Essay

Other Eyes [Short Fiction]

A man and his manuscript in a cafe in Barcelona. A vacation sometime now several years ago. His mother is still alive, will be for at least another fourteen months when she will expire on his birthday, or so it will have been figured by the neurologist, just what dead is he will have no desire to investigate at that time, will be having had [is that even a tense?] several weeks of this in his journal by her bedside, hooked up, she will have been, to machines beeping incessantly, red, green yellow blue lights flashing flashing. After the confirmation of brain-dead, he will come to the hospital to have her unhookoed from the machine keeping her breathing. He will hold her hand until her heart stops; he will not recall what he thought as he stood by her bedside holding her hand. The doctor who will have disconnected the tubes, a woman from Pakistan, will the tell  him he has been a good son. He will appreciate having heard what she said he will remember.   The manuscript reads:

Eyes to open, eyes to close.  What eyes do I need to see beyond sight, the transcendental? The evidence of things unseen are all around us. The facts invisible are everywhere, are they not? Look and you shall see? Seek and I will find.

I speak with my eyes, my eyes have a way with words, my words themselves have eyes to see their way. But if the Truth does not need physical eyes, the physiological fact of sight to be seen, then what good are the eyes we cling to out of vanity and misguided hope?

Lear was a fool. I am a fool. I’m always opening my eyes on the world to look. I look and look and I do not find. He was a fool from the start. I am no different in how I start everything I do. His hubris leads to a kind of blindness; there is still a way to see in blindness, the kind of blind seeing that keeps us from seeing what needs to be seen, what we should have focus for, point and shoot eyes no more. What good were Lear’s eyes when he saw no better Oedipus who takes out his eyes when he sees what hecould not see, did not see although he should have—there is justice in Oedipus’s decision? We conclude otherwise because we are weak? We certainly do not have the intelligence to see what Oedipus understood before he took out his eyes. There was courage there.

My terminal blindness leads to my perpetual hubris. I wish I had other eyes to see. I remember Tiresias is blind but he sees; all seers see when we do not, where we do not, what we do not. Arjuna knows before the Battle of Righteousness how all has been clouded by desire, how the soul is blinded by our desires.

Lear had eyes to see but no sight to have seen what he needed to–to see is to understand, to understand, to stand under, to hold up, to feel by touch, by weight pressing down on us, sense transference we might suspect. Suspicions we imagine are another sense we can use to know. Lear’s suspicions blinded him although he did not walk into tables. Lear’s fool leads him through his self-imposed blindness–not the self imposed blindness of Oedipus, but perhaps he should have. Would it have saved him the loss of Cordelia? Odysseus seeks Tiresias in the underworld, he who sees without eyes. A seer sees without them. What then are my eyes for when I look and see not, but then what about the seeing that happens when I listen . . . ? Lear did not understand what he should have until he stood under Cordelia and held her up in his arms, dead weight the horrible lintel to the post of his post-understanding. I wish I knew moe often what to do with my eyes, but also what to do with the eyes inside my mind.

His mother will not have opened her eyes once in the time she will have been in the hospital. He will come every day by her bed listening to the nurses at Lutheran hospital express opinions to him they had no business expressing but the help of the stupid is always going to be awkward and clumsy.Too many of them were really idiots without any of the redeeming qualities of Myshkin, whose idiocy we know through Dostoevsky was only an ironic idiocy . . . 

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