Hollow Eyes

Hollow Eyes

A Story by Oliver Jenkins

For some reason I felt obligated to write this. I would appreciate it if someone bothered to read it.


            The old man softly spoke numbers as he craned his neck to get a better view through the dirty kitchen window. His eyes were hollow and filled with an almost comfortable sadness.

            “What’s he doing?” Mary whispered, her lips barely brushing Jack’s ear.

            “Counting the squirrels in the backyard.” Jack replied.

            “What? Why?”

            “Can we talk outside?”

            She gave a small nod and they walked through the house and out the back door. The sky was a perfect shade of blue and the sunlight was cast in the lovely way that only occurs in the late afternoon. It was warm, but not too warm and the squirrels thrived. They dashed back and forth across the dead grass and up and down the pine trees. It would’ve been a beautiful day if they had been in another place, but there was something about that house that soaked them with melancholy. Mary and Jack stood facing away from the house looking outward at nothing at all. Jack would’ve reached for her hand if he didn’t feel that some wall of isolation had sprung up between them. They were quiet and in the distance they could hear a faint siren getting louder. Jack considered that the siren might be for him. He thought that maybe he had called an ambulance without realizing it; because subconsciously he felt he needed one.

            But these thoughts evaporated as Mary asked, “Why the hell did we have to come out here? The bugs are f*****g terrible.” Sounding slightly irritated.

            “I wanted a cigarette.” Jack said softly as he gently removed the lighter and Marlboro box from his pocket.

            He made smoking into a delicate process with the way that he placed a cigarette between his lips and lit it. Mary looked away from him attempting not to inhale too much smoke.

            “Won’t your grandfather tell your dad you’ve been smoking?” she said taking a quick glance back at the house.

            Jack’s grandfather was still by the window, his face solemn, and his mouth moving ever so slightly.

            “Have you ever considered mimes?” Jack said, smiling just a little.


            He blew a puff of smoke into the air and said, “You never thought about mimes and the metaphors that reside in them?”

            “What the f**k are you even saying?” Mary said angrily.

            Jack’s voice was calm as he continued, “Mimes take a vow of silence; I’m sure you know that, but to me it symbolizes a sort of contract that all they wanna do is silently express their sadness.”

            “Weren’t you gonna tell me about the squirrels?”

“I’m getting to that!” He said, “My granddad’s no more than a mime. Ever since his wife died all he’s done is silently expressed his sadness. At first my mom thought he might have Alzheimer’s, but they ran tests and it turns out it’s all psychological. He just doesn’t care about anything except his own damn sadness and the squirrels. That’s why he isn’t pissed about me smoking. Anyway… the squirrels… When I was a kid he used to shoot ‘em. I guess he thought it was funny and now he regrets it.”

            “I’m sorry…” Mary whispered, but it felt almost like a lie.

            “No, I’m sorry.” Jack said, “We haven’t been together long and brought you here. What the f**k was I thinking? I guess I just can’t bear to drive into the city without visiting Granddad. Again, I’m really sorry, but can we just put off our date? I’m not feeling up to it.”

            She nodded and then to Jack’s surprise she kissed him. It was a long kiss, but every second of it felt utterly meaningless to both of them, and when it was over they completely avoided eye contact. Again it was silent, but this time entirely. There was no siren. Jack secretly wished the paramedics would’ve come and taken him away to figure out what was so wrong with him.

            “You taste like f*****g cigarettes.” Mary said, finally looking at him.

Her words hung in the air with the smoke as she realized that Jack’s eyes were as hollow as his grandfathers. 

© 2012 Oliver Jenkins

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Added on June 25, 2012
Last Updated on June 25, 2012
Tags: squirrels, mimes, sad, mary, jack


Oliver Jenkins
Oliver Jenkins


I enjoy classic literature, indie rock, art, graphic novels, hiking, and writing. Also I'm terrible at describing myself. more..