Alden Boon

The Woes of Being Born with a Set of Small Eyes


Where are your eyes?” my friends would chuckle whenever they saw photos of me smiling. What should have been two oval shapes on a face were just two flattened lines, so that it seemed like I had four sets of eyebrows.

Many people also make a gargantuan deal out of the fact that I have double eyelids, as if it was so impossible for such a small canvas to accommodate an eyeball and a thin crease. I did not realise just how much these unsolicited comments scarred me until much later in life. Listening to songs such as “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “Eye of the Tiger” always triggered my childhood and teen trauma. As a writer, I could never bring myself to use the phrase “apple of the eye” to describe a popular character.

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then my soul is always shut. That is why I am still single, an enigma. When I roll my eyes, I have to roll my entire head so the antagonist knows my displeasure. My small eyes are the reason why no one has ever used the term “eye candy” on me (this really damaged my self-esteem). I end up wasting an entire bottle of eye drop whenever my eyes are red and sore — getting just a gout or two into the eye requires a level of precision and dexterity, much like threading a needle. I too long to go on eye-opening experiences with my friends, but they sound so painful.

And for those who say I choose to live with small eyes and let my limitations dictate my life, I’ve tried everything. I’ve done exercises — deliberately widening my eyes for five seconds, but I end up with a headache every single time. I’ve tried makeup but it is too much work for very disappointing results, and I can never find brushes whose sizes are appropriate for the canvas.

That is not to say I’ve always led a disadvantaged life. When playing hide and seek with toddlers, I always emerge the champion. I need only to squint my eyes a little, and my opponents think I’ve shut my eyes completely. So, I can spy on them as they scurry to find their secret hiding places as I count down. I’m ashamed of this, and nobody, not even the adults know that I cheat, and now that the cat’s out of the bag I hope you can turn a blind eye to it — I have so little in my life.

With technology advancing so quickly, I am worried that iris recognition would become a security technology that permeates every aspect of life. If I were to write a Black-Mirror episode, iris recognition would be the doomsday device I write about. Did you know that I could not get my Samsung Note 3’s smart scrolling, which supposedly tracked the movement of the user’s eyes as they moved down the screen, to work? I fear I would be left behind, become the laughed-at caveman who has to punch in his pin when accessing his smartphone or entering his home.


Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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