The Odd Tumbler
Ethics, courage & giving the real leaders a chance

The man with the light brown eyes

Light brown eyesCAROLE N CHOLAI

IT was his eyes.  Light brown eyes.

I'm smiling now thinking about them. They were the perfect colour.  When the sun shone from behind him, it looked like it shone right through beautifully coloured stained glass.

I remember looking at his eyes that moment he talked to me.  I couldn't help but gaze right back at them. I was mesmerised for a bit too long as I remember him saying - Hey, what's up with you?

Nothing.  I was just thinking. Trying to quickly think up something that I was thinking about.  I swear, if my skin colour was a bit paler, he would just see my face go red!

So what's with the guy and his eyes?   Well, nothing much - I guess.  Except that he plays rugby. He's muscular, the girls love him. He's popular.  He also has a great sense of humour and makes everyone around feel like they are the only person in the room.

I met him through my best friend, Peter.  It was at a work dinner function and he, Peter, had invited me to attend as his partner as he didn't want to go alone.  Peter and I had been best friends since we could say the alphabet.  Peter worked at the same firm with the guy with the brown eyes.

I didn't want to go out at first. I really am not the 'extrovert' kind of person.  Peter and I are so very opposite.  He likes hanging out with a whole bunch of people while I'd rather just stay home and watch some flicks with a group of close friends or go for a drive. Peter had so many other friends, but when it came to the deepest, darkest thoughts and plans and dreams of his, it was me he would share them with.

Most of our friends which we've also known since childhood always wondered about us.  Whether there was anything between us, or if there would ever be anything between us, It was two best friends of the opposite sex who enjoyed each other's company for as long as they could remember.

There was someone else I was interested in but it ended in a heartbreak.  It had been two years since that relationship and I had lost all interest in the dating and getting to know someone. 

I didn't want to go through another heartbreak ever.  So I kept myself busy with work, my close knit of friends, reading, and hanging out with Peter whenever he was in town. That heartbreak of a relationship was my second relationship in my whole entire life.

Peter, on the other hand was in and out of relationships, more times than I could even say hello to one. When it came to relationships, he would tell me about which girls he thought were hot, which were on his list to ask next.  I'd just laugh about it and sometimes he'd even ask for my opinion what I'd thought. 

So the dinner. 

After much persuasion from Peter, I gave in to the invite and said - OK, I'll escort you.  I never really like to converse with people and around new people, I usually find it very difficult starting up a conversation. 

There were a lot of people there and some older people, who I recognised one to be Peter's manager, and the lady sitting next to him was obviously his wife.  The dinner table was nearly as long as the length of the room, set with red tablecloth with wine bottles and glasses.  Peter had mentioned that the occasion was to welcome the visiting management from the other branch office in Asia.

He worked for a global oil company as an engineer in the mechanical section.  He had studied mechanical engineering.  We also both attended the same university where I had studied business management.

We sat down and Peter introduced me to his work colleagues.  The chair next to me was empty and two seats from me was Peter's manager's wife.  We started a conversation across the empty chair about where I worked and she asked if I was Peter's partner.  I laughed and explained that I was Peter's best friend and she gave me a look that said - Yeah right.

OK, I thought. Now she thinks that I'm trying to hide something when I'm not.  I hoped that the person who would fill the empty chair next to me would be a female about my age so at least I would feel more comfortable talking to her.

White wine was poured out and conversation on the table was ongoing - I tried to smile and laugh at the nearest conversation I could hear , while listening to Peter from across the table, converse with the others.

Then he walked in.

I didn't see him at first - until I caught a glimpse of the empty chair next to me start moving.  I didn't want to look up to see who it was, and thoughts inside of me started to think up a conversation topic that I could possibly start with this person.

"Hey - mind if I sit down here?" It was definitely not a female voice, but a deep, mellow voice of someone I would think was not too much older and maybe about the same age as Peter and I.  I looked up and looked straight into his eyes. It looked dark in the night lights of the restaurant but he had an awesome smile.  

"Please, sit down."  I told him.  "I'm just accompanying Peter here."

