The other day I didn’t tell you that your eyes snagged my heart again. I never mentioned that your eyes were the color of an ocean and the gray shirt you were wearing made them pop just a little more than usual. For only a moment, I felt like I was looking at your eyes brand new as if more than 20 years between us hadn’t existed. My heart noticed but I didn’t tell you.
I couldn’t tell you that day. I refused.
I wouldn’t tell you that the warm, morning sunlight flickered in the center of your eyes and I was struck by how stunning they were. My heart fluttered. It actually skipped a beat just like it had so many years ago. Your eyes took my breath away but I didn’t want you to know that I even noticed, or cared.
We were sitting across from one another on a weekend morning. Which day was it? I can’t remember now - Saturday or Sunday? It was Sunday because we were out of town with the kids on Saturday.
My decision not to tell you began on the drive home even though I wouldn’t realize it until the next day. The truth that your eyes still get me sometimes was removed from the list of things I would share with you. But when I sat across the kitchen table from you that Sunday morning - after spending more than two decades of our life together - I refused to tell you that your eyes were so damn pretty, because I was furious with you.
Does it even matter why we were frustrated with one another? Do the disagreements change over the years or are they the same ones for new situations? I know couples get upset. They argue. Sometimes they work together and talk it out. Other times, they choose to ignore each other until the feelings pass or they are too tired to care. I’ve always said that it’s safer when I’m irritated because it reveals I’ve got at least an ounce of the give-a-crap left in me. If I shrug and say, whatever...I’ve reached the end.
So on that Sunday morning, I hadn’t reached the end of us. I’m able to count on my right hand all the times I came to the end of us and you rescued me from drowning in my last drop of sorrow. Your relentless will to keep us together pulled me from the depth of my mourning. I had to say goodbye to my idea of our relationship that we never had. We aren’t a fairytale and marriage isn’t as easy as my parents made it look.
I wonder how often you don’t say something to me when you’re mad. Do my eyes catch your attention when they’re underneath the umbrella of my deep set frown? Was there ever a time you wanted to bust out laughing when I misspoke in an argument but held it in because you knew it wouldn’t end well?
If I would’ve told you that your eyes - got me - then I would’ve lost.
I would’ve lost my argument. My point. My side of the story. All of my validity would’ve been erased. If you had the upper hand, my credibility would’ve been shot. Your beautiful eyes would have crinkled around the edges. You would have recognized my disadvantage. You would’ve smiled that handsome, convincing look and I would’ve been lost in the sea of them.
But I was strong. I believed my argument was worth the fight. My anger was valid. My point was made. I could not give in to a moment of weakness. It was too important. Even when I saw you later when we were putting up the laundry, something tugged inside of me to tell you that your eyes make me crazy sometimes. When I passed the dinner plate, when you made our daughter laugh, when you encouraged our son after a bad day, I thought about letting you know that your eyes were so handsome that morning. When you came to bed and said, “Goodnight, I love you.” I almost said it then.
Pride and the desire to be right made me miss out on the connection with you. Vulnerability is a strength that I’m afraid to master. My heart wanted to say something about your eyes, but my mind and mouth refused.
But I’m saying it now….Your eyes get me sometimes, even when I’m mad.