Eye Contact

The moment when you make (unplanned) eye contact with someone, a jolt goes through you. Why is that? Are the eyes the window to the soul, as we’ve been told all this time? Are you simply surprised to find that someone is seeking your attention? Are you jumpy and frightened to make a connection, and therefore look quickly away?

Working in an office has made me hyper aware of all the humans around me, but has also taught me to regard them as white noise. Sometimes, I find this to be a useful skill, tuning everyone out so as to focus more, increasing productivity. But today, for some reason, I find it extremely depressing. I want to look someone in the eyes and see their changing emotions, connect to them while they speak, or sit in companionable silence. Without our phones, without distractions. Finding myself lacking that connection, I’m feeling oddly empty.

I can’t seem to shake this feeling
as though my soul decided to go on a walk
and forgot to invite me.
I’m sitting here, waiting for it to come home.
No calls, no texts,
just up and left me without warning,
and I sit as my dinner gets cold,
pushing the salad leaves around with
my water-stained fork,
pretending to eat.
Just like I used to.
Listening to Morissey, melancholy beats
reverberating – echoing – through my headphones,
and suddenly I get sick of noise and yank them out.
Turning pages, fingers on keyboards,
faint strains of other people’s music.
I look up, hopeful,
and there’s no chance of eye contact.
Who would have thought that being surrounded by humans
would feel so lonely?
Tempted to let my phone’s battery slowly die
until I’m forced to interact with people.
I wish there was a power outage.

Image is not mine.

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