Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
I looked too long. My eyes frozen onto hers, still open, but just beginning to become milky. I guess I should start at the most logical place; the beginning. I suppose it’s the least I can do. I mean, people are going to go through all of my shit to find out why I did it. It of course being, me putting the barrel of a thirty-eight snub nose revolver (God bless America and its easy access to firearms) into my eye and pulling the trigger. I can only hope that the extensive damage obliterates me or at least obliterates the images of what I had seen. However, I get ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning and not the end, my end.
It all started with a length of rope, a girl from my village, and a mango tree. If that sounds sinister, it was. She hung herself from a tree outside of my room a month ago. I should explain that I was a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village in Nicaragua. I signed up to open my eyes up to the world. (Oh God!) The village was small and in truth I was a mediocre volunteer that preferred listening to music and reading to interacting with the locals. However this is not about my service (If you are reading this to understand why I was a poor volunteer all I can say is fuck you. We have slightly bigger things to focus on at the moment.), this is to help you piece together why I am writing this with a loaded .38 revolver sitting by the computer.
She had done it during the night and her death had not been instantaneous. She had writhed and swung in the mango tree outside my house for hours before finally dying. I, of course, heard nothing. I came out in the morning to find her hanging a few feet away from my door. Her eyes were wide open and just beginning to cloud and a soft breeze shifted her corpse like she was still struggling with her decision to hang herself. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have never done what I did. I stared at her in shock. She was wearing a cheap knock-off sweater that read “SpongeBill Rectangle Pants.” Her black hair was cascading around her face like a halo. My eyes were locked onto hers. What had they seen in those last moments before the light was stolen from them? I couldn’t look away from those opaque eyes seeing everything and nothing. That was how it all started.
The police came and cut the rope that had hung her from the tree. She collapsed to the ground like a sack of bones probably breaking a few of them in the process. The chisme/gossip around my village was that it was unrequited love. She had eyes (Sweet Jesus!) only for me and couldn’t bear to live without me. The story was spread through-out my community before she was even in the ground. I don’t necessarily believe that as we had literally only shared one conversation in which we talked about beans. I have another explanation for all this, but I rather keep it to myself. She was buried within two days and I just wanted to move on.
It started with chills whenever I passed by the mango tree that she had done herself in by. I would sometimes catch glimpses of something in the branches like a small child or animal. (Volunteers will concur that children can climb trees like monkeys and strip fruits within hours as well as roosting chickens.) When I turned my head to get a better view, I would find nothing there. I brushed it all off as heebie-jeebies. I was dealing with PTSD after all. I thought I would just wake up one day and sit under the tree and read a book like the old days and not even think of the girl clawing at her cyanotic neck with black and red nails…
It all started to unravel one day when I sat down to eat a bowl of hot soup, which coincidentally was only given on the hottest day of the year. I spooned mouthfuls while giving the usual platitudes. “Que rica!” “Que saborosa!” (“Que mierda!”) Until I fished the black hair out of my soup. This was odd as the only cook that day was my abuela whose hair was grey. This was not from the cook and due to the caustic nature of my host grandmother, neither was this a visitor. I ignored it and went on with my day as best I could, but the thought was already haunting me.
That night was the first time I saw it, but not the last time. I was lying in bed and looking at the passing night sky through the wooden boards that composed my house. The wind was rustling through the leaves and I caught a glimpse of something in the aforementioned mango tree. It was larger than before and my skin prickled. I brushed it off once again as nerves until I saw something through the slat that consisted of my shanty house just as I was drifting off. I saw it peering through the cracks. They were milky white and they were looking at me.
At the end of that sleepless night which I spent with my eyes darting to the cracks in my wall and my heart jumping at every creak in my ancient dilapidated room, I went into the nearest city and called my girlfriend, Iris, to come down and visit for a few days. I told her nothing about my state of mind. (Because seriously, who wants to know their significant other is going bananas?) I only told her that I needed her. (And I guess that part was true enough.) She traveled to my site within a day and was by my side the next day.
I tried to fuck my way out of my problem. (As I always seem to do.) My girlfriend was more than willing to accommodate. I buried those thoughts and memories into her body and drew back comfort and peace. The chisme that Iris heard only mentioned a woman committing suicide in my village and nothing else. The people were now more focused on my status as a picaflor which wasn’t necessarily true as I only had one girlfriend, but the sound of us making love and me losing myself in her only spread the gossip. She was blissfully unaware of how I was coming apart and I drew whatever strength I could from her.
