Jack always found it hard to make eye contact with people. If eyes were the windows to the soul, than he wanted to keep his hidden. Particularly from people he found attractive. He did his best to project an air of strong self-confidence, but that’s hard to manifest when you also twitch like a skittish pony at the slightest hint of eye contact. It just felt so vulnerable to him, and he knew that they could see his feelings scrolling across his eyes like the credits of a movie. So as he grew up, he learned to look directly at people’s foreheads for a few meaningful seconds, then look away, or down to their hands. The important part was not letting your gaze flit about too much. If you looked at too many things during a conversation, than people decided you weren’t really paying attention. But seeing Brian every week made up for all of it. He had met him in a bar, and no, it wasn’t a cheap bar, either. Brian was an escort, but Jack didn’t pay him for sex. Not like that, at least. Jack paid Brian to let him look in his eyes. It was always horrifying to start with, feeling like he had cut himself open for Brian to see inside. But the reassurance it gave him after a few minutes, and then on through to the end, made it all worth the trauma of the beginning. He had been seeing Brian for three years now, and Brian had cut the price of the sessions in half every year. He had offered to let Jack see him for free, but after a month of Jack missing sessions, he knew better than to bring that up again. It wasn’t like Jack wanted a friend. He just wanted someone to look into his eyes, and make sure he wasn’t crazy. And $100 an hour was cheaper than a good therapist, plus Brian didn’t make him talk. It was the best choice, really.
©2012 Erin Sharp