Saturday, 26 May 2012

Beneath their beautiful eyes


The room was spinning, fluorescent lights fizzing by in a dizzying blur. He focussed on his mothers eyes as she held him aloft, dancing and twirling across the floor. He knew so little of life, had so little basis for comparison, but he knew the smile beneath those beautiful eyes was happiness. In his mother’s eyes he could see his own laughing face among the whirling reflections of objects in the room. Even with his legs flailing so wildly that the ends of his purple socks were coming loose and even with no control of direction or speed, he felt as though he could not be safer anywhere else in the world. He stared into his mother’s eyes, through them he stared at his own smiling face. She blinked …



The sun was beaming down warming his skin and the coconut-tinged scent of sunscreen mingled with the smells of salt and sea grass to form an unmistakable olfactory picture of the seaside. He focussed on his sister’s eyes as she placed another handful of sand atop the sandcastle. He knew a little of life, had a little basis for comparison, but he knew the smile beneath those beautiful eyes was happiness. In his sister’s eyes, he could see his own sun-reddened, contented face framed by a blue sky, flecked with clouds. In her blue eyes, his sunburn almost looked purple. He had known this young girl for such a short time but he already knew that he would never be uncomfortable with her. He stared into his sister’s eyes and through them saw himself add to the sandcastle. She blinked …

The drone of the cicadas poured through the window that was open trying to catch a breeze. The sound drowned out the whispers of cards slipping over each other and almost matched the sound of counted coins. He focussed on his grandmother’s eyes as she placed her bet in the middle of the table. He knew a bit of life, had a bit of basis for comparison, but he knew that the smile beneath those beautiful eyes was happiness. In his grandmother’s eyes, protected from the glare by a purple visor, he could see his own peaceful poker face surrounded by the rest of his family sitting at the green, felt tabletop. He knew that this woman would never judge him and would always offer help even if that was to her detriment. He stared into his grandmother’s eyes and through them saw himself throw his cards into the muck. She blinked …

The sounds of revelry washed over him and the smell of popcorn, sausages and fairy floss was heavy in the air. He focussed on his first love’s eyes as she pointed out constellations in the night sky. He knew some of life, had some basis for comparison, but he knew that the smile beneath those beautiful eyes was happiness. In his first love’s eyes he saw blue, green and purple fireworks explode into flowers in a star-speckled sky. He saw them burst into a halo around the refection of his own satisfied face. He felt the warmth of her hand in his and the warmth of her body lying on the grass next to him. He had known this girl for longer than he had known that girls were different. He stared into his first love’s eyes and through them saw himself move closer to enjoy another first kiss. She blinked …

He focussed on his niece’s eyes, he focussed on his Aunty’s eyes, he focussed on his second, third, fourth love’s eyes. He knew nothing, everything, some, all, part, but knew that beneath each pair of eyes lay smiling happiness Within each pair of eyes he saw himself, saw the world. They blinked …

He blinked …

He was falling. He remembered he was falling from the cliff where he had tripped. His hands reached out, his fingers brushed the rapidly passing rock as it shot upwards in his vision. He caught a clump of vines, slicing off several purple flowers as his hand slid along the sinewy length. His grip tightened, his descent slowed and stopped. The rough surface of the vine tore the skin from the palm of his hands but the vine did not break.

He held the vine with both hands, facing the rock face as he swung slowly from side to side. He clenched his teeth with strain and stared at the purple shoots of new growth sprouting from the wall.

After he had found a handhold to pull himself onto a ledge to await rescue, after he had returned home, after getting into to bed ready to sleep, he remembered how his life had flashed before their eyes. He knew life and he had basis for comparison and he knew that his life had seen happiness.

It was in the smiles beneath those beautiful eyes.

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