I can still remember when his eyes spoke volumes about the torment that filled the mind behind them. The worst of those days he barely spoke, and could barely respond when spoken to. It was a look I saw later in other peoples' eyes and recognized. I said a prayer for them, and made sure not to avoid looking in those eyes, not to avoid contact with the troubled soul like so much of the rest of the world does.
So much is said through the eyes. A joke said with a straight face is betrayed by the smile that shows itself ever so slightly in twinkling eyes. Sadness is hard to hide when the eyes are wet or red. Even a fully guarded heart is evident in the eyes, although what one sees there is the wall that blocks the world from anything more than passing contact. Drug-use is betrayed in the redness, the enlarged pupils, eyes that attempt to defy anyone from noticing but reflect the fear that someone might guess.
As we pass on the sidewalks, in the hallways, through the common rooms where we all congregate, some will meet eyes and some will avert theirs. Some will smile, even say “hi,” and others will pretend no one else exists. There are days when I seek out the eye contact, try to share a smile and a hello, and other days when I am lost in my own thoughts and forget to notice that I am not alone in the world.
The eyes of the tormented mind are something else altogether. Thankfully, he does not have them anymore; the voices that screamed at him day and night are silent now. But sometimes I still look for those eyes when he is having a day that is more quiet than usual, fearing the respite has ended, and I breathe a sigh of relief when his eyes answer back clear and untroubled: All is well.