The Contextual Importance of Eye Contact

From day one I’ve been good at learning, a good learner “like a sponge,” father says.

On day two-hundred-seventy-four I looked past mother’s breast and saw that it would be important, the learning would be, to her. You won’t believe me about the last part, the memory breast and the idea about the learning being such an important. “He would have been too young,” you’ll say inside and if you still have a cat you might say it even out loud because this makes you feel like you’re being heard.

But it’s true, I’ve always been able to read them. It’s all in the eyes and in the making contact. Father finally told me about it on day one-thousand-eight-hundred-ninety-nine, “It’s important to make eye contact son,” he still says it. On day one-thousand-one-hundred-nineteen I learned to read the words on the labels, green labels first then red but after that they came in a rush, the other words from all over and I lost track. It won’t ever stop now, as long as I have eyes at least.

I could tell mother and father were excited, very “proud parents” about the labels and the reading, right there on day one-thousand-one-hundred-nineteen when I read “peas” off the first green label. They made laughter then and gave me ice cream which I “love” and mother began reading with me every day after. Of course there was testing too; I’m always doing exemplary on the testing because of their eyes, that help me understand what they want. After that it’s “all downhill” as father says.

The goldfish present was a reward for my “job well done” on the testing and I remember the day, it was one-thousand-four-hundred-seventy-six. At first I thought the goldfish was already dead because the eyes “were,” but then it was gasping and I thought of course the goldfish is water-drowning (you probably think this is funny but I was still learning then). So I took it for a tricycle ride in the outside, the goldfish which began air-drowning in my sweaty hand on the tricycle in the outside and I saw its eyes change and that’s when I learned about the context. Later, when mother came in the outside and asked me where was the goldfish, it was the place that was the important in her question.

You see mother was always asking me about the place so I thought “it” was the important. But it’s not, the place isn’t, important but the context “is.” The sweat and the palm and the air-drowning goldfish can be in Boca Raton or Boise or Prague or even Yourtown, and maybe it is in Yourtown (you don’t know, but now you’re suspecting); it’s the context of it that’s mattering to the air-drowning goldfish whose eyes are deadening, deadening, dead.

Mother’s eyes told me that it was too much, it all was. She didn’t do exemplary on the testing is my guess. I told her don’t be hard on your self but she “was” and I think she was afraid of all the doing: the learning and the reading and the exemplary testing and especially the context. It was making her tired. They never found out what happened to her, but even if they did I think they wouldn’t tell me for fear. I learned about the importance of eye contact at her funeral on day one-thousand-eight-hundred-ninety-nine, “It’s important to make eye contact son,” father said as they all came after to shake us and I see he’s right now.

Then it was just the three of us, father and me and the cat when we still had it. Then I met her, on day two-thousand-one-hundred-eleven because father couldn’t talk about it, he was too busy with the thinking and the working and was beginning to be tired too because his “dogs were barking.” It was important to father that I ask for her help in the not being scared or too hard on my self, and so he took me to the Services department where I met her and we began the talking.

She says the talking is supposed to make me feel better and I tell her that it does. I can tell this makes her feel good, not “happy” more like satisfied and she’s never tired. She has big blue eyes and is exemplary at the making contact with them, which I’ve found is unusual. She thinks I should be sad and I tell her that I am, being sad, and we play games and do the talking.

The bruises started appearing on day two-thousand-seven-hundred-eight and I could tell it upset her, the bruises did because things had been going so well, such “great progress” she kept saying. She wanted to know where they were “from” and I told her the story about father and how important it is to be making contact with the eyes; she wouldn’t understand the context anyway and father was very angry that day after the talking. I knew he would be angry but the talking is also the important now and I’m beginning to understand how it all works, I think.

They found the cat on day two-thousand-seven-hundred-nineteen water-drowned in the potty with its eyes looking like the air-drowned goldfish’s did that day on the tricycle. She wants to know what happened but I don’t want to do the talking today, I tell her I’m “afraid” and she seems worried because without the talking there’s nothing for us to do except play and we both know she’s too old for it.

The bruises are getting worse and she brings some others along to play with us and we all do the talking, which I’m learning can be useful when it’s done right. That day after the talking, two-thousand-seven-hundred-fifty-eight, father came as always and the others wouldn’t let him take me and father was even more angry than before; I thought he might change the context right there in the hallway but the others took him away and she said not to be scared so I told her I wasn’t, being too scared. She smiled down at me and reached out to do the touching of my hair and I saw her hand do the rubbing of her stomach which had been getting fatter every day.

I understood then that she was going to be getting tired soon, with the mothering and the working and the talking and the playing all getting to be too much; she was “only human,” after all. The others took me to live with the new father and mother while they all did the talking with my first father and for many many days things were good until they found the second cat, in the alley behind the new house and the context had changed again.

That day she was very upset and wanting to rush through the talking, doing the rubbing of her stomach the whole time and she was scared, I could see it in her eyes. She told me I would need to take a test and I knew I’d do exemplary on the testing like always and said so, and I think this made her happy. The test was easy, even “fun” if you wanted to call it that, and afterwards I asked her how I did and she said that my score was “perfect,” then the others came back into the room to watch us play again, doing their own soft talking in the corner.

I reach out to do the rubbing on her stomach and see the skin on her arms do the chicken bumps as she moves away and that’s when I find out about the mistake, about the context and the place and which is the important. It occurs to me that the place might be if not the important then at least somewhat. I need to change this one to find out, so I look at her eyes and tell her what she’s wanting: that everything will turn out fine and she’ll be a great mother and they’ll all live “happily ever after” and won’t ever be getting too tired. I can hear my voice calm and it’s so sure, the voice, and it must seem pleasant to her. It might take some time, but she’ll come around; I’ll have to avoid making again the same mistake.

Don’t worry though I’m not in the being too hard on it, my self, I’m just a kid and I’m still learning how it’s supposed to be.