They were green eyes… I realized with time his eyes really did most of the talking for him during his lifetime. It wasn’t as much the look or expression on his face as it was the focus or emotion in his eyes that could portray any sense of feeling he had.
They were his mom’s eyes. His dad was half Native American, or at least that’s what his dad told everyone. His dad most certainly looked half Indian, in fact, to say he looked full blood would be a bit more accurate. He had some of his dad’s attributes, but the eyes were from his mom’s side of the family.
Those eyes were strong first, they showed intent in everything he did, but they also carried in them peace and joy. Long after I first began to understand the strength in those eyes, I would slowly, with time, realize in those green eyes were comfort.
As I looked out over my guard, which was identical to his, due to his teaching, I saw joy. Those green eyes told me he was having fun. I also saw intent, but alas my age, speed, skill, strength, and quickness would be a bit too much for the man behind those haunting green eyes…
As we moved, sidestepped quickly, carefully positioning the members of our bodies to best the other, I saw something else in those eyes. I saw extreme joy mixed with intensity… I didn’t see a shred of doubt…
The confidence in his eyes caught me a bit off-guard. The man behind the green eyes was underestimating the skill behind mine. I knew I was physically superior. I had longer, quicker and stronger arms. My feet and legs were superior as well.
It was all in fun, we weren’t going to throw full punches, just a hard, stinging pulled punch or slap in order to prove who would be the best for that day.
The confidence in his eyes was backed up by, not the grin on his face, but the full blown smile. I was smiling as well. His boxing career in the Air Force and Elks Lodges for extra money when his kids were babies was twenty-five years in his rear view mirror.
I wasn’t even born at the time. What those green eyes couldn’t see was my skill that had been developed. “You have any idea how fast I am”? I asked as we were moving around each other, having already started the sparring. “I bet you’re really fast”! He said almost laughing.
Then he said something like, “Why don’t you show me some of that speed”! Still smiling big. Right before he could get the last syllable out, I launched, lightning fast left jab getting ready to “slap” his right cheek… It never got there…
He parried my jab with his right hand and landed two straight jabs to the side of my face while I thought I had my guard up. It went on for another 20 or 30 seconds as the kind eyes and smile pummeled me gently.
By that time, his eyes were pouring emotion. He laughed his high-pitched perfect laugh, “Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!! I laughed too… He grabbed me and hugged me, laughing. “Son-your faster than I thought you were”! He said still laughing, but sincere in his assessment.
His green eyes were proud, not of himself, he didn’t matter to himself, he was proud of me for really nothing, just for belonging to him.
I was proud for who he was as a man. His eyes hid no intention other than the truth of God he lived his life by, and that could be clearly seen in his eyes.
As time goes on and God reveals to and in me who I am in this world, it changes me from not only the inside but the outside as well.
On a rare occasion and the light and angle are just right, as I glance in the mirror, I can see them, faintly, deep inside I spot them, my father’s eyes. I remember the eyes looking back at me, reminding me of the man I can still be.
When God took my dad home to be with Him, He plucked a piece of my heart and took it with them. Through the sorrow, I’ve learned it was His way of preparing me for when it is my turn to be taken home.
I’m also left with the memory and the love I will always carry with me, captured in those green eyes…