Through Your Eyes

May 2, 2010
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Its three a.m. on a Sunday morning and I am awake, thinking about you. I’m thinking about how you have changed my life, in more ways than one. I can’t seem to get one certain day out of my mind and I don’t really know why. I get up and walk across the cold hardwood floor and stare at the figure staring back at me in the mirror; my reflection and my toughest critic. That is where I see the one thing that makes me think about you, even when I am doing a good job of keeping you out of my head. I see my dark eyes, and know that you have the same ones in your beautiful head. You may have given me these eyes, and you may have the same ones, but I have come to realize that we look at the world and at each other very differently.
I haven’t slept in a very long time. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I actually slept an entire night without waking up. The nightmares have been coming every single night since we left you, and no matter how many colorful, Indian dream catchers I hang above my full sized bed, they don’t go away. Every bad dream brings back another dusty shadow of a memory. If I don’t sleep, they don’t come. Usually, I would rather be deprived of sleep than take a trip down memory lane.
I walk across the hall and check in on my little sister. She is sleeping fine, lucky girl. I decide to make coffee. As I am sitting on a kitchen barstool, my mind is clear for a few minutes. My body aches and is wearing down from no sleep, so I place my head on the cool island top.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The coffee maker rings three times and I realize I have fallen asleep. I rise up and my face hurts. I think back to the horrors that just haunted my sleeping thoughts. I had had the same dream for almost a week now, about the same day. Shuddering at the thought of it, I pour myself a cup of coffee. I drink it straight black, and quickly spit it into the sink. My eyes follow the brown liquid swirl around and around until it finally drops down the cold metal drain. I wish I could escape down that drain; I don’t care where it goes as long as it’s not here.
I need to rest, and I need to do it peacefully. I giggle to myself at the thought of a full night’s sleep and begin searching for the cream. I search under the sink, above the microwave, and on the counter beside the bread box; it was nowhere to be found. Mom was always moving things around and I never knew where anything was. It was part of her “Zen Phase”. I was already tired of it.
I tip toe over to the pantry and stare at the door. My mind races back to the nightmare and I cringe. My head hurts, my body hurts, and my heart hurts.

Slowly, I open the pantry door. An avalanche of books and papers and God only knows what else falls down all around me; so much for being quiet.
“Ouch!” I yelp, as one enormous book crashes into my left foot and falls onto the kitchen floor. I see the cream, of course, and bend down to start picking up my impressive mess. I only opened one door and I created an ocean of chaos; that’s talent.
As I am picking up all the old documents, the checkbooks, and the frayed photographs of my mother on her many vacations, one particular thing catches my eye. The book that quite possibly just broke one of my appendages is open, and I can’t stop looking at it.
There you are. There are my eyes staring back at me from your head. You are right on the floor of my kitchen, and I feel like I can reach out and grab you. I flinch at first. I don’t know if I am strong enough to handle this right now. I have to face you sometime, besides in the mirror.
I crawl over to the old, yellowed book and begin glancing at all of the photographs. In this one, you are holding me. Your smile is so big and wide, I can tell we must have been having fun. I was too little then to remember this moment now, but I would settle for the visual. This way, I could make this picture into whatever I wanted it to be. I decided before this picture had been taken, we had been chasing butterflies together. With that, I could at least feel some positive feelings toward you now.
I flip through the pages and my eyes start to burn. I promised myself I’d never cry over you again after that night, but here I am tearing up again. I don’t remember any of the pictures I see so far, but I do remember your face. As soon as I see those big, free-spirited eyes staring back at me I know you it is you.
I am almost at the end of the book now, and the top of my gray v-neck t-shirt is becoming soaked. I taste the bitter, salty tears in my mouth. I miss you. I miss the person you were in these pictures. I miss the person I was in these pictures. I miss us. Most of all, I miss being so little and not understanding what was going on around me, it was so much easier then.
On the last page, I hesitate as my eyes fall to the very last picture I ever took with you. I take it out of the album and hold it in my trembling hands. I remember this day because it has been haunting my slumbering thoughts. It is the day before we left you. I remember how everything was so perfect. You had just bought me my pink Barbie bicycle and you were teaching me to ride outside on the pavement. This day was so hot! I remember how you ran your fingers through my hair, and told me how big I was getting. When you finally let go of the back of my bike, I only made it about three feet on my own before I wobbled and toppled over. In my dream, this is where it had stopped. You had let me hit the ground and you had disappointed me. You had let me get hurt and cry and bleed. You had let me down.
Now, this memory is different. Now, I remember preparing myself for pain and scraped knees and blood, but before I could even hit the pavement you had scooped me up into your strong arms and saved me. You were so big to me then. You towered over me and you were my hero.
One tear cascades down my countenance and hits the worn picture. I quickly wipe it away and place the photo with all its memories back in its original home. As I close the album, I know tonight will be different. I had so many negative thoughts about you because you had messed up; you had lost your daughters and your wife. It was your entire fault I had to grow up the way I did, without you. I had failed to remember all of the wonderful times we had. I had failed to remember that you were my best friend and you had taught me everything I know about anything. Most of all, I had failed to remember that you love me.
I placed everything back in its exact position, or where I thought it might’ve been judging by the dust smudges on the shelves. I didn’t bother getting the cream, and didn’t bother putting my cup and coffee pot in the dish washer. I trudge back to my quiet bedroom and climb into my awaiting bed. I bury the pink, polyester covers all around my body and face. I had forgotten how truly comfortable my bed was.
Tomorrow would be a new day, and I would have a new outlook on everything; especially on you. I thought about calling you, but decided I would wait. I rose up one last time to glance in my mirror across the room. There they were, your faithful eyes staring back at me. In that moment I discovered that no matter how far away we were, or how long it took me to talk to you again, you were always with me.
I went over the memory of that day again in my head, you picking me up after I wrecked my bike. What a great friend. What a great father. Those were the last thoughts that entered my head before I finally fell into a peaceful unconsciousness.

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