His Eyes


His eyes are so dark and cold. When he looks at me, I ain't ever sure if he's really seein' me or not, like he's lookin' straight through me to somethin' only he can see. Or maybe it's that he just cain't see me at all, or don't want to. It scares me sometimes.

He didn't used to be like this. I mean, his eyes have always been dark like coffee, or maybe that chocolate stuff Hop Sing makes sometimes...but they used to be full of light and happiness. Pa's eyes can smile for him all by themselves. But now that's all gone, and the darkness ain't warm and loving like it used to be. It's just plain empty.

Adam's eyes kinda' look like that now. His eyes are brownish_colored, but they get goldish_lookin' when he's happy, and darker when he's sad or mad. They're almost always dark now, even when he acts happy. He can fool Little Joe, but I watch his eyes, and they stay sad and sorta' grown_up. He don't ever act like a kid no more.

Pa used to spend time with each of us in evening, doin' just what we love best. 'Course, with Little Joe it's easy, he's only 4 after all. Just play with him, and he's happy. And Adam, he just likes to sit and talk. Makes him feel grown_up, I reckon. I never will understand why he's so all_fired anxious to be grown_up. Right now I cain't say I ever want to be grown_up, it hurts too much.

Pa would always rough_house with me, no matter how tired he was. He's always real gentle and careful, 'cause he's so big and strong. I hope I get to be as strong as him someday, Pa says I got a good start on him! 'Course...we ain't wrestled in weeks.

If only Mama hadn't died. Not my real ma, she died when I was just a baby, Mama Marie, Little Joe's ma. She made Pa so happy, he always smiled when she was with him. But she got throwed off her horse...been near two months ago now, if I figured it right. Pa sure has had a heap of trouble in his life. I guess that's why he's takin' this so very hard, he's had to go through it so many times.

Poor Joe, he just don't understand where his Ma went. It's real rough on a 4 year_old, losin' your ma. He cries most nights now, I hear Adam go in and calm him. Sometimes, if Adam cain't get him quiet, he'll go get Pa. But that's usually when Little Joe's had a real bad nightmare and woke up screamin'. Adam don't like to bother Pa at night. I reckon it's good for Pa though, and Little Joe. Little Joe needs a pa real bad now with his ma gone, but he cain't grow up thinkin' that Adam's gonna' be Pa to him or somethin'. And he's too little to understand that Pa's just as sad and lonely as he is.

And Little Joe looks a lot like his ma. He's got her eyes, and that light_the_world_up smile. And there's just somethin' about his face, he looks just like Mama Marie. Much as Pa loved her, it must hurt awful bad to see how much Joe favors her. But I think it does him good to spend time with Little Joe, maybe he feels like Mama ain't so completely gone when he does. But he still looks so sad...maybe rememberin' ain't worth it.

Adam says Pa'll get over it, and I guess I believe him. But Adam's actin' so all_fired grown_up, and grown_ups sometimes say stuff they don't mean. And whenever Adam tells me that, he get that worry_wrinkle between his eyebrows, and his eyes go dark and sad. I get scared thinkin' that maybe he won't get over it, won't ever go back to bein' Pa again, 'stead of the stranger he is now.

He's gotta' go back to bein' Pa, though! It ain't natural for a man to go on grievin' and bein' so sad forever! And me and Little Joe, we need Pa to be Pa again. Adam too, though he probably wouldn't admit it. We all need him.

But he just don't seem to be tryin' to stop grievin', like it hurts him too much to think of movin' on. Maybe he's scared to try. And his eyes...they're so dark and cold.


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