Mag was born blind. For that, she had no idea what she looked like. People were more than happy to fill her in, however. Through the ages, she heard that she looked ugly, dumb, weird, scary, unnatural, awkward, slow, babyish, and more. In short: she looked bad and wrong. Mag had long since resigned herself to this treatment, but there was one thing she really did care about. What did her eyes look like? For a girl born blind, did her eyes look different? Or was the issue somewhere else? One day, Mag dared ask one of the men who visited her the orphanage she lived in. She knew she'd never be adopted, but she didn't care at this point. She just wanted to ask somebody what her eyes looked like.
"They're glazed!" the man cried. "I think they're blue but the white film makes it hard to tell. They look so ugly and weird!" he said. Mag didn't even flinch at these cruel words because she was so used to hearing them, but what the man said next did give her pause. "Whenever you look at things, or try to, your eyes still look so distant. They don't focus in on anything. You look like you're seeing something else entirely!"
"What do you mean?" the 5-year-old pleaded, unseeing eyes still looking up to the man.
"I mean, it looks like you're not really all there! Your eyes… They move but they don't see."
"I'm blind," Mag reminded the man, crossing her little arms as just a hint of anger entered her voice. The man quickly tried to amend his statement.
"I mean, I mean, even though you have eyes, they don't focus! They look lost and distant. It just looks like you're seeing something we aren't, like you're looking into another world entirely. It's inhuman!"
Following that little spiel, the man had practically run from the orphanage without another look back. Mag, meanwhile, was lost in thought. Seeing another world? As far as Mag knew, she couldn't see anything, period. But apparently the way her eyes moved made it look like she was seeing something the rest of the world wasn't. It was a strange idea but it stuck with Mag all throughout her youth. Was she seeing something that wasn't there? She didn't think so, but still… And what did that man mean when he called her inhuman? Sure, she was blind, but she was still made of flesh and blood, right?
"Of course!" Marni answered. Mag had met her a month ago at high school and she was desperate to make good with her. If this went over well, this woman would be Mag's first friend. For that, Mag wanted to get some crucial questions out of the way. She had just finished asking that even though her eyes were weird, was she still human? This question had snuck from the back of her mind from about a decade in which some man had told her that her unseeing eyes made her look a little less than human.
"My gaze," Mag asked next, hardly daring to hope. "What does it look like?" she hoped she didn't sound too desperate, but Marni was the first person to ever agree with Mag that she was still human, despite her disability and her inability to fix it.
"It looks normal," Marni answered causally.
"What do you mean?" Mag pleaded.
"I mean, even though it looks different from everybody else's, it suits you and it feels like even though you can't see, you still do anyway. I can see emotion behind your eyes even if you can't," Marni answered. "Besides, it's you. It wouldn't look right if your gaze looked any different, you know?"
Marni continued to try and explain why she found Mag's gaze to be fine the way it was, but Mag began to drift off, relief setting in. She exhaled to herself. She looked human. She looked real. She was able to look normal without being normal. Or, at least, she was normal enough for Marni. If she was normal enough for Marni, that was good enough for her.
Years later, however, that question returned. Marni had since passed away and Mag was left with working eyes and an empty heart. She was also slave to the man who gave her those eyes. He had come to her as an angel but revealed himself to be a demon. It was too late by then, however, for Mag to escape him. Instead, she was forced to suffer in silence and feel herself grow emptier and emptier every day. Then, one particular night, she finally looked into a mirror. Oh, she saw her reflection about 100 times a day, yet it was only ever in passing and she was never really looking at herself in a truly reflective sense. Instead, every time she glanced in a mirror, it was only to make sure her exterior was ok. This was the first time Mag had actually take the time and effort to sit down and really contemplate the face, and the eyes, in the mirror. Ugh! Her new eyes were freakier than they used to be, it seemed. Slowly, then that man's words came back to her.
"They don't look real! You don't look real!" he had said.
"They really don't," Mag agreed softly as she inspected those strange intruders. They looked normal from afar but, up close, they were anything but. In all honesty, if one were to compare a real eye to the one in Mag's socket, the differences would be many. The robotic eyes Mag had were actually very poor replicas of a true eye. It was bothering Mag now quite a lot. She hadn't gone through this surgery just to look like a freak, after all. And like the man and so many others had said, the gaze that these robotic eyes had didn't look real. Even though they functioned, they still didn't ever look focused. They always looked like they were staring off at something else, something distant, something that everyone else with normal eyes wasn't seeing. That strange, far-off gaze had not left the singer.
It looked like she wasn't even there anymore. It really did look like she was on some other plane of existence entirely, just like that man had said. Mag hadn't understood it that well back then, but she was starting to now. Every blind kid Mag had ever seen in her life, which was quite a lot ever since she became GeneCo's poster-child for Cornea Plus, had the same hollow stare. Now, Mag had come to realize she still had that look, even with working eyes.
"But it's because they aren't real," Mag whispered, running a finger over her eyelids. It was true. These things in her head were just hunks of metal wrapped in fiber-plastic. They weren't real flesh and blood. "And they do look soulless and empty. Am I even real?"
No, she wasn't. She was real in that she was a physical being, but everything she stood for was a lie. Her new life was an act. Acts weren't real. Her gaze was empty because her eyes were wrong. They had always been wrong. Mag sighed bitterly. Why couldn't she taste normality for once? Instead, she shook her dark curls and turned away from this intense inspection. She had to admit that going so deep scared her a bit and she wanted to forget how terribly sad, empty, soulless, and distant her gaze looked. At least, for a little while.
AN: Once again, another philosophical drabble based on a headcanon about Mag's eyes. This time, it's the idea that even after Mag gets new eyes, they still don't act the way real eyes do and she retains that blank expression that she used to have when she was blind.