Eyes that Reflect

Eyes That Reflect


I don’t ask questions. Not because I understand everything, I don’t. Rather, I lack the key necessary to unlock them: Curiosity. Every day I walk on a trivial world with billions of others excited about this promotion or that new clothing item or a chipped nail or the sun tickling their eyelids and I… I feel nothing. Maybe I am constructed of a different dust. Maybe I was never meant to be on this planet to wonder or dream or even to make-believe. I call myself a realist; isn’t it admirable to see the world as it is? To not lie to oneself by perceiving more than what the normal eye is capable of?


All of this held true for nineteen question-less years. Now, I am twenty-one. And I have questions, all centered around one encounter I had two years ago. I had just exited the convenience store; you know the one, it is adjacent to the flower shop that closed when our grandparents were kids. I was counting the lines I crossed in the sidewalk, dodging pedestrians rather successfully, for a time. I ran into a man. I dropped to the ground, scrabbling to gather cans as they attempted a mass exodus from the bags I had held. I remember mumbling apologies, focused more on the Campbell’s hopping the curb than my words, until my assailant pulled me halfway to my feet by the collar of my shirt. He breathed hot words into my open face: “STOP BLINKING.” And he was gone, leaving me dumbfounded on the crowded sidewalk of a busy city.


Every night as I brush my teeth and wash my face, every morning as I pass the reflective glass of parked car windows, I ask myself, “WHAT IS MY LIFE?”, staring into my eyes to find the answer, hoping it will come to me, hoping it will just smack me in the face with a big, fat “DUH!”  I cannot forget that moment, when I was forced to gaze into his eyes.


What was that revealing emotion I saw? What was the meaning in his eyes?  Why were they speaking to me?  What have I got to do with that man?  


In his eyes was something I had never seen before.  Not in my parents’, or my brothers’, or sisters’, or even my friends’.  Just in the eyes of some strange man in the sidewalk.


Gray. It was not the color of his eyes, for his eyes were green. It was the impression of them that made me feel gray, that made me wonder. Now I cannot stop asking myself questions.  Me! A man who never sees anything beyond now.  His eyes accused me.


Why did I perceive gray?  Why could I not have seen the green of his eyes? If I were to finally start imagining, why couldn’t it have been any other color? Yellow, perhaps, which is nice in the form of melted butter on pastries. Why could it not have been blue like the bare sky when the clouds are gone or the jeans hanging on the line beside my house?  Why could it not have been red like roses with such a delight?  Why could it not have been purple; a reminder of youth and the throws that comprised our living room forts?




That man’s eyes were a sign for me at that time, revealing a reflection of myself I could never gather in mirrors before or hence. My life is dull, and it just keeps getting darker and darker until I close my eyes, and it is all over.  Gray.


Why should I not blink?  I am tired all the time. There is nothing to my life but gray, yesterday, now, forever. Why should I not blink when I see gray? A blink is so quick.


Gray is such a distasteful color.



About the Author

Melissa Martin is a sophomore at UNCC pursuing dual degrees in psychology and English. Her talents include eating multiple Cosmic Brownies a day without tiring of them and slipping the word “incredible” into every conversation. She is incredibly fond of her friends, family, and reading.