since i have been very little, i have been plagued by the evil eye. a little slip of the foot, a sudden bout of fever, a stomach bug, and my grandmother would solemnly announce: “it is the evil eye”. she separates people in evil eye giver and receiver and i was classified in the receiver end, since my eyes are not a light color (beware especially of the many colored ones), there is no envy in my heart, and i am basically of the round persuasion, not the angular kind. you can tell evil eye people by the way glass bursts and cannaries die after they leave your house, or by the way you miss a step if somebody compliments your shoes, or when somebody compliments something else of yours and it breaks as soon as they leave.
my grandmother is most knowledgeable of such things, and she’s always been my angel protector, threatening to make holes on my father’s new shoes, chanting strange stuff on my head while hitting me with dry sage branches, or declaring “eyes in the butt, eyes in the butt” every time somebody had the temerity to declare what a beautiful child i was. because i would get sick not ten minutes later.
i was a very beautiful child though, what with curly blond hair and chubby cheeks, kissed and pinched by all neighbors, acquaintances and strangers in the street. my uncles used to take me with them, so they could show their sensitive side and what beautiful children they’d be the fathers of, and how the chicks responded! lucky dogs never even paid me back. i have a feeling that if i go strolling with my uncles down the promenade, i will not attract hunks but leery glances of people thinking: “my my, not one but two sugar daddies!”
but i digress. i am not so beautiful today. i have been evil-eyed again. the strange cramp in my belly is telling me this. the fact that i can only spend two minutes outside of the white tile bathroom only enforces my doubt. because i cannot explain otherwise why on Friday i was the most beautiful and alluring creature on earth, knocking back beer and charming waiters, and today i am whimpering over the toilet bowl. i knew it was going to happen too. i could feel the lurch of my stomach, as soon as the old leech in front of me patted my hand and told me what a pity i was still single.
this is one more person in the long string of characters i have to shmooze for my job, the nice grandfatherly type who checks for your bra when patting you on the back, but who nevertheless is very helpful and full of necessary information. his eyes are a nondescript foggy color, and i can feel that they leer too much. my stomach is cramping from their look. i make my escape as soon as i can, my notebook full of necessary information, and my gait stumbling under the evil eye influence. shoot, i have to buy some garlic.
Friday night, i go out. dressed, pressed, combed, teased and made up, there is nobody who can resist looking my way. and yes, the evil eye hits me again. ah why did i dare fix everything? when i was getting ready, i should have worn my old bra or my torn underwear. or maybe, left the deodorant unused. i never ever dared to complete myself because i knew what would happen. now i am perfect and the evil eye has me. it comes through the envious look of the hostes for my dangling earrings, gets into my ear canal, crackles my hair, scorches my throat, scratches my lungs and cramps my belly. ay ay ai, i have to go to the bathroom.
from that moment on, it has been a race to the nearest bathroom, a tussle with my bed, and another accusation from my sister when i had to abandon her latest mother-in-law craziness story, for the gurgling of the toilet water. i go through saturday stumbling, and stale smelling, wishing for my grandmother’s sage and salt enchantment. ah, the evil eye again!