And faces—nothing has given me more trouble. Eyes, those most important details of a face, are too small to make out unless I am close enough to make out with someone. I didn’t know what color my last boyfriend’s eyes were until after we had been dating for almost six months. Whenever we were close enough for me to discern their color, he kept his eyes closed. I didn’t see his eyes until we were riding a city bus on our way to a concert on an early May evening, squished next to each other on the seats. He turned slightly to me, the light was just right, and I finally saw out of my right eye that his left was brown with textured traces of gold, simultaneously soft and hard in color.
Last year, I was watching TV on my 24-inch computer monitor, sitting less than a foot away, and saw a close-up of someone rolling her eyes. At thirty, I was seeing that gesture for the first time and it was nothing like I had imagined. Inspired, I wanted to get a glimmer of what it is to read feelings in eyes, so I watched Grey’s Anatomy, scrutinizing characters during emotionally wrought scenes, their faces taking up my whole screen. Though I felt all the feelings from the context, the music, the minute changes in pitch and inflection in their voices and the larger facial gestures, I could see nothing in the eyes.
This is an excerpt from an essay in which I explore a few different aspects of albinism and blindness.