One Green Eye and One Brown

Writing Prompt:  “I have one green eye and one brown eye.  The green one sees truth, but the brown eye sees much, much more.”

I was born with two green eyes, but the one brown eye developed over time.  The green eye sees what exists at this point in time.  The brown eye has learned over time to see intentions — both good and malicious.

My grandmother always wanted a brown-eyed child — but my mother had green eyes, and her brother blue.  My grandma wanted a brown-eyed grandchild, but I had green eyes, and my brother blue.  My uncle’s sons had blue eyes, too.  I married a brown-eyed Native American man, but still my sons both have light eyes — my older boy’s are blue-grey, and my younger son’s green like mine.  We all tried so hard to please my brown-eyed grandmother, but to no avail.

Had events occurred as Grandma had intended, we would all have brown eyes.  But blue- and green-eyed descendants are the existing fact.  Grandma’s brown eye saw many things over her years, though.

After my grandmother’s passing, I began to see the world more through her eyes.  Distrust, malice, greed, and other such ugliness became much more pronounced.  It was at every corner.  No wonder she had chosen to live such an isolated lifestyle.  Nearly a hermit.  My right eye turned a slight shade darker.

My mother always felt that she had been a disappointment in her mother’s eyes.  As my mother watched me grow professionally, she’d shake her head and smile, her green eyes watering, saying “You’re the daughter my mother always wanted.”  She meant it as a compliment, but it hurt.  I was the daughter her mother had always wanted, but not the daughter that my mother had always wanted?  She said this quite often.  One day, it was more than I could handle.  I confronted her on it.

She was shocked and horrified that I had taken it that way.  She burst into tears and yelled out, wounded.  Of course I was the daughter she wanted, but she saw in me accomplishments and drive that her mother had pushed her for, but she had been unable to deliver.  Seeing deeper into that meaning and intent changed things for the better.  That she might be in her sixties, but inside was very much a wounded child who felt she would never measure up.  My right eye changed another shade that day — closer to hazel.

I lost my mother to colon cancer not long after that.  I had become nearly alone in the world.  My dad had been taken by lung cancer and pneumonia.  My mom’s mother was lost to heart failure and diabetes.  Mom’s dad was taken by Parkinson’s and pneumonia.  Dad’s mom was taken by diabetes.  Dad’s dad was lost to heart failure.  My marriage was never strong, and didn’t survive all the loss.  It was down to just me and my two boys.

In my older son’s senior year of high school, he was very active in Show Choir.  With a long, lean build, each day I saw less and less of his father in him, and more of my dad.  Just before graduation, he performed in the school’s Dinner Show fundraiser.  The theme was “Wild West”.  He had been working on setup, and I hadn’t seen him before the show.  As he walked on stage, I saw what he was wearing — my mom’s dad’s black Western shirt with white pearl snap buttons, a red bandana, and a black cowboy hat.  No one else in the group was wearing all black but him.  Instead, he stood out against a sea of various plaids and checkers.  He was an amazing mixture of my mom’s and dad’s sides.

The first song they performed was “Rawhide” — one of my mom’s favourites.  The song had always had her smiling.  I lost it and started crying.  Each time my tears were nearly under control, another piece of the performance set me off again.

Another song they sang was “Earth Angel”.  As my son stepped to the front for his solo at the microphone, he removed the cowboy hat and held it over his heart as he sang.  So heartfelt and sincere.  What a wonderful young man!

After the performance, he came down into the audience and gave me a hug before he started helping with tear-down and clean-up.  I told him how very proud I was of him; that all his grandmas and grandpas would be so proud of him, too.  I told him that I forgave him then and there for anything he’d ever done wrong in the past 18 years, and that I apologised for every cross word I’d ever spoken to him.  He smiled and cried, trying to choke it back.  He hugged me again, even tighter, before he had to leave and get to work.

That next morning, I woke to find my right eye had turned the deepest, darkest brown.