January 29, 2013


As dictated by Faranza Syns


by Faranza Syns

What is it about her that makes me love her? Now, that's a funny question – one that makes a man freeze and see red flashes of warning signals that say: "WARNING. WARNING. SEND BLOOD TO BRAIN. WRONG ANSWER LEADS TO BLOOD-FILLED DEATH. OR LIFE OF ETERNALLY STRIPPED MASCULINITY." The laden expectation in that question is like a minefield of explosive potential – it could go eitherway, but both ways are going to result in extremes.

It's really a funny – almost inapproproate – question to just ask someone out of the blue. People pose the question with lackadaisical nonchalance, but really, the weight that their stare bears after that question is made to echo in the space around you is enough to make your mind blank out. The question is asked as if it is part of the basics of a relationship that you spend sleepless nights staring into the warm, humid darkness, listing out all the reasons in your head for having "fallen” for that one extraordinary person.

How does anyone fall for anyone anyways?
A typical answer would be the "she's the most beautiful woman I have ever met” response. But that usually leads a man down a treacherous road where he would need all his wits about him to navigate, despite the heart-moving sincerity of his proclamation. And due to the fear the aforementioned choice of answer resulting in illogical female outrage (because really, we just praised you) another more self-righteous (and probably very heavily censored) answer is used: "she's so kind, she has such a beautiful soul.”

Really, both answers would probably score unsatisfactory marks after intense judging. Most probably because the question requires silent moments of introspection and time for you to really watch her in her own space, apart from you, for you to truthfully, rightfully answer. Really, that kind of question cannot be answered at the bat of an eye.

But… if you asked me the precise moment that I knew a future with her is what I want, I can tell you.

Have you… ever taken note of her eyelashes?

Such nondescript things, the eyelashes. Especially hers.

They weren’t thick, nor were they voluminous. They were sparse, spaced way apart and went down straight like a pin. I never knew eyelashes could be that straight. Anime eyes always made it all seem so …flicky – I mean, it always flicks upwards. But hers looked like a basic zinc roof, swooping down, shading her equally nondescript brown eyes (not surprised here. We are Asians, it’s expected).

I don’t really need to give you the time, the place, the context upon which this is all happening. It does not matter in the grand scheme of it all. I do not have to tell you if we were sitting at the library, studying for our finals; or if we were sitting around at the local mamak stall, nursing a hot cup of teh tarik while waiting for our roti canai; nor if we were sitting around the hexagonal meeting table at our office, experiencing a lull in activity as we rest our weary brains after a juice-draining session of brainstorming. These are all just residual noise in the background. What matters is the experience, the thoughts, and the feelings.

And at that moment, my mind and my soul were all still and muted. All I found myself doing is staring unblinkingly at her eyes. Just her eyes. Her plain, downcast eyes. Then, naturally, my focus slipped languidly to her eyelashes. I studied each lash, one strand at a time, amazed in all my stillness at the sheer fascinating plainness of them.

Then i saw it: the one lash – the one lash that defied them all. The one lash that curled up, like the lilting song of a nightingale against the ferocious beat of the wind. I was amazed, stunned – bewildered – at the existence of that one lash that curled.

I stared longer and revelled at the strength of such individuality of this one, lone lash that curled despite its numerous siblings falling victim to the gravity of genetics. I stared, and stared.

And then she looked up.

I froze, caught and petrified. My pumping heart could have pounded out of my ribcage and rolled all over the floor and I would probably still have been too scared to pick it back up and put it back in its place. To have been caught staring at someone was a social faux pas that cannot be easily justified – what excuse can you make, anyway? Sorry, was just looking at this eye booger you had near your eye? I cringed, feeling the rising red heat of embarrassment spread like wildfire on my face as she continued to study my face.

Then, those eyes – those plain, unimpressive eyes that I had just studied in their unguarded moments, shadowed by pin-straight lashes – did exactly what I did not expect them to do.

They warmed up. Those eyes – her eyes – slowly reached out to me with their subtle warmth, enveloping me, calming the growing echoes of my embarrassment.

Realizing that there is no shame in store for me, I sat up straighter, forcing the remnants of my disgrace to the backburner, and I took it all in: those smiling eyes, the equally bright smile carved on her lips, and the little chuckle and slight shake of the head that said volumes for me. "This guy is weird, but I like him".

(Or so I'd like to think, that is.)

She didn’t make things awkward. She didn’t make it weird. Instead of being instantly repelled by my clear inability to maintain acceptable social behaviour (i.e., not staring the heck out of someone), she chose to take my little blunder in stride, to laugh it off, to let me maintain a semblance of dignity at a time when I should be curled up into a ball of self-shame. She gave me a chance, the benefit of the doubt, and she chose a road where missteps are merely missteps.

She is so beautiful, in ways that I can’t really describe. Just because she was just so different. Like that lone lash going against the downward flow. Life with her would be a life of light-heartedness and infectious positivity.

She was special. And my heart knew it. My mind grew to recognize it later on, but it was at that moment that my heart decided who it was going to bare itself to.

And all it took was one eyelash.


 Note: If you still think I am lesbian after having read all that, then, no. I am not. It's a male's perspective. Lulz.