“Do you know why women outlive men?” she asks as her granddaughter lays her head on her lap. Her granddaughter shakes her head and looks up at her nani’s face.
Saturday morning. 11AM. Penn Station. A young woman came and stood right near where I was sitting. She was talking on the phone and looking over at the train schedule at the far end of the room.
It seemed almost all of a sudden. A couple sitting across from us. He was looking at the woman, so was She. She would occasionally turn Her head slightly to Her right, not too much so he wouldn’t notice. Just slightly. She would look at his eyes and She knew where they were. What captivated his eyes so much? Perhaps the way the woman’s straight-ironed brown hair fell and swayed along her shoulders. Or the way her makeup brought out her bold eyes or how the pink blush accented her high cheekbones. Perhaps the way her small wrist bent ever so slightly as she gripped her cellphone near her ear. Was it her voice? Making it’s way across the room in small whispers? Maybe it was the way she stood so straight even in her four-inch stilettos. Or the way her hips and thighs outlined her bootcut jeans. A full hourglass figure. Her coat clung to her waist and wrapped around her ample bosom. Tight.
She sipped on the straw until it struggled to gather every little drop in the empty glass bottle. She got up, calculating each step as She walked in front of him and the captivating woman all the way to the garbage can. She threw her bottle into the can and turned around, just as he turned his eyes to Her. He threw Her a smile as She walked back towards him. The smile was more to satiate himself than for her. She settled once more in the chair next him. She turned Her head up and leaned towards him and he followed Her lead. She claimed his lips for Her own with Her peach-scented chapstick. She turned back with pursed lips to the lady with brown hair. As does her companion, still thinking She has no idea where his eyes have rested for the past fifteen minutes. She stuck out He chin, still wondering what there was to see. She crossed Her legs, left over right, so that Her left foot gently rested near his outstretched legs. This was her territory. Marked.
“You see, that’s what it is. Women file away everything inside of them. Especially when they know that he didn’t notice. They file and file and file until they form a barrier all around their insides. An artillery waiting to be used, but it never leaves their core. So it just sits there. Waiting. It protects them well,” she says as she looks down into the face of her granddaughter, “Men, well. Men have no artillery. They just have moments. Moments that seem innocent enough, but build up. As they look away from their moment of pleasure and into the face of the woman they love, the guilt comes to the edge of their skins, wanting to cut them open from the inside out. These moments eat and eat and eat away at their insides. Slowly. Until there is nothing left to eat.”
“But, nani, that can’t be all men,” her granddaughter retorts back.
“No, not all. Most, but not all. There are the Few. Their eyes have a different glow and glisten to them, a different luster. The tints of brown, or green, or grey shine differently. When you look into those eyes, you notice it right away. They lack a certain thirst, a certain hunger. They don’t want to eat you and store you inside of them. And when you look into them, you see yourself reflected back—only in your truest form. It’s those eyes you should look for.”
inspired by nayyirah waheed’s poem:
“eyes that commit.
that is what I am looking for.”