This novel is based on a true story. I should know; the two main characters are near and dear to me; they are speaking about life's benchmarks!
Being summertime, it felt as if the sun constantly shined. Due to the intense heat and surrounding bodies of water, humidity overflowed every crevice and corner it touched with vaporous warmth. By the afternoon, homes converted into saunas especially the dwellings without air conditioners, which in the late 1950s and early 1960 meant most houses felt the sun’s influence on their environment.
This situation self-corrected because, every afternoon, tropical storms invaded the peace of our neighborhood. These thunderous events full of lightning highlighted the glistening streams forming puddles as the buckets of water poured off rooftops. Those emerging tributaries changed to steam followed by misty figures dancing upward blurring the lowest point on the horizon.
Before tropical, weather disturbances; on summer mornings; everywhere; children made melodic sounds of play. Sometimes, if you listened closely, you could hear the voices of my parents or siblings chanting, “Car! Car! Spelt C-A-R!” This was done for my benefit; it allowed me to play in the yard without misjudging my safety near the roadside.
As a child, my whole world looked similar to the scenery after a summer thunderstorm. Being born legally blind, with an inability to clearly focus, one eye alternated from foggy and shadowy to near vision; psychedelic best describes its point of view. Meanwhile, my lazy eye caused me to misplace objects due to my total lack of depth perception. Commonly, my feet tripped on non-existent items bruising body parts as I skewed through door jams or tumbled over furniture as well as toys. My eyes could determine that shadowy objects existed but failed to pick up details and nuisances when working or not functioning as a team.
One day, while playing hide and seek, my abilities challenged me. It was my turn to count to one hundred then go search for my siblings and friends. My parents sat quietly observing as my head remained under my arms and against a nearby tree. After more than one hundred seconds, my father approached because he noticed my chest heaving in a rhythm.
“Honey, it has been long enough to go find the other children. What is wrong?” My father approached.
Water poured from my cheeks like rain off the rooftops while turning around; my mouth produced garbled words. “I want to play fair but I don’t know how to count high enough!”
He sent me off to search for the kids after assuring me that he trusted my integrity. When I found their secret places too soon after my turn began, my sister bellowed, “You cheater! You cheater!” My soul instantly knew that being called that name was bad! I raced away banging into a power pole before hitting the ground resuming my tears for a different reason. Next, she called me a cry baby, which added to the abyss between us forming early in life.
That night, our house was hot. Mom opted to open the jalousie windows allowing the sea breeze to infiltrate. With a bit of coaxing from our fans, a gentle breeze flowed. Long after sunset, my body argued with my pillow in search of peace. My psyche spent many restless nights begging for the ocean wafts to lull me into slumber. If that didn’t work, I’d daydream at night about nicer places and happier faces. At a young age, my fantasy began as a coping mechanism against my realities.
The next morning, I awoke to my mother packing a suitcase. “A vacation?” My thoughts whispered. The very thought excited me with private whimsy. After standing in the hall a few moments, while writing an adventure in my mind, my mother interrupted my happiness, “The doctors think they can help you see better, Hope. You’re headed to the hospital.”
I raced into her arms as fear gripped my soul. “Will I have to stay there alone, mommy?”
Entering the room, my father answered my fears, “We got special permission so that I can stay with you, there.”
Just as my nerves calmed, my mother told me the full procedure so that my mind could adjust to the idea. “He won’t be able to be in the operating room but daddy will spend the rest of the time with you.”
“I will be at the hospital as much as possible but have to take care of your sister and younger brother.”
My chest heaved reminiscent of my day at the tree. “I want you, mommy!”
“Don’t worry, baby! I will be there as much as possible especially after you wake up from your operation!”
“What are they going to do to me, mommy?”
“They will fix your eyes. When you wake up from your operation, it will be dark.”
“No, dim because there will be bandages on your eyes,” She explained.
“I can see, already! Why are they going to make it dark so my eyes can’t see?”
“You don’t have the same vision that a normal person has, dear!” My father interjected.
What escaped me? What did they mean? I thought everyone saw things through a swirling blur.
To be continued ...
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