Eyes Like Ice

May 1, 2008
By Tanya Gomez, Grandview, WA

I have heard almost every single thing everybody has said about me, rumors spreading without any investigation, or observations about the way I look, the way I act. Even the way I speak. Is it really necessary? I was once upon a time flattered that some women found me handsome, but I don't hear those sorts of comments very often now. I've never gotten them in person, either, so it could be they were always saying so just to make me underestimate their no-good intents or something.

I can't help but question as to why so many dislike me, without getting to know me. I have few people I talk to, and even fewer friends.

I've also heard the nicknames, the things these people tend to call me. Dr. Ice, was a popular one, and sometimes Mr. Cuts-You. Rarest of all, Aurely has come up a few times, making fun of my first name, making it sound like that of a girl's. Sometimes I hear them joke about my hair, saying I used wax to keep it down.

They've even had the guts to tell me up front, face to face, that I was a cold, manipulative, twisted man. Those who have were mainly men. Men, doctors, from Deningark: Home for the Insane, where I worked. A few gossiping women have whispered: "Who knows what he’s capable of?” What a most appropriate question to ask. None of them were let off easy, not by me. Actually, a few of them have ended up staying in one of Deningark's many protective cells, claimed mad, as proved by myself, during court. From helping a patient, to being an actual patient.

I was trained for that sort of thing, psycho-evaluations. I was trained rather well, too. The others have earned my coldest, deadliest looks, maybe even a threat or two, which I know none will be left empty.

Constantly, I hear people say things about my eyes. "He could have ice in his eye sockets," most would say. Or, "They're beautiful," to some women. It's a wonder they've observed my eyes so carefully, they're hidden behind a pair of square-shaped glasses more often than not. I know I don't have to wear them all of the time, but I feel naked without them on. I've gotten too used to them, too close to them. They've been through so many things with me. My first game of chess, in school. My first patient. My first wins and losses, in court and in my own life. They felt important; they were a part of me. These glasses, which not only help me, physically, but also, helped me see the way other peoples' minds worked too. I don't know how it is, but they give me that confidence, that sort of feeling that I can find out anything. This has helped me very well, with my patients here at Deningark.

Except one, however, so far. Aurthur Quierren. He constantly claims he isn't crazy, and doesn't seem to want to get better. He's sometimes violent during sessions, too. Has he listened to his laughter? He had a laugh darker than that of a villain's. Actually, that sounds like something a certain Dr. Tent had recently whispered to another doctor. About my laughter. He is very lucky that he is my friend.

I know, I know. I should ignore it all, right? I shouldn't care so much. But it gets difficult. If you're at the point to where EVERYONE is talking about you, about everything that is you... Oh, if only you were me. You'd see why I have gone so low as to give the threats I give and do the things I do. It's not like I do---or did--- anything bad, anyway. No death threats. No, I'm no nut-job, or else I wouldn't be a doctor here at Deningark. I'd be one of the patients.

You know what I hate the most of what I've heard? The rudest comments on how I treat my patients! I treat them as needed! If they act up it's either some loss of privileges, the straitjacket, the "Soft Room", or a guard calms them down with a shot of "Sleepy Stuff" (as we doctors refer to the sedatives casually). "Some of the patients complain about you," Dr. Tent has told me. Of course they'll complain! They are crazy people in need of mental help; they don't enjoy being put in a time-out. No one does! It's only natural.

The other doctors question me as to why I am even here, for what reasons. They twist things around to make it sound like I don't want to be here, don't care about helping the patients, like all I want is money. I know my reasons for being here, at Deningark, they're clearer than clear. Crystal clear. I did want to help, I really do care. I don't want these people; my patients, to stay insane and then one day out of their insanity kill themselves or something. Like my father had. That had been one loss in my life, and I wanted no more to happen, because of these people not being helped, not being cured.

