I know a boy with hazel eyes who wants to run away from home.
"Laura," he said to me the other day, "last night I tried to buy a ticket from Darfur, but I had to be eighteen to get one."
I looked at him, at his beautiful face that was so completely serious, and I felt like my soul wanted to break into little pieces. This boy I know is far too beautiful, far too smart, far too curious and passionate and far too gifted in far too many ways to go to Darfur and away from me forever.
"You're only seventeen," I'd said to him, and I'd meant so much by it.
This boy I know is eager. He is impatient. He has never liked to stand around and wait for life to catch up with him. He skipped the third grade because he was so much smarter than everyone else. He started a rock band when he was thirteen. He's the only high school kid that reads books on string physics for fun. He is always reading and doing and learning and living, in a way that I know I never could. Sometimes it seems to me that this boy I know, knows everything.
He wants to grow up now, to get away from this place where he has lived his whole life. He wants to go to places he has never been, to help people he has never seen. He wants to live before he has to go back to school for four more years and make something responsible and beautiful out of his life. He wants to experience everything, and no matter how I try, I cannot convince him that he has his whole entire life to do that.
His eyes are green sometimes, and sometimes brown, and his heart is broken. Among everything else he is, he is an actor, but I know. I can tell. I can tell by the smile and the way he holds his head up that something is wrong with him, and I actually do know exactly what, because this boy I know will tell you anything you want.
I know that life has confused him, and I know that he feels lost. He has always floated through life, with his friends and his books and he never had a problem, because who really does have problems when they're only in ninth grade? But then we all grew up and things were different. He was denied from all the amazing schools that he should have gotten into, as gifted and talented and amazing as he is. His eyes had a light of dismay in them for weeks as he had to settle for a decent, but definatley less amazing, school. He learned something new that day, too, that, in the end, it doesn't matter how amazing you are in life, that the only ones who get what they want are the fabulously wealthy.
And then, just when he had rallied and smiled and his eyes had changed back to brown and he had regained his faith, his heart had been broken again, torn out and shredded with manicured hands that everybody saw. He had to learn again about betrayal and trust and endings.
And then this boy I know, this glorious boy, broke. This boy who I always thought could do anything, suddenly did nothing. His nose stayed red and his eyes turned green and hard and they didn't look for the beautiful things anymore. And this boy, this boy who always did things right, this boy who could do anything, suddenly didn't know quite what to do. His grief and his confusion and her betrayl threatened to swallow him whole, and he cried out in the night for solace.
And so he tried. He tried to move on and change and be very, very different from the person that he thought he was. He tried to forget his heart in different ways and different people, but his eyes stayed green at nighttime. He tried to hide himself in darkness and drinks and different girls, but everybody saw right through.
It was enough to break your heart.
So, this is why the most beautiful boy I ever knew wants to go to Darfur. This is why the most beautiful boy I ever knew wants to disappear, to hide and to never be seen again. Because the boy who could do anything, suddenly does not know if he can or not. The boy who could change the world, suddenly does not know if he can even change himself.
I asked him what he was looking for.
He looked at me with his eyes that are still green, and I wonder if they will ever be hazel again. I wonder if they will ever be that perfect balance of colors that I used to know, or think I knew.
"Laura, I don't know," he said, and the way he said it made him sound absolutley uncertain.
But I know.
The most beautiful boy I know wants to escape, not to lose the life he had here, but to find himself again.
I try to tell him that he doesn't need to, that he can stay right here until he figures himself out, but he turns away and he does not listen. Because, even though he is broken on the inside, he is not a different person. He is still, at least partly, the boy I used to know, and that means that he is still as stubborn as anything. That means that he will not listen to me, no matter what I say. He won't listen to anybody.
And, I think to myself, that is part of what makes it okay. As long as he stays like this, stubborn and strong and fiercely determined to do whatever it may take to discover himself again, I know that he will. I know that, just in this, he is being himself again, at least partially. And I know that, soon, he will be just fine.
Because he is the most beautiful boy I know, and he always could do just about anything.
And, besides, his eyes aren't green all the time.
A/N- This is something I whipped up this morning. I dedicate it to Lara Croft-Sparrow. May you find whatever it is you are looking for.