My mother once told me that the key to knowing betrayal lay in the turncoat’s eyes. It is the truth. Her irises changed color with the light.
I could see them now, just a little bit as she lay under me, moaning, resigning herself to the beating. I’d forgotten the true color of those eyes. I didn’t see them much anymore, whether I was on top of her or not. Her eyes flickered away, guilty as a girl caught with her hand in the cookie jar because she won’t let go of the cookies. Even brazen lies would be more civil than the dishonor in her eyes. She couldn’t even bear to offer up the blunt etiquette of a false stare.
Not anymore. No doubt, she deemed it more courteous to look at the rest of me. At the back of her eyelids.
A shadow slept between us. I could feel it when I rolled off her, and I couldn’t stand to stay in the same bed. I walked to the corner of my room and grabbed my guitar as though it were an axe I was going to use to satisfy the only carnal urge I hadn’t satisfied in the five minutes prior. The urge to cause as much pain as had been caused to me. An eye for an eye making the whole world blind. I wondered how anyone would know if that sort of revenge brought any happiness, though. The sight of mirth would be lost with vision. Out of sight and out of mind, a man would forget what it was like to smile.
Absently feeling a deep exhaustion in my soul, I sank into a chair with lids shut. I fingered a minor chord. After a bar, I switched to another. It was that sort of night. Opening my eyes, I saw that she was looking at me for the first time in a week. Her gaze was indecipherable like the smile of the Sphinx. I watched as she curled up under the blanket, and then felt a horrible sense of love. I didn’t want to, but I still did. Picking a sad tune, I could not help but think about what had brought us together in the first place. A shared love for Thrash metal, shared in concert bars that were as broken down as we were.
I felt like whispering to her, “I am sorry that you have turned my heart into contraband. I’m sorry that you feel guilty for carrying it around.”
It’s almost unfair. She never knew that my mother had taught me to keep my eyes open. And that my night-time friends had taught me to sniff the late night air for fresh lies. In most countries, the cost of treason is death by hanging. Hanging on, perhaps.
Still studying her fetal shape under the quilt, I said nothing. I don’t remember falling asleep in that uncomfortable chair, the guitar slipping from my grip. I never heard it hit the carpet. I dreamed strange nightmares in thrashing fits, but I never heard her leave in the morning. I never saw her again.
Even broken hearts can be broken again.