“Look, look! Over there.”
She’s certain she sees something. I look at her eyes and follow them but the dark is mud. I don’t know how she sees anything and I can’t, she wears glasses and my eyesight is fine.
“There it is!” She looks up to me, “there it was!” She whispers, “Did you see it?”
I stare harder and shake my head, I don’t want to lose any of the focus my eyes have gained. I can feel them get heavy, resting on the tips of grass and wheat stalks in the distance, the only objects I can barely make out.
My silence leads her back to the darkness and she wraps her arm around mine.
“We can’t walk that way. What if it attacks us?”
“Will you protect me?” She asks, looking back at me.
“Of course, babe.” I can’t stop looking now, my eyes are glued to the spot. I’m not looking for anything in particular; I don’t know what she saw. I’m relaxed. My eyes feel like they’re vibrating and the longer I look the more my face relaxes; my mouth opens slightly to the weight of my jaw hammocked on its skin.
“Do you see it?”
“I don’t see anything.”
Little white bursts of light begin to pop around my eyes randomly, they come and go as they please, there’s no sense to their sudden appearances. Soon streaks of red cross my vision, I know I’m the only one who can see them, I can follow them without moving at all. Soon the bursts take over everything and I can’t see anything but this strange light display in the dark.
I can’t move. I don’t want to. The relaxation from my eyes spread to my face and now my shoulders are dropped, my arms hang and tingle at the tips. I can hear each heavy breath muffled in my ears, can feel the air enter my nostrils and graze my upper lip as it slips away. It looks like the stalks are moving to my breaths, but I can hardly see them anymore; the white lights and red streaks are everywhere, the stalks are fading away into black.
“What’s wrong? Babe?” She’s staring at me staring at the darkness, stuck. Every few seconds a thick black line erases whatever bursts and streaks are in my sight but they immediately begin again.
“I’m trying to see babe. Just give me a second.” I don’t want to speak at all. I can feel the words build up in my core, feel the oxygen mount and ride them up through my throat and out of my mouth. It feels hard to speak, takes effort; I can sense the difficulty and agitation to do it. What is this feeling? Why is it happening now?
“Babe you’re scaring me. It was just an animal or something. Please stop. Let’s go this way …”
I can feel her arm’s grip loosen. I’m still looking straight but I know she’s upset, I know what her face looks like. I know what we’ll see if we walk the other path. I want to hold it for a few more moments. I want to think nothing here and barely stand and feel my eyes vibrate while the bursts become diamonds and the streaks like flaming stars shoot across my eyes. I want to feel this confusion. I know she’s worried so I force myself to blink a few times; had I blinked at all while staring? Maybe that’s why I saw them. I don’t remember. Though I wash away the bursts with each flicker of my eyelids, they reappear as the curtains rise.
“I’m seeing all these lights, I don’t know …” Finally I pull my head away and look to her, both of us confused. Her brows are burrowed, her eyes trying to understand me, her lips straight, near frowned: the exact face I saw her making. The diamonds and shooting stars vanish.
“What? I don’t understand? Don’t scare me like that! I thought you were looking at it!”
“I can’t explain … what did you see? I only saw the wheat over there.” My eyes are still readjusting themselves to reality as I point in the general direction.
“I don’t know, I think it was a big animal! Maybe a raccoon. It looked big and ran into the grass. What if it attacks us?”
I massage my eyes for a few more seconds. “I think it’s gone, babe.”
It is. We walk the opposite way and the night is night again, the stars, stars. My shoulders are squared, jaw upright; my vision again covered by the cape of night. She’s confused about what ran away. I’m confused about what stayed with me. We don’t mention either again during the walk, just enjoy one of the last few warm nights of the season together.