I was standing in the kitchen a couple of months ago when Ella mentioned her blind eye. She said it like I knew. Like I knew that she was blind in one eye the way I know she has red hair and freckles. Your whaaaat? That was my response. And then I kind of let it go, because I thought maybe this was one of her dramatic moments. She has those. Dramatic moments.
And then she said it again several times over the next couple of weeks. And I wondered. I wondered if she was looking for attention…you know…like how she goes to the nurse every week because she is itchy or whatever. But there is that feeling you get…yes, that shadow feeling that you can’t get rid of.
Her eye appointment is next Wednesday.
But she doesn’t squint, I thought. She doesn’t squint, or tilt her head, or close one eye to see better. She never seems to have trouble seeing anything.
And then she said she could see two of me. Okay then. And then she asked me why everything was tilted. Boy she is really good at the drama. But those shadows began to get a lot darker and a lot bigger. Like when the sun begins to set, and the shadows elongate. And the shadows begin to cover the surface of everything until finally there is nothing left of the light patches. Only darkness and shadows.
Then one day I took pictures of her. For fun. For the first time in a long time, I felt like taking pictures. And then I edited them. And when I saw it, I stopped. I think the world flickered off for a moment. Like with electricity, those brief moments when the power goes out, but long enough for all of the clocks to blink…that’s what it felt like.
Something is off. Something is not right with her eyes. I sat there for 15 minutes looking at the picture. And then looking at pictures from last fall. Now. Then. What is different…
Maybe I’m crazy… Maybe I’m just looking for something that isn’t there. The shadows grew longer.
And then last night, she told me again that there were two of me. And I stood there at Will’s basketball practice looking straight into her eyes. In the middle of all those bouncing balls and boys’ sneakers squeaking and the gym spinning, I stood there with the power going out and the clocks blinking mercilessly. Because one of those beautiful blue-green eyes just began to float. It just floated up like a balloon…slowly…slowly… My heart fell one hundred floors.
And I told her to stop.
Don’t do that honey, that’s not good for your eyes, I said. She can’t help it. I know…but just try. I smiled at her and the floating stopped. She smiled back.
This morning I was afraid to look into her eyes.
I was afraid of what I would see.
It wasn’t there this morning.