Archive | December, 2014

The Blind Will Lead Themselves

3 Dec

chrt I had the eye chart almost memorized when the Doctor slipped his white-coated slim body into the examination room.  Damn it.  I only needed another minute to memorize that 4th line, too late now.  I quickly stepped back from the chart.  Here he comes. I sucked my teeth, smiled, and opened my mouth with no idea what noise would escape me: “Well Doc, I’m back – as you asked.”  Big stutter on “bbback.”  He looked at me with the perfect vision of his clear ice-cold gray eyes. “Of course you are, Catherine.  I know that you’re smart enough to know how serious this is.” No I’m not. “When we’re done here, I want to show you something.”  A fake smile. Oh great, more catalogues with ugly frames for glasses.  I shook my head slowly and looked at my feet, noticing the wet leaf on my shoe.  I bent down to pull it off. “How was your bus ride here?”  He sounded like he thought he was talking to a 5-year old.  Perhaps he was. I coughed.  “It wasn’t much different from the thousands of other times I’ve had to sit next to beer-soaked babies with cell phones glued to their heads.”  I smiled to myself at how witty and smartly sarcastic I sounded, definitely not my usual polite garbage, and I hoped it surprised him, shocked him a bit.  Nothing. Dr. Eison didn’t really care about the long bus trip I have to take to see him.  Dr. Eison didn’t ride buses.  Dr. Eison was a very self-possessed man.  He glanced down at the wet leaf I left on the rug.  I pretended not to see that I saw that.  In my head I was frantically repeating “F O C H R E J l m s p w…” “Stand up, we’ll begin now.”  He covered my left eye with a giant black plastic lollipop.  Standing off to my left, he smelled like pay-day money. “Alright, begin please.” I was ready.  “F O C H R E J l m …uh, m…b – no wait, s p w v a x…ah, okay  I just need to, wait…okay it’s a e g – is that a 4? a e g…” I felt a thin sheen of sweat pop out on my forehead.  Damn why doesn’t he move away from me I can’t concentrate!!  “It’s F O C H R E J 1? No, it’s Ell I know it’s an Ell, then m s…please can I start over?” He held the lollipop close and tight over my eye.  “Yes, start over please.” You can do it, Cath.  ” F O C H R E J l ..uh, abcdefg…o dear”  I started to laugh, hoping he’d think I was being playful, making a joke.  I had a brain fart, my mind was blank.  I kept pushing for what the hell came after “fucker.”  That of course, was F O C H R E.  For me, memorization was all a matter of association.   The line next I knew had something to do with a reject, didn’t it?  My plan to memorize the whole eye chart was starting to feel as insane to me as it should’ve when I thought it up on the bus. “Just a moment.”  He took his lollipop off my eye.  I told myself I could see a lot better now, and started rattling off letters of no consequence in a low whisper.  Didn’t my father tell us insanity ran in the family?  The maternal side of course. In that one moment, with Dr. Eison doing some Doctor-thing on the overly clean white counter, I felt as I did on our first visit when I heard it for the first time:  “Glaucoma”. I swore it couldn’t be my eyes, I promised myself I’d prove I was not going blind.  If only to this Doctor, I’d make a case for almost perfect vision.  Somehow.  Now it was falling apart at my feet. Speaking of which, my legs were shaking. “Look Doctor, I….” “Just a moment, Catherine!.”  The cocky bastard.  I suddenly decided he was wearing contacts.  He wasn’t perfect after all, the vain, snobby gray-eyed iceberg.  Cold, light-gray eyes, where had I seen such eyes before?  I hadn’t. He turned too quickly and faced me.  What the hell…? “Look dear Catherine, I have neither the time nor inclination to play games here, or be disingenuous with you.  Unless you cooperate fully you’ll suffer consequences for a very long time.  Now here, take this prescription to Broad and Market, go to Clear Eyes and let them prepare your glasses.  They will call my office here once you’re done, and in the meantime I do hope you treat your eyes more seriously.” He handed me a slip of blue paper. I should’ve known I couldn’t fool a pro.  Time to look penitent, humble and if I could muster it, grateful.  Damn I hate being the person I had to become. “Yes, yes I’ll do that and just let me say I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the test properly, I don’t know what happened it just looked so…”  Oh shit he wasn’t buying it. Frowning now he looked menacing.  “You know what went wrong.  You tried to memorize the chart and you failed.”  Oh you cocky bastard, burn in hell you piece of crap. “Yes, well…yes.”  I looked at the rug.  Where’s that leaf?  “It’s just that…well you understand.”  Was I crazy?  This shark couldn’t understand anything unless it was wrapped in vanity and tied with a bow of superiority. I reached for my jacket.  “Time to go  I guess.  Well…thanks Doctor.” “You’re welcome, now would you like to look at those frames now?”  Somebody kill me please somebody just shoot me – now! “Ah, no I’ve got a long bus ride back and it’s still raining so…so I guess I’m off.” He was already walking through the open door.  His back uttered “Bye now.” It was over.  The farce that didn’t work was over.  I stood there for a few long seconds, staring down to see where that leaf went.  Ah, there it is.  Bending down to pick it up, I realized I was trying not to leave any trace of my presence behind. Outside in the rain, I watched the tiny torn pieces of light blue prescription paper flow down the river of water in the gutter toward the storm drain. The rain felt like holy water on my face.  I closed my eyes and smiled.