The moment mom fixes her eyes on me, I feel consumed, overpowered. It’s as if right at this moment nothing exists except those small round eyes.
“Did you do it or not?” Mom asks again.
As I grasp the words, there’s only a fraction of a moment when my senses return to me; then they surrender again, making way for the spell of mom’s penetrating eyes to take over. It sets off an angry storm deep inside me. The more I resist, the more brutally the storm blusters.
Helpless, I let it out at last, “Yes, I did it.”
The angry storm is back. It’s crushing the defending forts within my mind, and it won’t be long before all the forts fall and the concealed truth is exposed.
I need to answer straight away if I am to sound convincing. Still, nothing passes my lips.
Suddenly, perhaps out of an impulse, the words spring out: “No. I-I didn’t do it today.”
Mom leans closer, so close that I can perceive every hint of emotion in her eyes. In a split second I’m ensnared in an ocular inspection.
“Are you sure? Don’t lie to mom.” She’s still calm and composed, bereft of even a shred of anger.
My insides tighten with an ineffable fright. It was better to simply give in than reenter this battle. But there’s no turning back now. I reply, “I’m perfectly sure.”
A slight furrow appears in her brows. She keeps her eyes on me for another moment, and then turns away.
My head feels incredibly light when I return to my room. I can’t quite believe I’ve successfully conquered what for a long time seemed unconquerable.
But the relief soon ebbs away and something else takes its place. Something strange.
I stare back at mom and say, “No, I didn’t do it today.” The confidence in my voice thrills me. And even a week ago, my inner self tells me, you thought she could throw some kind of a spell with her eyes!
I expect mom to furrow her brows, but she doesn’t. She gives me a tiring look, her eyes no longer the fierce, unforgiving pair of fireballs, before looking away.
A flame of euphoria surges through me fleetingly. Then that strange, alien feeling dismisses it.
I steal another glance at mom. She’s rummaging in her purse’s side pocket where she usually keeps cash, her eyes glinting with suspicion.
My heart thuds. Though mom’s stare doesn’t quite work magic on me these days, foreseeing the tiniest possibility of meeting those eyes is like a hundred needles piercing my brain. And I can feel those needles right now, knowing mom can call me any second.
But all she does is gaze at the purse for minutes.
And then, she heaves a sigh, an intimidating and meaningful sigh, which makes my skin prickle.
The familiar alien sensation occupies me again. And for the first time, I understand what’s triggering it.
I miss mom’s stare.