"Are you Peter's partner?" he asked me. I smiled and said - "You are like the second person who has asked me that in the short span of time that I've been here - and yes and no - yes, I am his partner , just for this dinner function and no - we are best of friends from way back."

"Aah! Friends. That's what they always say" he mumbled.

I laughed.

"Yes we are just friends!"

He smiled.

"By the way I'm Chris."

He held out his hand and I shook it and smiled back. Our eyes held for a brief moment and I told him my name.   I didn't know whether I should start hating the guy because he was starting to piss me off with his smirk about Peter and I being 'friends' or to be nice as he had a great smile and lovely eyes for a guy and was trying to  be somewhat nice.

Why do people always think that just because two people of the opposite sex go anywhere together they cannot be just friends?  I felt like screaming it out to everyone in the room, but instead it came out as a quiet mumble, which Chris heard.

"Hey, that's cool - that only means that you are available right?"

He looked at me and smiled again.  We were two people having our own conversation in the midst of everyone around us. I felt my ears go red! I didn't really know what to say.

"Anyway - I work with Peter. I'm in the Marketing Department."

He started to tell me who was who on the table.  Peter was at the other end of the table talking to the visiting management and then as the food was being served to the table, he walked back to his seat across from me.

I guess you've both met - He looked at both Chris and I.

"Yes." I said. 

Peter and Chris conversed about The Rugby World Cup which was the current most talked event in the country right now.  To me, it was one of those topics that I completely switch off! I grew up watching the Australian NRL and just like everyone else in the country, supported one of the teams, but to go into detail about this try run, the tackle and this player and the next - that was all just a boring old buzzing sound to me.

Ah - so he plays rugby.  I could make out his bodily shape from the fitting shirt he had on, that he either spent so much time at the gym, or played a lot of sports - and so it was rugby.

The dinner was great and I was politely trying to eat as little as I could, but they would all tell me to eat some more.  Chris had this enchanting laugh, that every time he spoke, he would laugh at the end which would get all the others laughing, and he was well known by everyone on the table, even the visitors.

He kept asking me if I was ok, if I wanted some more wine to drink, or if I wanted another serve of the soy chicken plate. It was one of those moments of him looking at me, trying to play the host was when I caught the true colours of his eyes.

Oh wow! Mesmerised in my thoughts. He's got beautiful light brown eyes. 

The dinner was finishing up and Peter's manager had suggested that we all went over to their place.  His wife was also very kindly encouraging everyone to come along, they wanted to make the visitors feel welcome and since it was only 10pm, they said, the night was still very young.

I had stopped drinking alcohol many years ago and would only take the occasional glass - it had been awhile since my last drink and at that moment I was feeling very bubbly and didn't mind following the group to the next place of gathering.

Peter asked me if I wanted to go home - but just as he did, Chris said, "Hey - it's not time to go home yet, let's all continue to the next place till they send us home."

OK - I couldn't help but glazing into his eyes. There was something about his eyes that attracted me. I told Peter, "hey that's fine - I'm supposed to escort you out tonight so we are still are out!"

So, there we all were at the manager’s house. We had more wine and there was music playing.   Peter had to go talk to his managers and I was left alone with Chris on the beautiful balcony. Peter, while walking away, jokingly said, "Hey, don't get too enchanted by this guy!" and walked off laughing.

Actually, I was already enchanted.

He was asking me about what I do and where I work.

I jokingly replied, "What is this? 20 Questions?" 

I enjoyed his company and every question he asked me, I'd ask one back. We were both looking out of the ledge of the balcony towards the harbour and our arms rubbed against each other and at that moment I felt this shrill right through me.

I quickly moved my arm away, not knowing if it was the effect of the wine or if it was some affectionate attraction from Chris. He looked at me and smiled and once more I looked straight into those light brown eyes.

It was time to call it a night, and Peter came back to us, after leaving us alone for the rest of the time there. As we said our goodbyes and how great it was to meet each other,  Chris rubbed my arm and whispered, I hope I get to see you again soon.

I didn't tell Peter, but we had exchanged contacts.  I was hoping and wanting to see him again. Lying in my bed that night, I closed my eyes, thinking of those lovely light brown eyes.


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