MO-om! She’s staring at me!

My daughter was one of the most socially adept people I have ever met. From the yougest age, she captivated people with her vibrant, bubbly personality. She was always happy, unless she was very ill.

Olivia’s love of people made her watchful and observant. She liked to consider people, studying their faces and their mannerisms–the way they used their hands (or not), the way they held their bodies when they talked, their facial expressions.

The way Olivia stared at people could be unnerving. She most particularly enjoyed staring at me as we sat at the dinner table. By this, I do not mean an occasional gaze that she averted once she realized I had caught her staring at me; I mean the full-out stare of the third eye of Shiva!

One night at the dinner table, after a long and draining day, I found I hadn’t my usual tolerance for Olivia’s third-eye stare. I felt an archaic complaint well up inside me: “MO-om! She’s staring at me!”

I laid my fork down on the dinner table and leaned forward.

“Olivia, why do you stare at me so? What on earth are you thinking? It’s disconcerting.”

Silence.

Olivia, why are you staring at me?”

Silence.

Then, with a soft voice absent of guile, Olivia smiled sweetly and said, “Because you’re so pretty.”

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