These eyes, looking up at me from the curb.
They’re about to leave me, these eyes. Not forever, or at least, I don’t think. But then again, I don’t know for sure. Their owner could take them on Delta 5998 and the plane could fall out of the sky or they could watch the rest of their physiological counterparts fall victim to a rare strain of bird flu or they could be blindfolded by Slovenian mercenaries who call the father I’ve never met and ask for $100,000.
A plane crash, a kidnapping: devastating, tragic, worth a month, two months, four months of wracking tears. But easy enough to understand, really.
The other reason I might never see her again – some combination of time, space, distance and This Is Too Hard; something to do with rational behavior and real life and The Way Things Are.
Harder, in its own way. And why I’m clinging to these eyes, gulping at them like a Bedouin at the edge of the Sahara.
Now, I can see them. Now, I can watch their dilations and squints and that little piece of amber that flashes when she smiles. Now, everything’s okay.
Soon, I won’t have all this evidence.
Her flight probably won’t crash. She probably won’t catch some dread disease. Instead, we’ll be imprisoned by a world of messages and phone calls and emails and thoughts and prayers and hope and disappointment. Pauses and hiccups and I-wonder-why-I-haven’t-heard-back and God-I’m-thinking-about-this-too-much. Further chances at miscommunication, when communication is already difficult enough. She’s standing right in front of me and I only have half a sense for what’s going on behind these eyes.
So here I am, doing everything I can to turn my own eyes into recording devices. I want to remember all I see in these eyes, everything we’ve been through together, sure. But more important, everything we haven’t. Her life, her stories, all the things I don’t yet know, which is a lot because we’ve known each other for an amount of time that could be measured in days or weeks or months.
This is what I want to save. This is what’s going to make me miss her. This bottomlessness. This infinity. This world inside of her that isn’t mine, that has been hers, that I want to know.
I take one last look. I tell her good-bye. I get into my car.
I turn in my seat. She’s walking through the glass doors, pulling her olive-green bag behind her. She doesn’t look back, because that wouldn’t be the sort of thing she’d do. So I project onto the screen in my head the image I’ve just made. It’s there, almost as clear as it was forty seconds before.
Almost, but not quite.
Her eyes. Here now, but fading fast.
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