When the average person stares into someone’s eyes, they cannot see much about that individual. Of course, if they wear their heart on their sleeve, you might be able to tell how they are feeling, or if they had a long, sleepless night with little sleep and their eyes were exhausted. Aside from that, looking someone in the eyes usually does not reveal anything about them. That is the purpose of words, dialogue, and communication.
What if I told you there was someone somewhere in the globe who did not follow these rules? Someone who could tell you everything about someone just by looking them in the eyes. Their most intimate secrets. Longings. What kept them awake at night Someone who could speak but chose not to, because what was the use of inquiring about someone’s life when they could just look them in the eyes and know everything?
Oliver Newman matched the description almost exactly. If you asked his classmates, Oliver was a really strange being. When he was in primary school, the other students avoided him because they believed he was strange because he was frequently caught staring at them, interested by what he was learning about them.
“Don’t look Oliver in the eyes- he might stare you to death!” They mocked.
Oliver didn’t seem to mind. He was alright with them making fun of him; in fact, he didn’t notice it most of the time since he was too preoccupied with peering into people’s eyes and experiencing every minute of their life. It was exhilarating for him.
He discovered that Millie had just gotten a new puppy and that she had been thinking about him a lot at school. Jacob was teaching his older special needs sister to read, he discovered. He discovered that Fredrick’s mother had recently been promoted and that they were finally leaving their aunt’s place. Oliver could tell Fredrick was overjoyed about it.
But he didn’t always learn positive things about people. Oliver used to take the bus to school before he acquired his driver’s license since his family was too busy to drive him. One day, as he walked toward the bus stop, he noticed that one person was on his way to buy a car he had been saving up for his entire life, and that another was holding a celebration for her one-year-old and was on her way to pick up a cake. Nothing out of the ordinary, just what he expected to see.
He approached the bus stop, and the bus arrived a few seconds later. Oliver saw that the bus driver, an older man in his sixties or seventies with graying hair, appeared depressed. Oliver went onto the bus, desperately trying to make eye contact with this man, curious as to why he appeared gloomy. As if everything had ended. But he didn’t glance at him, or anyplace else for that matter. He kept his head bowed and his eyes fixed ahead of him.
Oliver frowned as he walked onto the bus and took a seat. Maybe this man was having a horrible day; he must be alright. Oliver pondered, attempting to persuade himself.
However, as Oliver walked off the bus, the man was staring at him, so Oliver decided to steal a glance, which he quickly regretted. In compassion, his heart had sank to the floor. He wanted to hug or talk to the man, but before he knew it, he had walked off the bus, and it had drove away, leaving Oliver standing in the middle of the sidewalk, trying not to cry.
Mind you, he had seen every aspect of everyone he had ever made eye contact with’s life. Every heartbreaking moment. Every single fatality. Everyone whose dreams had been dashed. But he’d never seen anything quite like this before.
Anthony was the name of this individual. When he was seven years old, his parents were killed in a fire perpetrated by his uncle, and he had spent eleven years in the severely cruel foster care system, never to be adopted. He moved in with his fiancée, the love of his life, when he was eighteen, and she became his wife two years later. She was his entire world. Scout, a stray dog they had rescued, and his fiance worked together to gradually rehabilitate him from his ordeal. She became pregnant while unknowingly suffering from cancer. She gave birth to the baby but died during the delivery, and it died three weeks later. Scout was hit by a car and killed the next day. Anthony fell into a deep depression and was only saved a few years ago by another dog, a cocker spaniel puppy. Scout was named after his previous dog. Everything was back to normal.
Until Scout died a week ago, the last thing holding him together.
Remember, Oliver was just thirteen years old when he learned about his tragic life tale. He’d never learned something so awful about a person before, and something inside him told him he had to do something about it. He was worried about this individual.
So, instead of going to the library as he had planned, he went to a local pet store. He’d chosen to give the old man a puppy as a gift.
He walked into the shop with purpose. For the first time in his life, he avoided making eye contact with anyone else, partly because he didn’t want to be distracted, but also because he was slightly concerned about what he might learn about these people. So he walked over to the dogs, keeping his head down.
All of the cartons were empty, much to Oliver’s dismay. There were no more dogs. He sighed and was about to go when he decided to ask an employee where else he might be able to get a puppy, because he wasn’t ready to abandon this objective just yet.
“Hello, I was wondering where I could maybe adopt a dog?” He asked an employee nicely, avoiding eye contact because he wasn’t quite ready to do that again.
The worker’s pupils dilated. “Our final dog was just taken to the… er, chambers to be, well, put to death…” She spoke slowly, trying not to disturb Oliver because he was a youngster. “I can go rush to see if she’s, oh, y’know… still adoptable?”
“You mean you haven’t killed it yet?” Oliver replied solemnly.
“Um, yeah.” I’ll investigate.” She went away at a slower pace than Oliver believed was appropriate, given that these few seconds could make the difference between life and death for the dog.
Anxiety made his stomach churn.
Thankfully, the woman returned a few minutes later with a little, fluffy dog. Oliver had never owned a dog before, so he had no idea what breed she was, but she was incredibly cute and Oliver was confident Anthony would adore her.
“How do I address her?” Oliver inquired enquiringly.
“I’m not sure.” I suppose she doesn’t have one. And because she was already on the euthanasia list to be put to death twenty minutes ago, she does not need to be formally adopted, so you can simply take her, we’re closing shortly anyhow.”
Oliver’s eyes widened, but he didn’t complain as he went out of the store holding the puppy.
He knew that if he walked quickly enough, he’d be able to make it to the bus stop in time for the next bus, so he sped up into an uncomfortable sprint—difficult it’s to run with a writhing dog in your arms, no matter how small.
As Oliver approached the bus stop, he considered how he would handle the situation. He couldn’t be too blatant about it, or the man would wonder how Oliver knew he needed a dog. He soon had everything figured out, just as the bus arrived.
When Oliver stepped onboard the bus, it was the same bus driver, Anthony.
Instead of taking a seat, Oliver approached the man and cleared his throat.
Anthony raised his head slowly and grunted, as if asking Oliver what he wanted.
“Please excuse me, sir.” I found this puppy on the side of the road, and my mother would never allow me to keep her; would you mind looking after her?”
Anthony grunted once more. “No. Please take your seat, son. You don’t know who I am.”
Oliver began to panic. This was not going as he had hoped.
“Excuse me, sir. She desperately needs a home. Scout is her name…”
Anthony’s eyes widened as the corners of his mouth twitched upwards.
“You’re a scout, huh?”
He grabbed the dog and gently petted it.
“How about it?” He muttered something.
Oliver waited for him to take the dog, holding his breath.
As the dog licked Anthony’s face, his modest smile had blossomed into a full-fledged grin. When he gazed up at Oliver, Oliver was taken aback by how much had changed.
His vibe had changed from gloomy and broken to hopeful and… joyful.
“I think I’m going to keep her then,” he joked. “Thank you, son. Just wanted to let you know.. I’ve been going through a rough patch. If I’m being honest, this feels like a miracle.”
Oliver bit his inner cheek as he battled back a smile.
“Take careful care of her,” he said as he took his seat.
That felt… nice. Oliver reflected to himself. Oliver recognized that with his… ability to understand people in ways that no one else could, he had the power to make things happen for them that they are not even aware they needed. He frequently performed “miracles” for others. He brought mothers and sons back together. He gave significant sums of money to people in ingenious methods. He delivered children to women who had lost custody of their own children. He unwittingly hooked people up on dates that would shape the rest of their life. It made his daily life more thrilling and cheerful, and it made the individuals who received these miracles even more pleased. What made his day changed the lives of others.