There are two photographs on the shelf - two photographs, three people. The one on the right is me, me and him, me in a long plum-colored dress, with elegant black gloves that come up to my elbows and actually wearing heels, my arm curled around him the way things ought to be, him in his suit, all small and out of focus. It's the only pic I have of him, he doesn't photograph well, and the scale is so small I can't see his deep green eyes. The other picture is just a face, a beautiful shot of a handsome face, face a little wrong but they nearly caught the eyes right, this once, capturing the unnerving power of that beautiful blue. I suppose, come to think of it, that it means something that those are my photographs, just the way things are, that I never had a pic of the three of us together.

It is all so complex, so mixed up in my mind, that I can never get the thoughts out to where I wish things were. I think each of them thinks I wish something that I don't, but I don't know how to say what I mean, the words all get tangled up like the poem I wrote so long ago.

It was a good poem, and it seems worth the thinking of, so I think of it, reciting it over in my mind, carefully placing out the words and trying not to think of anything else, becaues thinking of anything else brings me the watching eyes, and I really don't feel like dealing with those.

And that brings me around to remembering the first time I told him that poem, I was sitting in the car, and we were talking about things, and I was watching him, trying to catch his reactions, trying to meet his green eyes but afraid to do so. I could never figure out then what was going on behind those eyes....

And then I wonder, as I sometimes do, when I think of eyes what do I think? (There are two photographs on my shelf. Two.) And if I let my mind wander, I get them (Green eyes, blue eyes, blue eyes, green eyes?) wandering through my senses, and if I let go a little more, I start to dream. And the hair that I dream is always blond, but is it the long and silksmooth this time or the curls, slightly wiry, that I twist around my fingers, hair just grown out enough to curl....

There are the two of them settled in my mind, shifting around each other in their meanings, in intensity, so like so unalike so very much every thing and all nothing, confused in my heart and my mind's unclear eye. Two of them, and I look at them with the deep brown eyes that I assume are my inner eyes, since I cannot use the outer ones just now, and I see so much - so much that is almost so rea l that I can reach out to touch, if only I could place myself into my own inner vision. Two of them, and the feelings are so twisted to me that there are times that they flow together in my mind, and my heart gets twisted and hung from the gibbet it make s between my logics and my loves.

Consciously, I try to segregate, to think one rather than the other, without letting anything sneak in to surprise me. But it seems the harder I try, the more my mind will slip, green eyes blue eyes silk or curls what does it matter anyway in a half-killed dream that doesn't quite appear when I wake, and that I can never remember after I've slept? My mind needs reasons, reasons to think of that one over the other, reasons to keep it all separate, sorted, unconfuse d.

I can think out plain facts. I can think out plain memories. I can even, when my soul is sober, think out the wishes I have and put them in a place where they nearly can touch upon words, nearly make it through the barrier between the subconscious and the spoken word. But only nearly. As it is, my mind haunts me with fleeting images and meanings that never mean anything but the death of a dream (blue eyes, green eyes) or the continuance of a reality.

The words are nowhere that they fit. How can I say the words, green eyes, or blue for that matter, and express what they mean? They are nothing but words that seem to fall short of the truth behind them, the pains and the joys that matter in the world that is green eyes blue eyes curls or silken put a twist on the meanings of everything and shape them around until you've tormented the words into saying what you mean.

And now I twist the ring on my finger, as if that were a reason for any of it, and fight to keep my eyes awake. I twist the ring on my finger, but my mind shows me the pendant that is still around my neck, for all that the chain is rubbing my skin black, and asks me why.

Why? I say back to it. I try to drive my thoughts to new channels, pure ones, green eyes, green eyes and curls, but the blue reappears, and I have to ask why. I do not want a dead dream haunting me. I can have happiness that sinks me into green eyes without the corpse of a fantasy lying bloody in my thinking, thinking of blue eyes. I try to conjure that up and it all tells me no.



Why should you choose that one and not the other?

One lives. One lives, but not for me. It was not my choice even if it was my fault. I will not spoil the true dream with the loss of another.

Neither of them is here, what does it matter who you think of?

I think, a long time, now. True, that when I can truly look into eyes, green blue whatever the hell eyes are eyes but those are so beautiful, when I can do that the ot her fades away, a sort of dull nagging whine at the back of the mind, blue green curls and silk, whichever is not real at the moment wobbles into a portrait on the wall of my mind, resting there for a time.

And neither is real now.

One is less real than the other, but neither is real. That is the reality of most of my days, my nights - a dream is a dream, but living means schedules and classes, time and books. Love has no place in reality just now, for all that the ring on my finger should make it real. There is nothing here but what my mind summons up, netherworld ghosts perhaps or the magician's rabbit (ta-dah and here's what we have for you to think about now) that prop themselves up against the backs of my eyes and touch all my thinking with gold - gold in hair, gold in the gifts that I thought I had been given, a gentle touch or a smile that could send my heart, melted, down into a puddle in my left foot.

