The Heavy “I See You”
April 18, 2008
I remember reading that there is an African country in which this is the customary greeting. And, it perfectly captures the sense of stopping to See the soul of the one you are speaking to. I like that.
And as far as Enn, I have this constant experience of seeing myself in him, which reveals that when I struggle with him withdrawing among large or noisy groups of kids, or when he constantly pushes limits because he’s got the confidence that he can handle anything (despite the fact that he’s four and doesn’t get that toasting his own waffle for 30 minutes in the toaster oven is a bad idea). Well- it’s the Me in him that gets to me sometimes. His determined independence sometimes riles me, or his refusal to quickly acclimate himself in a situation where I need him to do so… and yet, that’s how I am, too. I have a Me streak that can’t be molded by just anyone in any way, and certainly not flippantly or to serve the purposes of someone else. Sure, I like certain aspects of that. I choose my potters very carefully (those whom I allow to influence me), maybe to a fault in that I can lose out on valuable life lessons from others. I can think of several instances in which I was not fun to teach as an adult. However, I was always a Nice Kid. And so is my Enn. I am just super proud of him because at the eye doctor today, we prepared him to be brave, and wow was he. I could have just been like “Good job, Enn” and then moved on. But the Optometrist told me that really, he did a Great Job. Kids just don’t let her check eye pressures like that, rarely kids his age I gathered. She had to do drops in his eyes that stung, then had to place a thick pen looking thing near his eyeballs, and he was just brave. Not unafraid. But still brave, uncomplaining, and determined to do this thing.
He has a large optic nerve that has to be checked yearly for growth to ensure that it’s not glaucoma. I have that same large optic nerve. So does my mother.
“I See You.”
Ben Okri is a Nigerian poet and novelist that I love. He had a firsthand experience of the civil war in his country. Here he is with “I See Your Face.” Warning: to say this one’s intense is to put it mildly. His book The Famished Road is one I read soon after it was published, but I think it’s time to re-read. It is a delectable meal that is fully dripping with richness from beginning to end.