That strength left me a few days later. Iris left me a day before that, but once again I get ahead of myself. The cause should always precede the effect. We had just finished making love and I had just winced my eyes shut as I reached the pinnacle and gave myself over to her. I relaxed in the blissful afterglow and wrapped my arms around her. I drifted off. When I came to it was still dark and my arms were wrapped around Iris, feeling her skin pressed against mine. It was one of those moments in which I wish I could freeze in amber and preserve before it all went wrong. Everything soured when the door to my room opened and Iris walked in, complaining of the distance of the latrine. Who was in my bed?
My eyes shot open revealing… Nothing. My bed was empty which I soon remedied for the fourth time that weekend. I focused on Iris, but my mind shifted and drifted to eyes. The hazel eyes that were now milk-white and saw through me. Those glassy eyes staring at me from inside my head killed the mood as well as other parts of me. I sealed myself off from Iris after that point and became distant. I wasn’t surprised when the relationship imploded within days. Iris was gone in three days, but she’d left me one day earlier after crying and the words ‘cold and heartless’ being thrown at me. I was alone… Or rather I wished I was alone.
I tried my best to ignore the sensations of being watched, but to no avail. My community looked at me and my haggard expression with interest. There was clearly gossip to be had here, but they knew little to nothing. I ignored them, but continued to feel them stalking me with their eyes. Even worse, I felt her watching me. I could tell it was her when I found myself throwing furtive glances at shadowy corners. I tried my best, my God, I tried my best! It was the next day that I became completely undone and drank myself into the hospital and then drank myself out of my service.
I woke up to an unfamiliar sound in my room. This wasn’t a rat scurrying around. This was the slow deliberate sound of a rope grinding into the main support beam of my room. I winced my eyes shut. I knew what that was. It was her. She was swinging in my room, feet away from my bed, clawing at her throat. I acted like a child, as if not looking at her would make the hanging shade go away. My eyes snapped open when I heard the rope snap and a sickening sound like bones breaking on the floor inches away from my head. She was gone, but some part of me knew she would never leave.
I’ll gloss over how I came to bi expelled from the Peace Corps. I’ll just allude to a cheap bottle of moonshine and mi drunken raving about eyes in the darkness to all that had ears. I found myself in Amirica amongst my friends who did not know how close I’d come to complete madness. I wrapped myself up in their lives like a shield and visited with them to the point of uncomfortableness. None of that mattered. I was safe. I was wrapped up in that security net of family and friends.
That safety net was cut last night when I woke up with the unmistakable feeling of hair on my face. I felt clammy palms pressing into my cheeks and holding my head in place. She was on top of me, her face inches from mine. I cringed my eyes shut, but she persisted. I waited for hours until I knew that she wasn’t going to leave. I opened my eyes and stared into her milky white eyes. It was in her eyes that I saw it. I saw what she had seen. Oh God! Oh sweet Jesus! I would shoot myself a hundred times over to erase what I had seen.
This is why I’m typing this. I know she will persist and I know why she must. I have only one option left. I cannot face what I saw last night again. I realize why she is watching (Mother Mary!) me. I couldn’t look away from her eyes in grotesque fascination when she was in the tree. My eyes locked onto hers. I saw what she saw and she saw what she had desperately wanted to see again. That’s why she stalks me so. She wanted to see the life in my eyes, but what I saw in exchange… Holy Heaven, I can’t bear to see that again. I’m going to do it now. I have to. I’m sorry.
Eye couldn’t do it. The eyes were there. At the bottom of the barrel, looking into me once again and bringing all the terrors of what she had seen at the end of her life as she tried to claw the rope from her neck. Eye watched frozen as my soul was hallowed out by her insistent gaze. I know now what is waiting for us at the end of it all. Oh Crucified Christ I know! She had caught a glimpse of life, a momentary reprieve from what she now sees and now nothing would stop her from experiencing that again. She’s watching me through the gun, her eyes are on me from the shadows. Oh God! Her eyes are on me from the computer screen! She doesn’t care who! She just wants the sight she’s lost. The gun! THE gun! THE GUN!
Eye See You
Credit To – Empyrean