The Eyes Have It

My eyes have become a metaphor, shorthand for all the choices that I’ve made or maybe, for the burdens which I bear.  They replace my ears (going deaf, choosing not to spend $12,000 on the digital hearing aides recommended for my particular situation), my knee (that pesky old-school metal knee needs major surgery to repair or replace), and my teeth (crooked and broken).  Never let it be said that  irony escapes me.

A few weeks ago, I walked among unsuspecting Californians in Berkeley, headed for Pegasus.  I don’t carry a cane despite that wobbly knee and shaky legs.  A cane complicates matters.  Already struggling with the disconnect between my brain and my limbs, I fall into further confusion when I add that lifeless stick.  A cane gives me something on which to lean if I pause, but so does a building, or a bike rack, or a parking meter.

People skirted around me on the sidewalk as I navigated from the restaurant at which I’d had breakfast with Kimberley Kellogg.  I was headed to indulge one of my unbridled passions — used books.  Suddenly I realized that a woman had spoken to me.  Her contorted face suggested that I didn’t respond as quickly as she expected.  I squinted, adjusting my glasses which have slipped down my nose.  She muttered and moved around me.  I waited to see what might develop but she was gone, crossing, her hunched shoulders serving as a lingering tribute to her displeasure.

I had my eyes back in focus so I continued walking, holding  my glasses, dodging the people who came toward me.  In the bookstore, I asked for a restroom and learned that they had stopped providing one for customers.  The clerk studied me.  He saw a middle-aged woman holding the blue frames of her spectacles, sporting a turquoise crossbody hand-bag, encased in a sweater and a jean jacket.  He made a decision, sensing both my harmlessness and my desperation.  He handed me a key and gestured.

In the employee bathroom, washing my hands, I studied my face in the mirror over the metal sink.  I saw the cattywumpus glasses, the worry lines, the greying roots, all slightly blurred.  Time for the six-month eye exam, I sighed to myself.  But what kind of specialist was it, again?  What did the last guy say that  I must  I find in this strange land? And can I afford the thousand-dollar outlay?  I shook my head.  Story of my life, I thought.  Just one more thing for which I need to school myself not to complain.

A few weeks later, in court at Clay County, I ran into Mike Hanna.  “Judge,” I called, as he walked towards me led by his attendant.  “Corinne Corley,” he replied, holding out his hand.  I grasped it and told him he looked good.  “Nice to see you,” he told me, though his eyes have been sightless for many years.   “You too,” I said, and turned away, looking toward the front of the courtroom, suddenly feeling a little ashamed without quite knowing why.

It’s the twenty-first day of the fifty-third month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”― Helen Keller

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