Those eyes shone like the teal sea and endless sky he crossed to get here. On them I saw myself reflected, and even after he left I couldn’t stop wondering about all the sights those eyes had reflected.
Nomads are common in tourist country, and miserable prisons look exotic to their privileged, hungry eyes. In my little corner of the world where I peddled silver and hospitably to those who wished to claim they had traveled and known the world, the natives would flock to me too. I have no respect for them. They come because their wealth and privilege have made them stranger to their native earth. I wanted to memorize his departure. I wanted to learn all that I could about the nomad, the man who carried colored glass instead of eyes. The alleged natives came in, loud and distracting.
The door closed behind him, I noticed parts of the painted glass door had all but disappeared. They might like it, they might think it exotic. I turned to them, their heavily done faces seemed to crack around the edges, huge smiles showed bad teeth, the awkward and out of place native, the local, the inferior showing no matter how much they tried.
If things had gone the way they were planned for me [like it had for them] I would have fit in so easily. I would be hopping around in their shallow world, where real issues never touch their ivory towers. But here I was grey and smiling, a social inferior but still a member of their class. I wasn’t bound like they were, I wasn’t happy or couldn’t seem happy like they were. Maybe I wasn’t bound like they were, and that let me see what they wouldn’t.
I ran my hands through an ornate plate of silver. I had offered it to the man, but he did not understand what I was really saying. He must have thought me an eager merchant in a land of prudes; he must have mistaken me for the other silvery protectors of moral values.
I remember how my toes curled and heart raced as I brought my hand to his. I remembered how I stopped, how a hundred memories and reasons came to mind and hope everything seemed worse than it always did. I must have seemed like a merchant from the Arabian nights, a distant, incomprehensible creature dammed to stay foreign. I hoped the memory of the silver carvings on the ornate dish would come to him in a dream and he would understand.