TendernessShe was always afraid of the opposite sex. Therefore, the boys she liked were vacant in some way or at least completely preoccupied. She didn't like to be looked at and seen by men.
If a boy looked at her and even seemed to want something she ran away.
Except for once.
He had soft eyes like a rabbit or a doe. They were big and black framed by long eyelashes and they filled up with her. The first time she saw him look at her she ran and kept running, terrified as usual.
But she always came back to look for him, to see those eyes.
She one day realized, after it was too late, she'd been hypnotized by the pull of his gaze and so she settled into the idea of it. She spoke to him and they made friends. This required her to be brave. At first her heart would pound when she talked to him. She felt like she would jump out of her skin standing there before him the way he looked at her like that.
But then he touched her with the softest, most careful fingers. And then he kissed her and something inside her shifted. Everything about him was gentleness. His fingertips on her cheek, her neck. His lips brushing lightly against her mouth.
Yes, she had always been afraid to be seen. She thought she was afraid of eyes looking at her -- that it was some kind of shyness -- but now she knew it was herself she was afraid of. This gentle boy, who couldn't help but smile when he saw her, who looked at her like he was holding out his life to her made her want to pounce. Now, whenever she looked into those eyes she saw something she wanted to devour.
She felt all the wild in herself, the predator watching its prey, ready to attack. She wanted to swallow him whole so that all of him would be inside her. When she didn't have his eyes on her it was like she was a caged tiger. Inside her mind she'd pace back and forth waiting for him.
It didn't last. That kind of passion burns through itself quickly. She went back to liking boys who stirred less in her. But she carried his eyes with her to remind her that tenderness was real. And that after all, she really was a beast.