Eye of the Beholder


My fingers itch.  It’s as if an electric current, a magnetic charge, thrums through them.  Into the razorblade and back again.  How can one sliver of metal throb with every one of my frustrations, when all I feel is dead inside?  Reflected in the cold face are the eyes of strangers, of friends, of the girls in my class.  I can almost hear their envy echoing through my brain.

I stopped wearing revealing clothing a long time ago, preferring instead baggy jeans and the tattered flannels Father uses for yard work.  I don’t wear makeup or jewelry like the other girls, and opt for combat boots over more fashionable kicks.  But it doesn’t matter.

I raise a hand to my head and wiggle my digits through the hair I’ve dyed mouse-brown and shorn with the two inch attachment on the clippers my mom uses to trim Rocky’s fur.  My bedroom is silent, eerie.  I reach and flick my finger to turn on my iHome.  Soft sounds of Hard rock fill the void.

I used to be so naïve, unaware of the Drishti, the Evil Eye.  I was eight before I even heard it mentioned.  Mama didn’t realize I’d heard her talking to Father while I bounced on my new trampoline.  “The other girl’s are so jealous of our Eva! Look at Cara giving her the Evil Eye.  I hope she doesn’t get hurt.”

Later that day I asked my grandmother what Mama had meant about the Evil Eye.  Bajai explained that back in Nepal, many people believe in the Drishti.  Other people’s envious thoughts can cause harm to another, but she refused to say more.  Ever since that day, I’ve been careful not to draw attention to myself.

Over the last eight years, courtesy of the internet, I’ve learned a lot about the Evil Eye, but none of the usual precautions have helped ward it off.  When I was ten, I got a new bike for Christmas and Cynthia Keeler from three houses down watched me ride it.  The next day, I fell out of her tree house and broke my arm.  I had been wearing a spot of kohl on each cheek, yet was still hurt by Cynthia’s jealousy.





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