windows to the soul

when he was a baby he had the brightest blue eyes anyone had ever seen. they were huge and round and surrounded by dark curtains of eyelashes, and people always whispered about how full of laughter they were.

when he was seven he still had the brightest eyes anyone had ever seen, but you could see the strain in them. they weren’t a child’s eyes anymore; he had seen things no one should ever see.

when he was eleven he learned how to fake the laughter. he refused to say that he was putting on a mask (how cliche). he convinced himself that it was no one’s business. that he was just helping them by not telling them. so when his eyes itched with tears he would disappear, hiding away from his friends and sobbing until he couldn’t breathe. then he would return, smiling and laughing, and praying that his red eyes wouldn’t give him away.

when he was thirteen he broke. his eyes were purple with shadows and bruises, and red with tears, and when people looked at them they didn’t even notice the blue anymore. they noticed the emptiness. they noticed the despair. they noticed the helplessness. people starting avoiding his eyes.

when he was fifteen his eyes were still shadowy. he hid them under his dark hair, avoiding the glances of curious girls. but however he tried to avoid them, the girls’ eyes followed him wherever he went. and he discovered that these girls provided an excellent distraction from his life. he made up a different story for each one, learned how to make them fall for him (like a pizza delivery – in thirty minutes or less) and then he’d disappear as the sun rose, pocketing any valuables he saw and leaving them sleeping. When they woke up, all they’d ever remember were his eyes.

when he was sixteen his eyes locked with someone else’s, and for the first time in god knew how long he pushed his hair out of his face. when her eyes flickered shyly away he instantly longed to see them again. so he walked up to her, and hesitantly (he was never hesitant) shyly (he was never shy) he gave her his real name (he was never honest). when she smiled his heart stuttered, and suddenly the weight of all the bad things he’d ever done came crashing down on his shoulders.

when he was sixteen and a half he told her she was the most amazing girl in the world. he told her he loved her. and then he told her his story. he stared at his hands the whole time. part of his mind was thinking of everything he had with her; of all the times they’d talked til two in the morning, of playing with her hair, of the way she always smelled like his favorite flower. and when he finally finished talking he shut his eyes, terrified that he had just lost the most important person in his world.

when he was seventeen his eyes were full of laughter again. he talked nonstop, and his smile was brighter than the sun. sometimes he would scoop her into his arms, thinking about how just having one person who knows everything about you can make you feel human again.

when he was eighteen he married her. there was no trace of doubt in his eyes, no shadows or secrets or fear. he rested his forehead against hers, and whispered that he loved her. she wrapped her arms around him and laughed softly.

“When we have kids,” she whispered, “I hope they have your eyes.”


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