His Mother's Eyes

“You have your mother’s eyes,” Josh was told from an early age. Neighbors

and relatives all agreed.

Deep blue and thick-lashed, the eyes in question had a child’s intense

clarity. Sadly, Josh’s clear gaze stayed with him into adult life. The less

charitable would call it vacant.

“You have my eyes, all right,” said his mother Hermione, her voice like

watered vinegar dripping off the point of a rusty knife. “Too bad you have your

father’s brain.”

Hermione had expected so much from the marriage she’d entered into far too

young. But Matt lacked ambition and would never amount to much in her eyes;

the eyes she passed on to their son. She was beautiful if you overlooked the

down-turned smile of a discontented carp. And that grating voice with which she

worked on Matt and Josh; the voice that eroded their self-esteem and ate

into their skulls….

Gentle, with a laborer’s hands and an honest face, Matt was usually the one

to bear the major brunt of Hermione’s terminal disappointment. But one day he

was injured in an accident at work. Crushed between a forklift truck and a

warehouse wall, he shed his life as uncomplainingly as he’d lived it.

Now it was Josh’s turn to deal with the slow drip of his mother’s

resentment until the restraining bands inside his head snapped.

Yes, he had his mother’s eyes; her ears also. They sat well on the shelf

under his Disneyland posters and alongside his collection of shells. Now he

was going for her heart, her stomach and her scalp – not necessarily in that


Mary Cook is a UK-based freelance writer and former newspaper reporter. Her
articles, short stories and poems have appeared in numerous publications,
both in print and online. Her homepage is at

© 2006 Underground Voices