Through Her Eyes

I grew up hearing the adults around me speak about her with disparaging words. I never heard the entire story, it was always spoken in hushed tones and I was not good at eavesdropping. I gleaned that she had said something offensive to an adult, and for that she was never forgiven. I never knew what prompted her response since the story always started at the same place – her response and the hell that broke loose thereafter.
I recently had the opportunity to meet her face to face, I felt excited. Meeting her was not on my bucket list, but I was curious to finally meet the ogress that the adults spoke about. I could see for myself what she was like, I could meet her without the noise that accompanied her name, without the judgement of others and not having to answer to anyone about spending time with her.
When I met her she greeted me warmly. She was open, funny and she had interesting stories. Neither of us spoke about the past, it was not my business and she did not associate me with the adults and their behavior.
When we finished our meeting she hugged me and we promised to hook up again.
I reflected on the number of times that I looked at this woman through the eyes of others, and I was grateful that as an adult I could see her through my own eyes. All the stories that I overheard were not mine, and they were irrelevant to my experience of the world. Sometimes people are stuck in the past, they remain with an event and base a person’s character on that one incident.Character is determined by more than one moment, more than one episode, more than one encounter. An event may speak to character but is it enough to evaluate character?
Whose eyes are you experiencing others through?

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