I was complimented on my eyes yesterday, but I didn’t say anything. I stared at them with my “beautiful blue eyes” instead of thanking them. I just don’t see the appeal in blue eyes. Maybe it’s because the same man I got my blue eyes from is the same man that left my mom weeks before I was born. He is all I can think of when I think of blue eyes. I never even met him, but I have been told I have his eyes. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could afford colored contacts, but I can barely afford gas with my job at the local coffee shop.
“Benny? Are you there? There is coffee to be brewed.” I like coffee, but I don’t like brewing it. I enjoy making the cold coffees. My boss, Nancy, has figured that out which means I’m usually told to brew the coffee. I don’t argue, but she knows I don’t enjoy it. I think she feeds on my struggles. She really enjoys it too much.
“Yeah. Okay.” I’ve been spacing out at work lately. I’m always thinking of ways I can escape from the man everyone calls my dad. I just don’t know how considering a part of him sits on both sides of my nose.
“Are you okay?” Nancy puts her hand on my shoulder, and for some odd reason, it actually helped me relax. I’m still a mess, but she has managed to help me clean up a little bit just by showing that she cares.
“My eyes. Do you think they are pretty?” That’s probably a really stupid question to ask your boss.
“I mean, yeah they are. Why are you asking?” he looks into my eyes like she is staring at a million dollars. Why does everyone do that?
“I just- my dad had blue eyes.” She knows about my dad so I don’t have to say anything else for the bulb to go off above her head.
“Sweetheart, those are your eyes in that head of yours. They aren’t his. They are beautiful eyes, but they are not his eyes. Own the beauty. You don’t, however, have to own the fact that they look like his. You’ve only been told that. You don’t even know that for sure.” She is right. I haven’t even seen pictures of him. My mom doesn’t really have any pictures of him. She erased him from her life completely.
“Yeah. People compliment my eyes so much. I just feel like they are complimenting him more than they are complimenting me.” I’ve never said that out loud, but it’s true. He left before I was born, but he is still screwing up my mind at 19 years old.
“Own the beauty, not where you got your eyes from.” She pulls me in for a hug. “There’s only an hour left for your shift. Just go home and relax. I can finish up.”
She did this once before when I had a panic attack over a customer cussing me out. I hate when she does this, but after arguing with her the first time, I know it’s best to listen to her. It would be nice to relax at home right about now. “Thank you.”
We hug a second time, say our goodbyes, and I begin to walk for the door when someone opens the door waiting for me to walk out. I couldn’t help but notice that he was wearing Italian attire. I’ve got Italian in me from my dad. I’ve always wanted to learn Italian, but that’s just one more connection I would have with my dad.
“Hey sir. Are you Italian?” Never in a million years would I have thought I would be doing this. I don’t talk to people I don’t know. I especially don’t talk to hot strangers which this guy definitely is. I also don’t try becoming familiar with something that has something to do with my dad.
“Yeah. Why are you asking?” He realizes I am not walking out quite yet so he walks in and shuts the door. I, on the other hand, realize that he has a thick accent. He must have been born in Italy.
“My dad. Well, he- Are you sitting down? I’d love to talk to you.” I rub my hands together which is a thing I do when I get nervous.
“You’re welcome to join me. I’ve just got to get my coffee.” I silently celebrate as I will not only get to talk to a hot guy, but I might finally get closure.
“Don’t worry. I just got off work a few minutes ago. I can get it for you. What do you want?”
“Just black coffee. Thank you.” I give him a smile, and I make my way to the counter. Nancy must be in the back so I begin making the coffee. I make myself an iced coffee while brewing some fresh coffee for the Italian guy. I know Nancy wouldn’t mind if I didn’t pay, but in traditional Benny fashion, I go against what I know she’d want and sit a 10 dollar bill on the counter.
“I’m back!” I say in the most annoyingly enthusiastic way possible, but he doesn’t seem bothered. In fact, he smiled. No one has ever smiled like that when they see me.
“Ahh. The coffee. Thank you so much.” More smiles. This is too much for me to handle.
“No problem! It is my job.” I sit down across from him and start sipping on my iced coffee. I am the master at making iced coffee. Just ask anyone.
“Well, I appreciate it.” He starts to look like a big question mark. He is confused. “I hate to ask this, but is there a reason why you want to talk? I’m okay with talking. I’m just confused as to why.”
“Oh, I understand. I’m just- my dad left before I was born. I’ve had issues with my connections to him. I got my eyes from him so I hate it when people compliment them. He was also Italian. I’ve always wanted to learn Italian, but that’s just another bridge between him and I.” Why am I telling all of this to a stranger? This is not me at all.
“Did you somehow remove his eyes, and make them yours?” He says this with a smile on his face. I really hope he is joking.
“So they’re your eyes. The only way you could say you got them from him is if he was your dad. It sounds to me like he was only your sperm doner.” He laughs out loud this time. I do too.
“No one has ever put it that way.” I wish someone would have, but then again, I might not be here talking to him if someone did.
“Looks like you need someone like me in your life then.” He is definitely flirting now.
“You’re a confident one.”
“Oh no. You’ve got me all wrong. I’m just trying to impress you.” Wow. He is a flirtatious fellow.
“Well, mission accomplished.” A lot of missions have been accomplished in the last few minutes. I am getting closer to closure. He has impressed me, and I, without meaning to, have possibly found someone that feels the same way about me that I feel for them. “Wait. You never told me your name.”
“My name is Angel, and your name is Benjamin.” I look at him strange as I don’t remember telling him my name. It takes me a minute to realize I am still wearing my nametag.
“Oh, yeah. I forgot I was wearing my nametag. You can call me Benny though” We both laugh for a moment before he looks at his watch. That worries me.
“Cazzo!” Is that Italian? Maybe? “Excuse my language. I have to pick my sister from school. I don’t want this to be our last gathering though.” He says as he grabs a pen from his pocket and begins writing on a napkin.
I sit there and smile as I watch him write something on the napkin. I can’t believe I am sitting across from someone who seems to like me and care about me. He barely even knows me, but he took a few minutes out of his day to listen to my daddy issues. And he still wants to meet up with me again? I must be dreaming.
“Here. Call me.” He sits the napkin down in front of me, and I look down to read it.
I tuoi occhi blu scintillano come l’oceano
And then his number sits below it. What exactly is “it” though? I assume it’s Italian, but what is he telling me in Italian? Is this a lesson? Am I supposed to know without look at Google Translate? Well, if that’s the case, I’m failing.
I look up this sentence on Google, and I smile at what I read. I also look up Cazzo, and that one gives me a good laugh. He was really frustrated when he saw what time it was.
I want to show him my appreciation, but I want to show him that I am down to learn Italian so I look up one last thing on Google before texting him.
Cazzo – shit!
I tuoi occhi blu scintillano come l’oceano – Your blue eyes sparkle like the ocean
Grazie – Thank you
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