhorrent parts. The blindness usurped by bitterness.

Angry in the invisible, I had exposed more and more, the most intimate exposure, things private, personal, prerequisite, pregnable—things that, left unnoticed, unacknowledged, unappreciated, transform from vulnerable to violated, mortally wounded.

Desperate to be seen, screaming to be heard, literally, I acted out in public to guarantee witness to my very presence.

I used to privately recite a poem I had written when I was an angst-ridden teen. It ended:
A king am I behind these walls
And loneliness my crown.
How I wish a kind someone
Would break my fortress down.

I should have bolded the kind part.

Too weak and unresourced to rebuild, you simply mark that private place "condemned" and keep out. Untended and unnourished, things therein, once pregnant with promise, abort—miscarried potential, possibilities dead on arrival.

Left barren. Unsustainable. Uninhabitable.

Fortunately, adjoining real estate prospers and thrives, others welcome to survey. Not all of you dies. Naturally. Nothing nuclear happened. Just landmines triggered and levees breeched.

And you eventually consider renovation, renewal, reforestation. Scorched earth replanted. Land of deserted dreams and abdicated self irrigated.

Recently, looking in on that wasteland, its desolation has diminished. Darling buds of maybe "ope"ing against hope. Restoration promising less Sysiphusian.

Perhaps all that really died were the co-opted wishes, the altered course, the rented plans, the borrowed time, the squatted priorities. Diverging paths, indeed. Now, grateful I could not take them both. Just one for me alone. Parts not wide enough to walk side by side. Parts too treacherous for two.

And, oh, the visions on that journey. How fortunate he could not behold them, for he would not have seen the beauty that I saw. . . nay, see!

I can't remember his eyes—what with mine now open.


Kathy said...

Ah, yes I did that once, even though I knew better. Stopped seeing myself through my mind and heart and only saw myself through his eyes. And I loved what I saw. Once his went away, I couldn't remember who I was. So many people want to see themselves beautiful in someone else's eyes, but I learned the best way is to see my own beauty is to look into the mirror into my eyes. Seems like you've learned that very important lesson as well!

Debra said...

Wow...you are the poet! Very moving and visceral. You are someone who should have a talk-/spoken word type of radio program. Do you think Pacifica would be interested?