This morning I wake up to find my eyes at the back of my skull. I wedge a finger into my eye socket but it’s no use, they’re out of reach.
They rattle around in my head like a couple of olives in a jar. I angle my head so that they fall back into place, but instead they slip into an unknown hole.
When my eyes finally settle I can see that they’ve fallen into a room where a young girl sits, sad and half-dressed. I recognize this memory immediately. The young girl is staring at something out of view. I know that that something is me.
The view of this memory is no good, so I readjust. I drop my head below my knees, and the entire room turns upside down, my eyeballs fall to the ceiling, but everything else remains unaffected by the shift. I see myself and the girl but I can’t hear what we’re saying. No matter, I know exactly what we said. It’s a Sunday in my childhood bedroom. We’ve just had sex. Two days from now, our relationship will be over.
I’m trying to console the girl. I’m saying that a lost necklace isn’t an omen. It’s not a sign of a doomed relationship. I’m saying we’ll never break up-our love is strong. I see myself saying these things and I can’t decide whether I’m lying or pretending that it might be true.
I lift my head back up, and the room flips back into place, my eyeballs fall onto the bed. My foot comes into view, looking strangely young. I hadn’t realized it aged, but clearly it has. Then the young girl comes over to the bed and touches me.
She caresses my foot and says something kind to me. It hurts that I can’t hear her voice. Her eyes are big and crowned with enormous eyelashes. I see for the first time that she knows that I no longer love her. And I see that she is pretending to believe whatever comes out of my mouth.
I pound my head to jolt my eyes away from her. They roll over, and a naked boy comes into view. I don’t like seeing myself naked. I focus on my face. I read my lips, and they say, “Things get lost all the time honey. We’ll find it.”
Even though I can’t see her, I know the girl smiles and says, “Of course we will.”
I watch a stupid smile come over my face, believing that I’ve convinced her. I see myself stand up and search under the bed.
I shake my head again, and my eyes get tossed across the room.
The young girl is crawling across the floor inspecting the carpet while I swipe away boxes from under the bed.
I angle my head so that my eyes roll over to the girl, right by her head. They see what she sees. She is not looking for the necklace; she is staring at something I scribbled under my desk when I was twelve years old. It reads:
When someone loves you, they say your name like they’re singing.
It pretty much sums up what I had learned about love from TV and movies. At that age, it seemed like a revelation.
I try to find the hole from where my eyeballs originally slipped into. I roll them over to the couch, then to the door, then to the lamp. Nothing. But what I do find is an embarrassingly thin necklace wrapped around the cord of the lamp.
I roll my eyes to the bed. I see dirty clothes. I see shoe boxes. I see me. A determined young man that keeps searching in all the wrong places. A young man struggling to see things as they are and not as I wish them to be. A young man that thinks he can break the heart of a young girl without harming it. I see that now, but I didn’t see that then.