One of the earliest life lessons I learned as a child was seemingly little more than a logical lesson in sightlines. One of the basic ideas of hide-and-go-seek is simply this - if you can see their eyes, they can see you. Sensible, I suppose, to assume that if their eyes are visible to you, should they shift their gaze, yours would be to them as well. The underlying lesson, of course, is to just hide, not try to figure out where your opponent is lurking.
Nevertheless, the rule stuck with me. Because it made sense. Into my adult years, I would remember from time to time. If you can see their eyes, they can see you. It didn't occur to me until much later that the little saying in the back of my head was only half the battle. Yes, if you can see their eyes they can see you, theoretically. But then, they have to look.
For weeks, months maybe, you saw me sitting there, but my gaze was always directed elsewhere. I was distracted, or busy. My eyes were there, but I didn't see you. Once you opened your mouth, however, that was the end of my unintentional indifference. Hell, it was the end of everything. You opened your mouth, and your arms, and you were all that I could see. Funny how that works, isn't it? How someone can go from nobody to the center of your universe so quickly.
And so it began. The very first whirlwind romance of my life. And as we flirted at a distance, my faith in my childhood logic returned. From across the building I'd seek out your eyes, and let mine linger where you were sure to find them. And that's how it was when we were apart. Silent, stolen glances. The workplace was suddenly alive with the electricity of a new romance. I'd walk taller when I could see your eyes. Because I knew you could see me.
Like most whirlwind romances, though, we spun out of control. We forgot where we were going. The last time I saw you, you had your arm around me, and you were looking at me. You smiled, and I looked into your eyes.
You weren't looking at me. You were looking through me, somehow. Beyond me. But not at me. I was standing right there, but you couldn't see me. And as we stumbled home, hand in hand, and tumbled into bed, I started to wonder if you ever had. And as I kissed you goodbye and silently slipped away in the morning, I wondered if you ever would.
If you can see their eyes, they can see you. But sometimes, they just aren't looking.