Why don’t you look me in the eyes?
It was a legitimate question,
but she was a new friend,
who didn’t Know,
so I faltered.
How do you say….
The eyes are dangerous, and
in their reflection,
I cannot hide
and what I’ve seen,
heard and experienced,
who I’ve loved
the Me that lives fully, deeply and passionately,
but is too scared to feel anything again,
the suffocating pain but
also the love, happiness and hope,
past, present and future.
The eyes are windows to
the soul, a place where I go alone, when nothing else is left,
the heart, where I carry the Ben that was,
and heaven, where I can still feel the Ben that is.
The eyes are sacred, because
they once held his steel blue gaze,
and they can’t let go,
but if you look,
he may disappear.
And, what would you see, in that reflection?
It's summer now, with
heat, which is
the Ben my eyes once saw -
his navy Hawaiian bathing suit,
shovel in hand,
giggles while digging in the sand;
the Ben my hands once touched –
applying the sunscreen to his soft skin,
wiping the curls out of his face
that last morning with a whisper
you’re too pretty to be a boy, I love you;
the Ben my ears once heard –
the first and last time,
the weekend before he was gone,
Mama, mama, mama
Mama (echoing forever)….
I fear you would hear him too.
My eyes would show you,
I’m right back there today,
and they would take you there too.
But, right now you are safe,
and you don’t have to know what I know,
that there can be beaches and smiles, then nothing,
and fear what I fear,
loving and losing,
the friends I held so close,
and right now, my eyes,
they would only reveal
that I can’t let anyone in again,
not quite yet,
for you don’t want to see,
what I have seen.
** I was not ready for what this first summer would bring. It hit like a unexpected tsunami. The first hot, sunny day we had in Colorado, a day at the pool, smells (sunscreen, water), sensations (the breeze), sights (a mother rocking her son, with a navy bathing suit, in the same position I used to rock Ben). It has been nine months since I’ve experienced a flashback and never one like this. At the pool today, all of those senses coalesced into one moment and my mind took me back to the weeks before Ben’s death, then the week after - I was at the beach with him, then I was at our friend’s house where we hid that first week. I smelled the comfort of her house. Then, I profoundly missed the friends I had to leave in Connecticut. It has been good for us to start anew, but sometimes I need those who experienced the trauma along with us, those who have had the same triggers with the heat these past few weeks, who sheltered us at their houses during breakdowns, who hugged me when I could do nothing else but sob.