I wrote this the night before a first date with someone I met on Matchin the spring of 2004. It was an intense two week email/instant message courtship that was both incredibly exciting and strange ... could that kind of never-felt-like-this-before chemistry online transfer offline? It did. And after we were dating for a bit I shared this with him. He was blown away on several levels and urged me to submit it somewhere for publishing. Later that summer, while driving home from a 5 day volleyball tournament in Reno, one of the volleyball moms, who was once a high powered, literary agent in Manhattan, said she'd submit it to the New Yorker. Two months after that, I received a check from Conde Nast that was big enough for me buy a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes on eBay and celebrate; the New Yorker had optioned my piece. I have since received another small check, never actually saw it published in the magazine and now that the Option has expired ... here it is:
Oh and the guy ... he had to move away for reasons that I totally understood and actually wouldn't have had it any other way. We still stay in touch and no one I dated before or since has come close to evoking the same feelings for me.
An Intimate Moment with a Photograph
Have you ever stared into someone's eyes for an hour? If so, what did you see? Endless possibilities? A soul as deep as the deep blue sea? A mirror that reflects your exquisite imperfections? Love? Hate? A thousand candles burning in a temple in some far off land that teeters somewhere between spiritual bliss and human suffering?
It was your words that compelled me to you contact you, but it was your eyes that made me click, inviting me to come in. What did I see? Warmth. Depth. A glint. An energy. A hidden smile. Fun.
When I was younger, my brother, always the entrepreneur, sold tickets to the neighborhood kids to see his sister's, my eyes glow in the dark. Like a cat's eyes. They didn't. He got in big trouble.
I’ve been told that I can hypnotize the least suspecting male with my baby blues. I’ve actually seen it happen. This guy bought 15 boxes of Girl Scout cookies as he stared into my eyes. It wasn't a conscious thing on my part. It just was.
Have you ever looked across the room at someone, someone special, caught their eye and your heart skipped a beat? Have you ever communicated understanding with just a look? Shown displeasure with a glare?
I spent sometime with a blind girl name Emily. She’s a triathlete. And you would think that since her eyes can't see, there would be nothing to see in her eyes. Wrong. So wrong. I saw focus, determination, and excitement. Of course we were talking about Wildflower the race I had done that morning (long course) and the one she was about to do the next (olympic) with her guide, Luis.
I remember the look in my grandma’s eyes when I found her on the floor in her kitchen. Peaceful ... at last. She had just lay down and died. She’s my mother's mother. And was never happy in all the years I had known her. And there she was looking happy for the first time.
Do you remember your oldest’s eyes when he was first born? If he was at all like mine, there wasn't much going on. Her eyes were dark bluish grey. It was about a week before there was expression. And a bit longer before they became true blue. We really don't know how she got her blue eyes. Her dad's eyes are brown. And we thought that was the dominant gene. But she had blue eyes in all my dreams when I was pregnant.
I’m sitting here in the near dark, computer screen glowing. I’ve got your picture up - the close-up one, the one where I can look into your eyes. Even though it is just a photo and completely motionless, there is so much there. And I pretend that you are looking at me and … I am looking forward to looking into your eyes for real.