She could feel the weight of his stare on her back. She was standing on a step ladder dusting a shelf and she could literally feel him watching her. His eyes tracing the line of her from her shoulder, down the curve of her lower back, resting on her ass as she stretched to reach the corners of the high shelf. Then traveling back up her body landing on the back of her head. She could feel his eyes watching her.
How was that even possible? She pondered this while she kept tidying the shelf. It didn't happen with everyone. She felt like it was completely dependent on who was doing the looking. Some people could stare right at you and never even see you. Like you weren't there at all. Even though you clearly were and they were clearly looking at you. But not seeing you. Not really.
And then there were those that you were aware of every time they looked at you. That feeling on the back of your neck as their eyes grazed just the spot where you liked to be kissed. The ones who when they looked you in the eyes you had to look away because it was too much. Too personal. Too close. Just a look was more intimate than the touch of some.
His gaze had a weight to it. A feeling. A knowing. Like a caress against her skin when he saw her. The first time he had looked at her the hairs on her arms had stood up. Like a lightning charged sky. The first time their eyes met she had been grateful that it was brief. He had been looking over the crowded room, searching for something or someone as he glanced past her. Their eyes meeting in a moment that was so intense it had rocked her back on her heels. The lightning bolt struck.
He wasn't the only one whose gaze she could feel. But she did think there had to be some sort of connection in place. Like she always knew when her mother was watching her. She could feel her when she was practicing the piano, watching from the doorway. She could sense her reading over her shoulder when she was working on her homework. That sort of twitchy feeling. There was a reason most people didn't like to have others read over their shoulders. You could feel it. Skimming your arm, dragging along your neck. Heavy and itchy. Like a weight.
On a crowded bus you couldn't feel everyone looking at you. But sometimes you did feel the weight of a stranger's gaze. And if you turned they would be staring. Heavy. Weighty looks. What was her connection to them? Or was it that they wanted a connection with anyone that their stares always had a weight?
She always wondered about who could feel her own looks. There had been a girl in 7th grade who always seemed to feel her when she stared. She had the darkest, shiniest hair. It was the kind of hair that made everyone envious. And she would toss it over her shoulder and shake her head in a way that made it move like the velvet curtains at the theater. She wanted to touch that curtain of hair. To see if it felt as silky as it looked. Was it smooth like glass? So she would stare. And almost always get caught staring. "Stop it!" she would hiss. "Stop staring at me!" And she would blush and look down at her desk. Knowing that she would just do it again. She couldn't help it. And the girl would feel the weight of her hungry eyes and turn to catch her. Again.
So she wanted what that girl had. Was that why she could feel the looks? Her mother was her mother, they were tied together forever, was that why her mother's gaze was so weighty? There was the dirty old man on the subway who she felt watching her and when she looked up he smiled and flashed her his penis. He had wanted something from her. So his eyes were heavy as well.
She brought her hand to the back of her head and fluffed her hair. He was still staring at her. She could still feel it. It still made the hair on her arms stand up. It still made the spot on the back of neck where she liked to be kissed tingle. His gaze still held weight. Power. Heaviness.
She backed down the ladder and turned slowly. Looking directly in to his eyes. Yes, he was staring at her. She moved slowly across the room, she could almost trace the line from his eyes to hers. There was a physical thing when he looked at her. His blue eyes locked on hers. That bolt of electricity flowing between them. She reached out and turned the jar around and then went back to her dusting. He could face the wall with the rest of them.
She didn't like to be looked at.