I Can’t Remember the Color of my Mothers Eyes

Yoan Bernabeu (Flickr)

I want to think of my mother’s eyes, I want to see the deep brown in them, and the twinkle when I say something amusing. I want to see her quiet smile and that knowing glance, but I don’t know her. Wait, let me rephrase that. I barely know her. In all of my time on this earth we have had a handful of conversations and a summer together. This absence is not her fault, she loves me, but I have lived a life without her.

But I can tell you about Yris, I know a lot about her. I know that her eyes were usually brown, but with the right amount of sunlight you could see some hazel. I could tell you that behind those eyes lived a huge personality from a loving woman with a lot of life. I can tell you about her voice too. That smooth Dominican accent (is that a thing?) and a friendly voice that could sort of be high pitched, but in a raspy, way.

I can tell you that I loved her laugh. And while it’s been years since I’ve seen her, I remember the way she would bend her head back when something was really funny, I remember how she listened to my silly stories and my corny jokes. I remember how her home felt like my home.

But that was a different time, I was young, and Yris, Carlos, and Pebbles were my sanity. Or maybe I was what made them crazy. I was a young black boy with a lot of pain, and miles of baggage. Was I angry? Absolutely, but at that time, more than anything, I was sad, and lonely. I was so afraid to be alone, and desperate to be loved.

They filled those voids until one day they couldn’t. I had moved on, not on purpose, and not because I didn’t love them back, that’s just what I was used to. People are temporary, love is fleeting, you will feel pain, so get out before the bullets come raining down.

And my mother? Well, she wasn’t there. It was no fault of her own, just life.

But Shevon? Well I can tell you all about her. She was the prettiest woman I ever met, she had dark eyes, but a soft voice. She loved to talk, and I could listen, so we spent hours on end having conversation. I thought she was going to be my new mom, my dad said he was going to marry her, and then I never saw her again.

Sometimes, when I try to think of the people that have crossed my path, I’m surprised by how much pain is included in those memories. I meet them, I know them, I love them, and then they’re gone. Through my own inability to connect, my father’s insatiable desire to conquer women, or the expectation of abandonment.

Like Wanda. I don’t remember much about Wanda, but I do remember her daughter Shatisha. She and I were so close. We would go to her backyard and talk about life, school, our dreams and our hopes. She loved me like a brother, and I was excited to soon call her my sister. Dad said he was going to Marry Wanda, and that we would move in to her house in Bushwick.

They gave me my own room, my very own space! I couldn’t wait to join their family. But I didn’t. After a trip to six flags, I never saw them again. I remember how I found out. After a month of not seeing them, I asked dad if I could spend the weekend. He wasn’t cruel in his response, just honest. Said he had broken up with her, and I couldn’t see them anymore. I felt my insides crumble.

I don’t know my mother’s eyes, I don’t really know who she is, sometimes it’s like she doesn’t exist. maybe she doesn’t. Maybe that’s a good thing?

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Stanley Fritz’s story.