It’s been a while but I have my writing completed on the second part of the blog challenge. This time it was a bit more personal.
“Prompt #2: Make a list of five things you’re afraid of happening to you. Then write a story in which one of them happens to your character.”
Five fears prompt
- Going blind
- Being Homeless
- Degenerative or fatal illness
- Losing my wife
These are my greatest fears. I of course have others, but these are the things which worry me the most. I see that I have chosen the particular fear of my wife dying, rather than saying a family member, and I suppose that while I would not enjoy losing other family members that losing her in particular would have the largest impact on my daily life and create the most uncertainty and sadness.
That said, I knew from the start which fear I would pick. I will write a story about a character going blind. I think that perhaps I will use a character that exists in a my story already, but I am not sure that I will have this particular event befall the character in the actual narrative I am working on outside this exercise.
Prompt Response Text Below
I didn’t notice the textures before. They were there, but now they are everything.
My blue polo shirt that has the floppy collar is softer than the other one that is slate blue. It has small bumps and whorls. Is that what they are called? I’m not sure but I pay more attention to those things now.
Shopping was never that fun for me, but today I have to get fitted for a suit. All I have to do is stand there. They will ask me what size I think I am, but there will be tape and being told to raise my arms, stand still. I will have to stay calm when they walk up behind me. I know there is a name for that sense, the feeling of somebody behind you. I can’t remember what it is. I don’t want to go through the hassle right now. I’m still figuring out this new phone.
I am on top of every podcast though, and have even found time for a few more. I just let it play all day now. I know I still have to worry about my ears, but the voices keep me company. I don’t wear headphones all the time anymore though. I’ve also started to use the speaker to sort out how far I am from the room. I was never all that good with maps, but I can get around in the dark pretty well now.
“I’ll still be able to hear your voice,” I tell her. She is sad. I’m trying not to cry. I make a joke about enjoying building my new sense of her. I already know her touch, warmth, the smell of her hair, the texture of her skin. I almost start sobbing when I think about never seeing her eyes again, looking at me in that way where they seem so big and like the paint is still wet, like the love is newly put in place.
And how will I know what she is feeling? I listen to her words, yes, but I won’t be able to see the tension in her hand, the way she scrunches her nose to hold in the wince when her back hurts and she needs an ice pack. I’ll have to ask her to be louder about her pain.
I always dreaded this, the day it might all become too fuzzy, but I didn’t think that I would have it scheduled. Cancer leads to strange decisions. My appointment to become completely blind is tomorrow. And I’m strangely thrilled. I don’t want it to happen, but how will the world of sound and touch, the world of scents and texture compare to all the colors and lights? How will life be when I never see a word again except in memory?
Life will go on, and all the books I have been meaning to read will fade away, and be replaced with books I will hear. And I may still scribble words down, but I will never see them again. But I always was a chatterbox. Maybe I will finally get that podcast off the ground, write those songs.
But will I ever get this internal editor to shut up? I’m writing this without my glasses, with the colors inverted on the screen, one last hurrah of me seeing this world as only my body allowed me to see it, and I still have the urge to look up small things, unimportant things for this diary entry. Should my own feelings be well researched? Or should I just feel them, touch them, hear them, and stop trying to see them already explained for me?
Life is a quest, I’m still on it no matter what difficulties lie ahead I want to see this through to the unknown ending. Suddenly I’m reminded of all the people I cannot see, even if my vision were to last forever. Those who left too soon, those who had more time than they ever dreamed of. Did I ask them what they saw? Did I ever see the world through their eyes? Maybe I should have listened more, talked a bit less. Checked in.
I’m as ready as I will ever be to listen, and I know I will get frustrated in the future, but I am done mourning the man I could have been, the man I could be, and I am looking forward to meeting the man I will become.
This story started as an abstraction, a character picking out a suit, a character who was soon to go blind. But if you know me well, you understand why this is a personal fear of mine. I did actually write this without glasses on, and with white letters on a black screen. The short story is my eyes are somewhat broken (amblyopia in one; some scarring and highly irregular astigmatism in the other, the result of a nasty laceration, cataract, healing, stitches), but they see well enough to let me read, write and get through the day ok.
So the story became less abstract and more my own thoughts about eventually going blind. To be clear, I have no cancer, my fears are simply not knowing how aging will affect my already impaired vision. Also it made me think of how, impaired or not, we all have our own unique vision. In my particular case, despite it often being a nuisance I am occasionally struck by the beauty, the haloes, the scattering whirls of light that I see because of my injury. I would never say I am glad for it, but it is interesting to see things in a different way and ponder how people physically and metaphorically see the world differently.