Behind Closed Eyes.

Even the best of us often see what we want to see… and miss what we don’t want to see. What do you notice as you read this story? What do you skim over? Where in your life do you miss opportunities to make a difference?

Written by

Randall J. Greene

Published on

Go BackProse, Stories

I closed my eyes at the light streaming through my windshield. Squinting against the setting sun, I fumbled around the glove box for my sunglasses. Tire gauge, napkins, pens. They had to be in there somewhere.

I slammed the box closed. I didn’t really need them anyways – I just needed a place to park.

My phone vibrated in my pocket. One long, one short – a text message.

“New text message from Beni: ‘I just got here. Getting a table in the back.’”

“Reply.” I paused to let my command register. “’I’m parking now. Be there in a minute. Do you want to go ahead and order appetizers?’ Send.”

“…Text message sent.”

Street parking was packed tonight, so I pulled into a garage a couple blocks from the restaurant. There were a pair of well-lit spots against the far wall, so I parked. Grabbing my coat from the passenger seat, I did a quick mental inventory to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything.

Phone? Check.

Wallet? Check.

Keys? Yep, in my pocket already.

Alright, good to go. I closed the door, shrugged on my jacket, and listened for the lock to engage. Click. Good.

Making a mental note of where I’d parked, I cut across the garage to the street. I didn’t want to keep Beni waiting – she was a special girl. I could see her soft brown eyes checking her phone for an update.

The restaurant was a block ahead on the other side of the street. Too much traffic for me to cross here.

I reached the crosswalk just as my light turned red. Just what I needed – another delay.

I pulled my phone out of my pocket to see if she’d texted back. No, nothing. Hopefully a good sign.

The light still hadn’t changed. I glanced down at the ground and saw a bum sitting there. The man’s darkened eyes looked toward me through lines of dirt and sweat-soaked hair. He held up a paper cup containing a crumpled bill and few coins, but he didn’t say anything.

Get a job, man. It’s not that hard.

Finally the light changed and I jogged across the street. As I entered the restaurant and handed the greeter my jacket, I told him my girlfriend was already seated.

“Ah, yes. Follow me.”

He led me to the back of the restaurant where I saw Beni seated, eyes glued to her phone.

She stood when she saw me, and I gave her a hug and a quick kiss. “Sorry I’m late. Traffic was a mess tonight, and then I had to park forever away.”

I loved her smile. “Don’t worry about it. I was just on Facebook. How was work?”

Before I could answer, the waitress approached with a plate of bruschetta. “Do you need a few moments to look at the menu?”

“Yes, thank you,” I nodded.

I grabbed Beni’s hands across the table. “I’m hungry – I’ll bless the food,” I said as I closed my eyes.