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The other day a woman standing beside my husband said, “Good God, are those fake eyelashes?” My husband smiled as I replied, “Those lashes are all his and each of his children have inherited them.”

As she walked away I glanced at my husband and re-acquainted myself with his Moorish eyes. In the dark, his eyes are velvety brown but in direct light, they are flecked in green and gold. His eyes are fringed with stiff long lashes that curl at the tips. His thickly arched eyebrows frame his almond eyes .

That brief exchange brought to mind another moment my husband and I shared a lifetime ago in Montmartre. A street artist persuaded him to sit for a “guaranteed, 10 minute” sketch. As thousands before him, my husband agreed and sat for the portrait. The artist sat hunched in his stool and with charcoal stained fingers, duplicated my husband’s likeness.

I watched as the artist pushed, rubbed and blew the charcoal, cajoling B’s image on to the thin, delicate paper. Forty minutes later we paid him €40 and contentedly made our way down the narrow cobble pathway, away from Sacré-coeur and its secrets. Immensely pleased by the artist’s remarkable mastery, we held hands,our fingers dusted with coal.

Those early days and the many that have since followed have been marked by my reverence to his soulful and penetrating eyes. I never counted a day would come when I would become less conscious of them. But, time has passed and those moments of quiet appreciation are less frequent.

The stranger’s comments imbued a renewed sense of discovery.

His eyes are nothing like the sun.

April 1, 2010

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