eye contact | jackson ethier

Prompt #3:


Dearest Amelia,

I miss you.

I miss your eyes.

I remember the reflection of billions of stars gathering to brilliantly dance off your icy blue eyes. You told me you wanted to know more about them; Wondrously lost in the mystery that the universe held as we sat high above everyone else at Inspiration Point and I remember wanting to join you on the journey.

We went on an expedition into the red dust of Mars, the blue storms of Neptune, and the Red Dot of Jupiter. Imagining adorable creatures we wanted to take home alongside huge predators that we should’ve kept our distance from. Discovering more than we ever thought possible, yet always believed could be possible; our wildest dreams becoming reality and having each other to share them.

I miss your smile.

Amidst the stress and carrying emotional weight of life at camp, it regularly calmed me down. I could finally just be. We would share about our days; the trials, triumphs, and their overall impact. In this I found life to be purposeful, probably for the first time.

I miss your camera.

Slung nonchalantly over your shoulder and decorated with recycled friendship bracelets as tassels, you snapped the most intimate moments with ease and grace. That day, though, I saw how you hid behind it, how beautiful your pictures were and how you longed for the beauty on the memory card to rub off and impact your life. How it didn’t. No matter how blatant the beauty was, it couldn’t translate for a reason I never thought I’d know.

But all I had to do was make eye contact, and I knew you were hurting. Not why or how you were hurting, only that you were…

…I remember that night. The night he decided to make an unwarranted advance. On the outside, it was a classic misunderstanding. He seemed to brush it off. Because he “only” gave you compliments, your reaction seemed a little “too dramatic” and “a little much” to most, but not me.

While everybody walked over to celebrate the end of summer, you didn’t move. And for the first time, I saw you.


“Will you go with me to Inspo Point?” you said.

“Uhm, yeah, sure.”


Your eyes darkened like the sky during winter and your smile hid as we hiked our way up to the Moon.

I learned about your father and your brother. How they mistreated you and took advantage of you. How your love for beautiful things wasn’t some frivolous obsession. It was an attempt to prove to yourself that beauty exists in the world; that the planet we live on could produce something good.

It makes sense now why you wanted to visit all those planets and why you took so many photos.

I could tell you had never told anyone before and you could tell I didn’t have the words to console you.


Like a knee-jerk reaction, I just held you.

At first you weren’t sure about it. But you found a reason to trust me.

I’m still not sure what it was.

Bitter tears trickled down my face, as your pain became mine.

You started to squeeze tighter like you didn’t want this to end.


Neither did I. Because I loved you.

But it did and I miss you.



From Mars, Jackson



Who am I kidding?

I still love you.


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