Alexandria wasn’t one who played well with others. Even when she was a little girl, her favorite pastime was tormenting the neighborhood children, demanding all sorts of ridiculous acts to prove their loyalty and friendship. But as she grew older, the poison in her heart began seep into her veins, traveling through her bloodstream, numbing and deadening her very being. It got harder and harder to care for others, and the meaner she became, the more she pushed those around her away. But she couldn’t quite help it.

The only loving relationship she experienced was the one between her mother and father, and oh, it was far from loving. Her mother’s voice snapping out like a whip that lashed at her cowering father often woke her in the middle of the night. She would watch as her mother verbally beat her father, his hunched figure cringing into the kitchen counters as he shakily handed her money he couldn’t afford to give her. And then she would stuff the cash into her skintight jeans and flaunt out the door into the night.

Alexandria was alone. She was nineteen, and the tiny, dingy apartment she paid $300 for every month was shabby, but hers. She no longer had to witness her parent’s brittle relationship deteriorate before her eyes. But she was alone.

Scott was new in the building. Alex watched him through a crack in her door as he moved into the flat across the hall. His blonde hair shone in the sun shining through the dusty window slats. She was almost bored with the idea of introducing herself, but she figured it was something to do. And she was surprised when his genuine smile, the first she had seen in a long time, started to warm her heart.

“Hey, nice to meet you. I know this is strange, but do you mind if I snap a pic of you? You’re quite pretty.” He blushed when he said this. She looks back at that picture every now and then, to remind her that life is so much better to live when you have some life in your eyes.

Story by Helana deRossett


These Eyes

These eyes are a blessing and a curse. People on the street will walk by me and say things like: “nice eyes.” Just like that and then they will keep walking.

I get a lot of interest from men because of these eyes. Some will tell me, “nice eyes,” but I’ll be in the dairy section or somewhere where the guy can’t just keep walking. I smile and sometimes I say, “thanks,” and sometimes we keep talking and they ask for my number and I give it to them and they call and they take me out and we have dinner. I’ll wear a business casual blouse or if they seem artsy, a baggy sweater. But they just stare and stare into my eyes and I know they’re doing it. And they always tell me again, and sometimes again that, “nice eyes.”

Sometimes we go out again and maybe once or twice after. They’ll think that cuz my eyes are like so amazing that the rest of me will just be even more amazing. But there is no way I can keep up with the expectation that the rest of me will match my eyes. So when the rest of me is not special and amazing and is just regular…or even if I was above average that wouldn’t be enough.

So it’s a curse, too, really. And I can’t see them unless I look in a mirror, so my eyes give out a lot of pleasure but I don’t get a lot in return. I just have these eyes to live up to and now I don’t even try because I used to and I know that it’s just impossible.

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