I can only imagine the tears behind the puffy, watery red eyes, buried into her pillow at night when nobody’s around. She hides her face there and stores the tears away where nobody will find them, behind a smile and a laugh. I don’t know why she’s crying . . . Separated parents, a patriarchal father, a critical mother, grades, boys, failure, disappointment, love, hate, fear . . . maybe? Why would I cry, if I were her?
I can’t see her crying, I can’t hear her, I just see the red eyes and the salty cheeks and the quivering lips, and the pillowcases streaked with tears. And then my eyes fill to brimming and I have to look away, but I can’t. Those eyes are everywhere I look.
I don’t know her name. I don’t know who she is, maybe we’ve met, maybe we haven’t, I don’t even know where she is. All I can tell you is that I see those eyes and I know that though she’s the one who’s been crying, I’m the one who’s miserable because of it. Her tears are spent but mine don’t seem to run anymore. They can’t escape my eyes, I can’t escape hers . . .
I can’t even see her face. It’s just those eyes. Laced with rosy veins, ringed with purple, downcast, avoiding my gaze, glistening like crystal. Sometimes I think I see stars hanging on her eyelashes, maybe they’re just rogue tears, maybe more, I’m not sure.
I love her. I do. It’s not because she’s weak or because I think she needs me to be her hero . . . it’s because she’s so strong and I don’t want her to have to be, I don’t want anyone to be, I don’t want to be, not alone, not like this.
I don’t know exactly what I’m doing or how to do it. I can’t see her, I can’t find her. Who is she? Where is she? What does she want? What does she need? How can I help? What am I looking for?
I don’t care if I don’t know what to do. I’ll figure it out. I’ll do this somehow. People have done stronger things before. I may not have half their courage, but I have half their task, so maybe that’s not a problem.
I want to find her. I want to look into those eyes and smile just to show them that everything’s all right. I’ll wipe away her tears and mine will be free to run down my smile, and I’ll dry them with my sleeve. I just want to find her, and I’ll look into a thousand pairs of red eyes to do it. I’ll open all of them to see what’s behind them.
What should I say when I find her? How will I know? It always comes back to that . . . How will I know? Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll never know who she is. Maybe I’ll just have to keep trying.
I won’t give up till I find her and dry our tears. It seems like that’s the only thing I’m really sure of. But as long as I know that, I can figure anything else out. Wish me luck—and—and please, for both our sakes, just be patient, and wait like me, and I promise, we’ll find each other.