Monday, December 3, 2012

The Boy Who Could See

His big, round eyes were dark, even as a boy. They pulled into him, and he seldom ever showed them to anyone. When he did look at someone, more often than not, they were stunned and silenced by what they saw.

He thought they must have seen something monstrous and unfathomable, and so he hid them, kept them hooded. One of his seventeen sisters told him she could see the devil in his eyes. One told them she could see her grave. 

He could only see the pointlessness, and so he didn't look at them either. Under the shutters of his eyelids, his eyes, dark and hidden, hid their secret.

He liked to sneak out into the yard every Tuesday at three when all seventeen of his sisters were inside the salt box house in their lessons on feminine grace.  For twenty seven minutes, his world was almost completely silent, and the bent brown grass trampled down by twenty pairs of feet for thirteen years (four sets of them were twins) and the dirt between the blades were his.

He sat back on his heels at the edge of the reach if the old Willow tree, hugging his knees into his chest. His Oxford shoes poked out from under him. He looked up into the crisp Connecticut sky, through the skyscape of powerlines and into the chill grey.

His grey knickers were pulled up over his scratched and scaly knees. One black sock was sagging to his ankle where it had lost its elastic.

He breathed in. The air was damp. A bird circled high over head.

His lanky wrists escaped his tattered cuffs, his thick hands were dirty from ink and soil. He did not look at his hands, the map of dirt in the cracks being the thing which usually held his attention, helping to pull his mind away from the chaos of women and the constant fight against the willfull and never ending entropy of their household.

With the absence of all others, he looked easily away from his hands and in the greying light, his eye, un-shuttered, fell on the bird and tracked it.

The bird hesitated in the sky, as though shuddering, as though caught suddenly by a thread. The boy looked away, smoke from the factory by the river curling away into the grey sky.

The bird soared and circled. He turned his eyes skyward again, the last of the afternoon light catching the iris, showing its nature to the empty sky. The back door banged open, and the sound of thirty four pairs of hard soled shoes clomping down the steps onto the bare dirt of the back yard pushed at his solitude.

He tracked the bird across the sky as far as he could without turning his head, stretching his moment of alone as long and as still as he could, he watched with his eyeballs until he could see the pink of the inside of his own eye with one, and the bridge of his nose with the other eye.

He held his breath, waiting.

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