My brother has dark blue eyes that dart from place to place. Two bluebirds that fly around, trying to find their nest.
Me, my eyes are brown. The color of mud after it rains, when you wanted so hard to play outside. The color of birthdays that no one remembered. They stay stuck in one place for so long that everyone forgets they’re there.
But they are there.
My brother is tall, really tall. Everyone notices him. He’s all stretched out and has a nice easy smile and all of him is strong and steady except for his eyes.
I’m always looking up at him, and he’s looking down at me. Our eyes are behind two different colors. Two different worlds. But then I stretch out my arms and he pulls me close and he smells just like a fire — not a mean one — but the kind that you dream about blazing in a fireplace on nights when it is cold and snowing, and so I close my eyes like it’s that dream and the fire holds me tight, ‘cause for once both of our eyes are together, and they know the same things, and they feel the same things, and just for once I feel sure that everything’s gonna be alright.
Turn up the music. It’s too quiet in here. So quiet I can hear myself think and then things start to get too real.
But then all of a sudden a new song comes on. No, no, no, not this one, so I turn off the music.
Turn it off and then there’s only the sound of me breathing and I try to stop it — stop the sound but then I start to feel sick, so the breathing comes back and every time I exhale it sighs, “All alone, all alone.”
I look out the window and two bluebirds are on the fire escape, pecking at food and scratching themselves, and tweeting. Then they turn to look at me and I stare at them. I tap at the glass, say hello, but then they just fly far away and I want to follow, but then I remember I don’t have wings. So I lie back down in bed and try to stay awake.
So then I stop trying to stay awake and shut my eyes and hope that in my dreams, there will be music and I’ll have wings, wings to fly and follow the bluebirds, and that then I won’t be all alone.
Bright Brown Eyes
Once she had bright brown eyes. Bright brown eyes filled with understanding and compassion and words.
But then the eyes dimmed down, blind to the world. She cries. Crying doesn’t need words. Stuck on the couch, stuck in her world, all alone in a empty mind.
“I – I don’t…” she says.
So I just touch her hair like she’s a little kid, and I bend down and kiss her cheek, and think, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” And then all of a sudden her eyes become bright, and I know she understands.
On the days when I’m all alone, I look out the window. The two bluebirds are long gone, grown up and left, and outside there is nothing but cold sky to comfort me. There are times that I wish I had a fire to warm me, to hold me tight. Those are the times when I look out the window.
Watch the sky until a star appears, and make a wish. See, that’s your angel. The first star in the night, the one that will keep your secrets and grant your wishes. The one that you can whisper to when no one else is around to hear. The one that will stay to comfort you every night, every year, and won’t ever grow up and fly away. That’s your angel.
I used to pretend my angel could hear me. I used to pretend that one day my angel would come and rescue me and take me out to the stars.
But now I don’t really believe in star angels up in the sky. The real angels are right here, the birds that sit outside windows, the people that give you a cup of something warm on the days when you’re down, those that understand that you love them and love you back, the ones that hold you…hold you just like a fire…
But these angels don’t stay forever. Sometimes they have to leave, just like I used to pretend the stars would rescue me. And when they’re gone, that’s when I look out the window, for something to hold on to, something that always stays bright and will never let go.
Rachel Lapides, Age 12, Grade 7, Hunter College High School, Silver Key