Those Damned Eyes (inspired by Thisbe, 1900)
Those damned eyes: always changing, always inigmatic, always so damned…feminine. I often wondered if she even knew what a puzzle she was to me. What am I talking about? Of course she did. How could she not? I was always staring at her as if she were a photograph on a wall waiting for me to come along and bring her back to life by figuring her out. Yes, I am egotistical that way. All of us are in our own way and this is my way. All puzzles are here for me to figure out and I am capable of figuring out all puzzles.
We never really talked. I can’t say if it was her or me, but it is the fact. If I could have solved her, it would have been a great coup knowing I’d done it without hints from her.
I did watch other people around her though. It was fascinating to see the reactions as varied as the people. Some were disturbed, some excited, some confused and even scared, but all experienced her in their own way. It was here that I really began to understand the limitations we have in describing an emotional state. All of our descriptions require the receiver of the information to have experienced the emotion, and because of that, we are not really transferring the reality of the experience. We are merely expressing our interepretation of it, which is in turn intrepetted by them. In the end, I have no doubt that there is nothing of the original emotion left. But that is off topic. Sorry. It’s a bad habit I picked up from being around her so long.
I did manage to unravel some things about her. Her hands spoke volumes to me. She was not a woman of liesure, but neither was she a woman of hard labor. She must have been cared for, outside of me. I dared not touch them, but could imagine the softness of her skin. This fact made me feel cliché. Her skin inspired all who saw it to imagine its softness. I do not like feeling cliché, so, in time, her skin irritated me. I wouldn’t have touched it for all the world.
Her hair, wild and elaborate, also gave a strong glimpse of who she could be. The cut was very much the style of the times, but what she did with it was completely her own. There were many scenarios that I came up with through the years. Some involved elaborate events beyond her control that resulted in that hair. Those scenarios always left me feeling disingenuous. I do not like feeling disingenuous so I tried hard not to imagine those. Others, however, involve her choices. These felt truer somehow. I like these scenarios. It’s funny, when one allows themselves to consider something long enough, one realizes how many different paths can be taken to arrive at the same moment, yet how easy it is, not to arrive there at all.
I loved her hair. Her hair was true.
Her clothes, however, never gave me anything except trouble. They were perpetually falling off of her, yet never revealing anything of significance. I overheard a passer by once say that she was a “cunt of a tease”. Although I do not appreciate the language he chose to express the sentiment (there are are definitely more agreeable ways to say it), I cannot deny the validity of his meaning. Her clothes did suggest to you that you could have her all to yourself. They inticed you to look more closely than perhaps you should in decent company. They inspired parts of you that are better left uninspired in public. Her clothes lied to you. I do not like being lied to, so I, more often that not, chose to focus on her hair, and those damned eyes.
On good days, her eyes would calm me. They were soft and kind. They implied stories of a life filled of tenderness. They implied that inspite of her skin and her clothes and her hair, she was simply a woman with a woman’s heart and she wanted nothing more than to ease the suffering of anyone she encountered. On these days, I almost felt I could solve the puzzle. On these days, she was simple and my life was easy. I dare say that on these days I was almost happy.
But as I said, those damned eyes liked to change and so, there were times when they were not soft. That is not to say that they were hard. I don’t ever recall them being hard, at least not around me, but they weren’t soft either. It was that state that maddened me. If they were not soft and they were not hard, what were they? In these moments, those damned eyes accentuated everything about her. They revealed the other side of her woman’s heart; that side that tormented, that side that offered everything and gave nothing. In these moments, looking into her eyes was like looking into the birth of a sun and it burned just as much.
I stared intently into those damned eyes in these moments. I can only imagine what she must have felt. I know my gaze can be intimidating when I am lost in a puzzle, and in these moments there was never a greater puzzle in which to be lost. She never flinched. She accepted it. I dared to think, over the years, that she even wanted it. Those damned eyes were capable of returning the intensity of my own gaze.
Was this passion? I hope not. I don’t like passion. It is ugly and confusing and makes you do things that don’t make sense. I’ve tried hard to live without it. Denying it when I sensed it. This takes a great discipline. There are so many opportunities to fall into it. I know that she understands that. I could see it in those damned eyes.