Eyeball’s Waltz (short story)

In the back of a classroom, in the far corner of the last row, are a pair of eyes and a set of hands. They sit atop the table of a desk-chair conglomerate.

Both eyes and hands are of no lavish color, and have a rather timid grey tone to them. The eyes settle into themselves so that the underside in contact with the desk flattens, the way malleable objects often get from extended periods of stillness. But besides from this small indent, they’re perfectly round. In general, they’re always focused on a podium in the room, and never seek out the view of other objects- the other objects being the lights, other chairs, one blackboard, and six windows.

Apart from knuckle creases, the hands are perfectly smooth and have well-groomed fingernails. The fingers themselves are long, slender, and hairless. They reside behind the eyeballs and move only slightly, from time to time.

There is nothing abnormal about the classroom. The temperature is always moderate and the air is always dry. But every so often there’s a man in the room. He walks through the door, absent of a time schedule, and stands behind the podium, which is situated on the same axis as the desk with the eyes and hands. He never looks up and may not even know of the eyes and hands. His attention is always glued to stack of papers he places on the podium, of which he only ever flips between the first and second page.

One thing is off about the man: his suit.

It’s lousy. All of the pieces go well together; blazer, shoes, slacks, tie; but the sizes aren’t proportional to his body. His tie is too small and his blazer looks borrowed. His slacks go beyond his shoes and, when he walks, the heel of his shoe steps on the material of the slacks, not the actual floor, as it should be. In moments, when the man moves, a stain can be seen on his tucked-in white shirt.

The eyes move only when the man walks through the door. They trace his journey from the door to the podium and move again when he leaves. The eyes stare at the door when the man is no longer in the room. They wait for his return. Meanwhile, the hands do absolutely nothing.

One day, the eyes decide to stare at the ceiling. They never noticed that the middle row of lights were slightly more yellow than the rest. The eyes look around and see how the ceiling lights reflects off of things differently and, due to the yellow offset, notice that the blackboard is lighter on its outer edges and that the podium is at the cut-off point of where the yellow light affects the room. It isn’t extremely easy to spot these differences, but enough attention to detail could render these observations visible.

After acquiring these observations, the eyes decide to examine the whole room with more diligence. They grow more curious as time goes on and make out small imperfections everywhere. Meanwhile, the hands start to bear more life, twitching and eventually moving so much that the eyes turn around completely to spectate, out of interest. When the man is in the room the hands tap on the desk in a boringly rhythmic way. The eyes find this humorous.

The eyes begin to look out the window, dreaming of what such things could be viewed from it. The desk is lower than the window so they can only make out the occasional passing of a cloud or, if the time is right, the moon or the sun. They long to be closer to the window, especially because the room is becoming less and less interesting, but have no way of getting to the windowsill.

They turn and face each other. It is hard. A force seems to be keeping them apart. This force, however, is broken by one of the hands. It picks up an eye and throws it across the room. The eye hits the window behind the podium and slowly slides to the windowsill beneath. It was a perfect throw and the eye can now see through the window. It didn’t know why the hand did such a thing, but was thankful nonetheless.

The room is very high up in the air, much higher than the surrounding buildings. Those buildings are few and outnumbered by trees scattered across the ground. The green of the trees look beautiful against the crimson color of the buildings. The eye can see what looks like a path weave in and out of the many trees and can make out small black figures gliding along these paths. The path itself is bright red and the black figures moving on it are especially pronounced. They go from building to building. The eye can occasionally see figures amongst the trees, but the leaves are so thick that it is almost useless.

The eye feels a presence behind it and turns to look inside the room, discovering that it is right next to the man. He had come in and the eye hadn’t noticed. The hands and other eye at the back of the classroom are motionless.

The eye can see the stack of papers on the podium and watch as the man flips between the first and second page. The eye examines the words. The first page reads:

What is on this page,
do not read it. I will
tell you what is right.

The second page reads:

What is on this page,
read it. I cannot
tell you what is right.

The eye doesn’t know what to make of this. It looks between the man and the page, and then the man and the back of the room, where the other eye and hands are.

Without warning, and without looking up from the paper, the man reaches to the windowsill, picks up the eye and bites into it, tearing its body in half. It was like biting into a grape, only to have its mass turn into a jerky or ham-like substance, and there was a small crunch, like an eggshell in an omelette. The man places the remainder of the eye on the windowsill and leaves the room. In the back row, in the corner, the eye and hands remain motionless. Atop the windowsill, the half eye is positioned in such a way that renders only the classroom visible. Until now, it was never known that eyeballs were hallow and had liquid inside of them.

Greg Navarro is a great artist and an amazing friend. Thank you for drawing this eyeball on such short notice.

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