[Issue 3/November 2012]

Eyes

By Nabina Das

Read by Shanti Perez.

Looking through the pumpkin kitty’s eyes is a great pastime. The kitty is wilting a bit, but she’s still in great shape. She sits on my banister littered with crumbly leaves, dead flies and occasional bee droppings. I’m told it’s okay to look through the kitty’s eyes. Apparently, that’s what autumn’s for. Big faces, toothy smiles, searing eyeholes and discreet watches. Discreet.

If I had a lawn, I’d have done better. I would have a bevy of lawn ornaments and installations to zap people into attention. People who care to pass by and look. But people are rare. We got more cars here in little Upstate NY towns. Motorcars don’t stop and look; they simply race by and ignore the pleading eyes of the blue-and-yellow lawn deer, the plastic hobos, the absentminded roosters-on-poles and the pumpkin faces carved carefully on dedicated evenings. Only kids look.

I peer through my kitty and see how the evening light gives a pumpkinny tinge to the hanger-on leaves on trees that seem impatient to shake them off. Also, see faces and eyes passing by in ones and twos in several hours. Kids on bikes, and playing ball.

The kitty on my banister shrivels with each passing hour, but its eyes remain wide. I sit inside, my glass-shuttered window seat being directly diagonally opposite to the giant “backless” kitty pumpkin outside. It’s like a mask I don’t have to wear. A rotund, fleshy, annoyingly nutty smelling vegetable that serves perfectly as a lookout cover. I’m told nothing can get better.

Oh, you wondering who told me all that? There’s a maple-patch-away, 30ish, brooding neighbor. He did. I almost always meet him looking inside the brush while on my weekly walks along the path that skirts the behind of our neighborhood. We don’t always talk, but we talk interesting things whenever we do. I’d mentioned to him that I carved a kitty with large eyes, like long leafy camera lenses. “Slice off the pumpkin back. It’d be like a sitting mask. You can see through the kitty’s eyes, ya know. It’s fun.” he said. “I do it all the time on my pumpkin patch.” What a super idea he gave me. “Aw, thanks! Get some hot chocolate? I live nearby.” The brooding neighbor sounds casual and warm to my surprise. “Wish I could come. Maybe ‘nother day.”

So, that’s how I’ve been watching the world with the kitty’s eyes, although slicing the back off has made the pumpkin a little wobbly. I was worried that it’d topple over.

This morning, through the kitty’s eyes I see a Sheriff’s vehicle arrive. Although the pumpkin lenses never give ‘precision view’, looked like my neighbor was packed away in that car.

Evening. I’m watching the local TV channel ramble about a sex offender screwing up things. Some kids were lured into his pumpkin patch and then bad things happened. Didn’t my guy say he had one, a pumpkin patch? Damn. A squall gets the power out. I get some hot chocolate. The rain outside is killing the kitty. That one needs to go to the raccoons in the backyard.

*

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Nabina Das has lived in Upstate NY for a little less than a decade. She has carved pumpkins every Fall, but never made a kitty mask with one yet. Read her novel Footprints in the Bajra (http://www.amazon.com/Footprints-Bajra-Das-Nabina/dp/8122310990/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331728040&sr=1-1 and as Kindle edition, and visit her blog athttp://nabinadas13.wordpress.com/).

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