Pitch Black Eyes

My blog’s mostly full of what simmers in my mind – random things that turn my page into a hodge-podge, but I wanted to share a short story of mine for the first time. If you’d like to give feedback, please do – I totally welcome them. Here goes:

Pitch Black Eyes

            “You’re destined to suffer,” My mom always told me. “My poor girl,” she said. “It was what the stars had destined for you from the beginning.”

I believed that I had a chance to fight against what she said whenever I looked at you.

“Icy blue iris,” I said one day when we were alone. “Icy blue iris with a black dot right in the middle.”

You held me tight. “Black iris,” you followed. “Black iris with a black dot right in the middle. Hey, the colors of your eyes and mine – they’re just like us. Look, my arms wrapped around you. I’m blue, you’re black,” you said.

“Do my pupil and iris look the same to you?” I asked.

“Sure, pitch black eyes. Don’t you see it?”

I didn’t answer.

It was autumn then. We heard the crisp leaves crunch outside and the sharp breeze from the window brushed against our cold, pink cheeks. I remember we were on your bed but you had to drag me to it before I later rested in your arms. The bed’s seven-piece set with the properly arranged silk cushions looked too perfect. Before I met you, I never knew there was such a thing as “too perfect.” I could only gaze at your bed from afar but you grabbed my wrist and sat me down, saying that keeping it arranged should be the housekeeping lady’s concerns, not mine.

I remember how I was afraid that you’d hear my heart thumping. I thought that was just because I still had butterflies when I was around you. But now I know – I just wanted to listen to you to make you happy.

Wear this with this, you always said. You’d look prettier.

I didn’t know then that you made me nervous all the time because I was too worried about what I looked like around you. I started to pick up eyeliner, something that was foreign to me. Then I thought about if I drew it on straight. Obsessing over my makeup today manifested into always. We’ve known each other for over two years but I fidgeted with my hair, scared that that was messed up as well. I never cared before, but it all changed when you told me that I was prettier with makeup. It’s funny how I hardly believed it the whole time when I was with you. Only, I never listened to myself.

As I twirled a piece around my finger, one of my pitch-black hairs fell onto your shoulder. You squirmed and immediately brushed it off while I looked at your short blonde hair.

“Sorry. Mine’s just long. That’s why it’s gross,” I lied.

You didn’t say anything. You just slid your hand down my thigh, making me shudder. I felt like I couldn’t breathe when you held my nape. I almost wanted to kick you off the bed. Your amber scent, your damp palm – you – you were too much. You pressed your lips against mine and I held onto the bed sheets instead of wrapping my arms around you. I remember at that moment I traced your name and mine together in my mind. Anderson. Haejin Anderson. I traced the strange name over and over again and the letters that I saw weren’t reflective of me. I could accept only the first half.

Remember how my mom loved you – adored ­­you? I remember what she told me after you treated us to dinner at that French restaurant. She merely nodded and smiled as she patted your hand, but she wouldn’t stop chattering after you had left.

“Don’t make the same stupid decision as I did,” she said. She nudged me before she said two more words: “blue eyes.”

Those two words. I obsessed over them. I didn’t want something innate – something I had no control over – to control my life. I wanted to believe in agency, degrees from top universities, honest job interviews. The only way that I could be me was to work toward these – everything that mattered in my life. I didn’t know if I could say the same about being Mrs. Anderson. Your girlfriend. Your wife. Yours. I had forgotten everything that I was because everything – the car, the clothes, the money – was attached to you and detached from me.

I knew you didn’t love me. I just didn’t want to believe it, but I had to make up my mind before I further embarrassed myself. I was going to leave you first, right when you least expected it. I was going to erase the possibility of Haejin Anderson before it eradicated me. I decided to kiss you, envelop you in my arms, while I held you harder as you held me, so you’d never see it coming. All the while I secretly hoped you’d never forget my sharp collarbone, my long black hair that swayed against your shoulders, and my mom’s silver family ring I’d always wear on my left index finger, frigid whenever it touched your chest.

But none of that mattered. When I left you, it was as if you took everything about me and shredded it, leaving me with nothing. I waited for any frantic phone calls or messages. But you never asked me what happened. You never held onto me like I held onto you. I wanted you to always remember how hard I tried whenever I was with you to survive for those two years. But you didn’t. No, I thought that I had left you first and so I’d be better off than you, but you didn’t come for me. You left me alone here on my wooden bed – the one that Dad built himself when I was little, the only thing that I loved in my old, crumbling apartment. I always slept so well on it, but now I can’t ever sleep. I think about what Mom told me, about how I was destined to suffer. I twirl her family ring around my finger but all I can think of is what you saw of me. Should I have tried harder? Would that have made you really love me? I don’t know. All I can hear right now is your voice.

Pitch black eyes, you said.

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