His Shattered Eyes

There is a sharpness in his eyes that was not there before. Only after looking at them a long time did I realize it is because something has shattered. His eyes used to be smooth and so clear that you could see all the world he’s ever seen reflected in them. Or all the world you’ve ever seen.

Now the reflection is skewed and the broken pieces are sharp.

Maybe that’s why he doesn’t open his eyes as much. He doesn’t want people to see. He doesn’t look in the mirror. Maybe he doesn’t know. Or maybe he does know and he just doesn’t want to see.

I see him sitting with his chin resting on his knuckles, his eyes closed tight.

He says he’s concentrating.

Concentrating on what? Not on lecture like he wants me to think. Not on the safety speech. Not on anything he tells me he’s concentrating on.

What is he seeing with those shattered eyes? Something far from here. Maybe. Or maybe something so close he can see it without looking.

Sometimes I think he’s dreaming.

Whatever dreams they are I am afraid to ask.

He scares me.

It scares me the way he talks about life. As if it’s something he’s passively observing. As if he knows the end, but doesn’t really care, even though the end is something awful.

He’s just watching. Watching with such interest and yet such indifference.

I see the bruises and cuts. He hardly seems to notice them. He casually mentions the accident as an afterthought.  So nonchalant. So flippant. Just another idle piece of information.

‘I could have died’, he says. And it kills me because he doesn’t care.