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By Robin Bissett

We were fearful of the outside world. That any misstep or ill-timed encounter could worsen my husband’s dissipating health. But when his restlessness grew too hard to ignore, he would excuse himself and step outside.

Golfers in white ball caps dotted the plastic hills across the road, and sometimes we watched them play, blissfully unaware of how their game worked. They never paused their swinging or turned around to wave to us or indicated in any way that they saw us in return.

One morning, my husband told me something incredible happened in the nighttime. “While you were sleeping,” he said, “I came outside for some air. I had a feeling something was watching me.” He explained he heard a rustle come from our overgrown backyard grass that drooped across the stone path. He held up his busted phone and said, “I waved the light in the direction of the sound and saw purple, watery eyes peering back at me.”

I imagined how he saw it. Our single bulb porch light was feeble in comparison to the reaching arms of the shadowed greenery. There was so much left unseen, so many different places one could observe from.

The next night, after he fell asleep, I decided to wait up to see if I could find what he had seen.

I crept outside and tiptoed across the stone steps, wary of interrupting the conspiring cicadas. I tried to see, straining my eyes against the dark, but I could not locate anything. I feared what this meant for us, to be divided on this sighting, and what it meant for me, to be so alone in a time when others could be watching.

I was tempted to scream, to rattle the windows of our neighbors’ homes and demand the unseen thing reveal itself. To stomp my feet into the ground and send rippling tremors across the neighborhood. But I was distracted by the feeling that someone, anything, could be there, awaiting my most vulnerable moment to strike. I sat on the ground and hoped I would see it, too, and eventually I drifted into sleep.

A couple of hours later, I awoke alone and stumbled inside, shaking. I reached to turn off the outside porch light and flinched at what I saw reflected in the glass. My own eyes, purple and yellow like old bruises. I blinked hard twice. But nothing changed.


Robin Bissett is a writer, editor, and teaching artist from West Texas. She is an alumna of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program Summer Institute and a fiction MFA candidate at the University of Montana, where she serves as the Online Managing Editor of CutBank.


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