The reality is devoid of dreams for now. I have a ring on my finger, a ring that is a promise to green eyes and curls and a hope of a heart forever unbroken. That nearly makes a dream real, I suppose, that and memories, but it is only a ring, only a ring no matter what else it brings to it. (And yet I remember now as if it were true lying in his arms, my head on his chest, in the warm safe shivering happiness that such things bring. And he laid one hand on the curve of my stomach, resting it there, and I laid one of mine upon his, and there was a promise made, a promise that I do think of sometimes when I feel like dreaming and seeing what will come despite the hurt. The dreams of times like that have no pain to them. Sometimes I think I prefer that.)

But then blue eyes shoulder their way into my dreamings, and touch me with the wildness of all that that was, and the rememberings, and the power, and I might say that sometimes I like that if it weren't for the hurting. And then memories come.

I had been listening to his music, lying and watching the music happen, blue eyes flashing power as his slender hands beat sound out of a Strat and the dog watched. He finished, and I reached up to brush the silk-soft gold from his face, and we spoke in hushed tones, nervous ones, letting the last vibrations of the music hum in our minds as we made our way up to his room.

His eyes held half the fear that mine did, I think, though I could not see my own, though he was not my first, beautful blue eyes full of love and fear exhilaration lust gentle wild blue with stormy touch of grey that came with the passion and after full of joy, pleasure, happy loves as I curled against him, in his arms my head on his chest his silken gold brushing my forehead as he kissed me.

"Heya handsome," I said, and he used to answer, "Hello, beautiful," and even though I din't quite believe him it made me shiver. (Now he will still say "Yes dear," but it isn't the same as it used to be - it is more a force of habit and the affection due friends than what it used to be or what I feel it ought to be sometime again if I don't destroy everything that matters, well, not everything but half....)

And after, three of us, we went bowling, full of life as we two were and the third, green eyes, loving to tease us both as we laughed, fresh in our newly shared knowledge and still half-aware of each other the way lovers often are, especially new lovers, ones who had just traded a part of their souls, the way a friend of mine told me later after he was gone.

(She said that being someone's lover means you give that person a little bit of your soul, and that stays forever - and I can feel it, a little piece of stormy blue wild eyes that looks out from the depths of me from the place I made to keep it safe.

And now I have to wonder if he feels those quiet brown deep dark eyes watching him the way I used to do. I wonder if it makes him nervous.)

And the remembering ends, and shifts into a new remembering, a conversation I had once, talking about blue eyes to green, and trying to figure everything out. Back then I knew where I wished the dream would go, and he saw that the dream mattered and let me have it, before I looked into blue eyes that were in tormented and heard a voice that said "I don't remember how to love you anymore," and I had to tear my eyes from those blue ones, bury them in my arms and cry until they melted away in pain, eyes running down my face and making my head scream the same agony as my heart.

So now what is reality? I ask bitterly, because if blue eyes only come true again in dreaming then I want to dream, because in dreaming green eyes are as true as they are when I am alive, and reality as it sits hurts too much, every time I wake up from dreaming of blue eyes making me have to deal with the fact that they aren't real, that they won't be real, because somewhere I did something wrong enough to make those eyes forget looking into mine and loving me. The dreams that come of green eyes are not enough to sop up the pain, and I keep them separated anyway, because they do not deserve to be soaked in the hurt, green eyes do not need to see the depth behind the brown.

And so I drop the subject of reality, because I don't feel like thinking about the pain. I let my mind wander into half-formed images (a silken wisp of hair trailing over blue eyes laced with grey, laughing eyes because their owner knows how adorable I find it when he peers down at me like that) of (curled up against one, warm, happy, curling fingers through hair and occasionally tugging it when it tangles around them, looking over and catching sleep-muzzed green brownflecked content) things that I've seen often enough that the pictures are half-engraved on my eyes.

A smile, a gentle caress across the cheek flickers into a teasing brush across the nose, a lopsided smile that deserves a kiss wanders across a pair of faces and I remember now being held (head against his shoulder no resting on his chest make a decision why can't you decide on anything because I can't decide) and safe from the pain.

Now it comes in, the hurt, and I can't drive it away no matter how many flat portraits I call up because they're only pictures and they're just not real. The little part of my heart that calls half of them cries out, now, and gives me no more portraits, only tears, because it will see no new portraits, nothing but the same old photographs to be pored over and smiled at until the ink runs blurry and they wear out like a cheap tape.

I want to be able to choose, pick out the memories without the pain, or, if I can't do that, pick the eyes that don't have the hurting in them, but I cannot. The heart will not be manhandled around that way, and I hurt. I wrestle the pain with a sort of grave patience, and wish sometimes above all else that it would fade, while clinging to it as the last thing I was given.

Slowly, slowly, I reassert myself, my mind, and open my eyes. Green. I make myself think of green and curls, and twist the ring on my finger until the rest of the dreaming stops hurting and I can let my heart be free again.

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