Standing Eyes by Stina Tröllback

Eyes are glued to you and for the first time you're not just imagining it because you're standing and you feel yourself standing out.

Sloping bridges of noses unsuccessfully hold in amused exhales like fractured bottles of sparkling water that have six seconds before the tension is too much and the bottles explode.


The air pressure is increasing around your face and decreasing around your feet until your brain cells are under too much force to function and your feet are too light to hold you and there's blood bursting from the pores in your skin -- only it's not.

There's a woman on your left who conceals the last few inches of open surface area on the subway pole with her hand.

Your feet can't hold you up but you can't latch onto anything so you're leaning on the person behind you on the crowded train.

The woman is staring at you because you dropped the book that you were only reading as an excuse to not look up.

 

Your yellow hair is yellower under the yellow flourescent light.

You smell the bark and pollen clinging to the overcoat of the old man in front of you. He is looking at you like they all are.

You look back at him.


You are all of a sudden looking out on his apartment through his eyes. You are this man right now. You are looking at the dripping faucet.

Plip, plop, plip.
Plop, plip.

You feel the orange marmalade stuck in your white beard tickling your lips. The air of your huffy breaths leave the hairs swaying slightly.

Plip.

You shift your glance to the small digital clock with screaming yellow numbers.

Plop.
Click.
5:45 a.m.

The corner of your mouth twitches into a smile in apprehension, forcing the marmalade covered hairs above your upper lip to dance for the slice of a second.

The aggressive yellow, for an instant, calms down as the clock clicks.

5:46 a.m.

You now shift your glance back to the dripping faucet irritated by the yellow digits that are again ablaze.

Plop.

You remember this is not you.

This man you are in breathes out again. He scratches his thickest nail over the walnut shell that sits between his wrinkled fingers and he wipes the orange marmalade bits off his beard and onto his black cashmere sleeve.
 


You shift your eyes away from the old man now and escape his eye contact and your imagination and you listen to the whirring of the subway car.

You remember your book is on the ground.

You pick it up and you knock the woman on your left's elbow and she furrows her brow. She has been looking at you this whole time.

They all have been,
because you are standing out.

 

The subway screeches as it begins to pull out of a station.

Your hair looks lighter today than on most days and you are wearing all white.

You are making eye contact with this woman and you see in her eyes evergreens and billowing winds.

You smell her shampoo under her conditioner and you smile.

She looks away.

You look around.

You forget that everyone is looking at you because they have stopped being amused by your white tutu and white lips and you continue reading because you feel frosty and you don't want to make any more eye contact.