Eyes Tell the Truth
My eyes change. They change with mood, weather and even what I’m wearing. They are a mixture of blues, greens, and browns. There is only one person in the world that has almost a replica of my eyes: my brother Brett. Brett has always been one of my greatest role models. He was everything I wanted to be: popular, charismatic, funny, refined. I never knew what a curse so many blessings could be. He followed the pack of beautiful adolescents and took up drinking and smoking, leaving his sister absolutely crushed. I confronted him. He said it was not true. He had stopped. I knew it was not so. He wouldn’t look me in the eye.
Eyes always tell the truth.
Those eyes of his faded a little more each day. Mine did too. One night he was abducted. That night a boy staggered into the house. He reeked of foul barley. I thought it could still be him, but then I saw his eyes. Those were not Brett’s eyes. They were blood shot and glazed over. They looked at me with such dismay. Even those eyes could not deny the truth. Whoever this person was, he was absolutely lost. I was lost too.
I did what I could to keep our eyes identical. I broke every standard I had made for myself. I felt the pain I saw in those eyes. We both were slanderous to ourselves. I let myself be torn apart, molded however the next boy wanted me. I was miserable, but at least I knew him and me had something in common.
Years later he was on his own. No money, no parents, no happiness. I saw his eyes again. My mother asked him what he wanted to do with his life. He would respond with a “What can I do? I’m good for nothing.” But I knew he wasn’t. His eyes said otherwise. Though his body looked weak and discouraged, his eyes shined with ambition, with success and above all compassion. Every harsh word he said I knew was a lie. His eyes are kind. He is kind.
I was saved. I found a boy who was just as lost as me. We found each other and in turn found ourselves. My eyes used to say, “Take what’s left of me, there’s not much to love.” Now they say, “ I am in love, and I have everything to give.”
Brett is saving himself. One cigarette less at a time he is matching his eyes more and more to his life.
If only we could remember to look a person in the eye, maybe then we would know our best friend, our children, and our siblings. Even today I observe his life and wonder who that man is. Luckily I can look at his eyes and find a brother. No matter how much the exterior changes, eyes will always tell the truth.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.