Anyway, Taycie Turpin, a young, curious woman, comes around once in a while, always saying hi to everyone here at Deningark. She says hi to the patients too. She always comes around to greet me, last (she had joked to me about saving the best for last), which is somewhat surprising since I'm sure she's heard the things being said about me. Heck, I know she has. But she doesn't say anything; she doesn't even seem to care. It's sweet of her, really. I like her visits. At first, though, I was somewhat annoyed at how she follows me around, asking me questions about almost every little thing, asking me to elaborate on whatever it is I'm telling her because she always wants every single detail, nothing left out, no short-sweet-and-to-the-point. She seems so interested in the things I do, about the things I think about. It feels nice, to know someone wants to know about you, your likes, your dislikes. She's even asked me to lunch and dinner a few times. I've paid of course! I think I can at least pull off being a gentleman.

Rumors grow and lick at my heels about her. About her and I. Us. Together. They think we're dating, that we're in some sort of a relationship. I know we have some sort of a relationship, but it's more of a "friends" type of thing. I'm not sure what will happen between us in the coming months, but I'm just happy with what we have right now.

She's a strange person, Taycie is. She likes to listen to the radio and read at the same time---I do that too. She doesn't care what type of food she eats as long as it's good---me neither! She's very patient and very good with her words. I've watched her, listening to what she says. She'd smile and ask that stubborn patient of mine, Mr. Quierren, a question, and slowly edge the answer out of him. And sometimes, I'd catch myself smiling at her, staring at her without realizing that I'm doing so. Without warning, too, a simple glance from her blue-green eyes sometimes makes my face feel warm, and I even occasionally stutter when I speak to her.

I don't quite get the feeling and a while ago I wondered if I caught something from George, Dr. Tent, because he's always stuttering. I know you can't catch some sort of "Stutter Bug" from someone, that would be stupid, but I had wondered though. I had even asked George, just to make sure, if that could happen, and he gave me a grin and asked me if I had a crush on Taycie. He knew about her and me, of course, everyone did. "A silly, little kid’s crush?" I had yelled back at him. Then I told him that I didn't even like her. Which, I know was one of the biggest, fattest lies in the universe. Yes, that was a huge lie, on my part. What I should have said, was that I didn't even know how she felt about me. Which was the complete truth, and nothing but the truth.

I keep finding myself wondering what every little thing she does around me means. When she smiles at me, what her winks could possibly signal, when she teases me about taking my glasses from me one day, and when she jokes that I look a lot older than she is, which, you can tell is a joke because she always starts laughing her gasping laugh at that one. We're only about two years apart in age.

Very recently, when she had somehow slipped my glasses from my face in one sweeping movement, she had stared at me for a long moment, which made me blush, to my neck and the very tips of my ears. When I finally stopped looking at every other thing except her face, I realized she had been staring into my eyes. And I began staring back, not sure of what to look for in her big, bright eyes, what I would find.

Then, making me jump at the suddenness of her voice, she said: "They're all wrong. Everybody around here says you have eyes like ice. I don't see one speck of cold in them, except their shade of blue." She had smiled and gently put my glasses back onto my nose. I was completely astonished at her words. I wasn't used to hearing such nice comments, such gentle words. I would have told her that maybe she needed a pair of glasses too, if she hadn't sounded so sincere. Her own eyes had told it all too, the truth in them, how much she really meant what she had just said. I liked the fact that everything in me believed her words, because no one else's truly mattered to me any more in that single moment.

Now, these days, as I walk around Deningark, sometimes Taycie right behind me (giving me advice on how to get my patients to respond, to answer my questions), I hear new rumors, but they don't really make sense anymore.

I’m actually starting to be nicer to these people. Though, I’m not quite sure what exactly my reasons are. I continue to give my threats, but they're empty now, not even irritation slips into them anymore, when I used to yell so loud the whole other side of the planet would probably have heard me.

The rumors are less and less vicious; the names have gotten older and less creative. "Has Dr. Cutler gone crazy?" I've heard everyone saying this of my new-found goodwill; it may be the only rumor I enjoy hearing just because it’s so amusing. So maybe I have gone crazy. Or maybe, I've grown saner than all of these gum-flapping doctors in Deningark put together. Who knows? All I know is that their words don't matter any more. They'll never matter now.

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