These eyes

The eyes do not see the self. They look outward, not inward. They seek beauty, imprinting the heart with all they see.

These eyes of mine — the kids call them cat eyes — always found beauty in big brown eyes. Many a teenage crush began with eyes like these, reaching deep into my heart, taking control of every thought.

Eyes like these captured me for four years in secondary school. Only my ears could liberate me in my final year, when I heard the possessor of those eyes utter the F-word, that apparition of her beauty collapsing in an instant.

Eyes can both lead and mislead, so easily swayed by the gaze and glances of others, more persuasive than all contrary evidence, or even reality itself.

Fed by the eyes, the heart will believe all kinds of make-believe, which if the eyes could see the self it would automatically discount as preposterous fantasy. Eyes captured by eyes will willingly misunderstand even the most innocent of glances.

A year after the ears processed an F-word, rendering its utterer utterly ugly in my eyes, another pair of eyes likewise captured me, seizing my heart completely, rendering me blind to all experienced reality.

Suffice to say, I wish I had lowered my gaze in those days, for there was nothing the possessor of the eyes could do, or my friends could say, to disuade me from responding to the calls of my heart, believing every dream the eyes seeded inside.

There was a crush that lasted long after we parted company, which only the crushing intervention of a friend could bring crashing down, setting the record straight for one blinded by his own gaze.

Of course, had I been able to see myself, I would never have got myself into that emotional tangle in the first place. Seeing myself, I would surely have seen what she saw, and would likewise have turned away repulsed, understanding all those dreams to be mere fantasy.

It was at university that I first learnt to lower my gaze — to bury my eyes in the polished floor — rather than to succumb to the pull of every pair of eyes glancing across a room. By then I had learnt the error of my ways, to engage all of the senses to better discern truth and falsehood, to better determine reality.

The eyes have to be trained, the gaze restrained. If I could apologise today to those who were once bothered by my youthful gaze, I surely would. I’m sorry my eyes continued to trouble them, when every declaration of the tongue fell on deaf ears.

Only when the eyes learn modesty is the heart rewarded. Even eyes must learn to be patient, to await their turn. Eyes must learn how to truly see.

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