Friday, December 31, 2010

Second Sight

I knew that my sight was not as sharp as it had been, but I put off going to the doctor for about a year. Finally a month ago I had that long dreaded appointment. The doctor confirmed that I was nearsighted and needed glasses, I had been expecting to need reading glasses as well, so her verdict was slightly more positive than I'd allowed for. I was feeling okay. Then she put drops in my eyes to dilate the irises and told me to go look at frames while the drops took effect.

And there I stood, facing walls and walls of glasses. Panic set in. I randomly put a pair on my face. All I could see was a face with glasses, I didn’t even register how the glasses looked. I picked another pair. With each pair I got more freaked out. This was going to be a permanent part of my life now. When a shop assistant came over I told her I didn’t know what I wanted and I wasn’t going to buy glasses today anyways.

Maybe I didn’t really need glasses? The doctor said I would only really have to wear them when I drove, and I don’t have a car. I was functioning fine without glasses. Maybe I could get away without them for another year. How bad was my sight anyways?

I gave in and ordered a cheap pair online.

On Wednesday my first pair of glasses arrived in the mail. We were on our way to my parents house for a delayed Christmas dinner. I unwrapped them in the car and put them on. I had been told that I would really see the difference when I looked at trees. And there it was, instead of seeing a tree as a collection of branches, I could see every twig, every twist of bark and layer of snow, slight and thick. And not just with the trees closest to me, but all of them, everything I looked at was minutely detailed, as if I were looking at an exquisite engraving or a finely detailed miniature.

“Are you going to be okay?” Andrew asked.

“Probably. But this is really freaking me out.”

I couldn’t stop staring at everything. We drove over the bridge and the guardrail, a grid of steel bars was lit up by a streetlight which threw square shadows and was lined with glistening white snow all of which stretched into the distance, swelling in its approach.

“I can’t believe that I haven’t been seeing all of this. What else have I been missing?”

I look like a different person and feel like a different person, but that detail is addictive and the act of putting on glasses, of making one simple movement which instantly brings the world into clarity, is stunning.

1 comment:

  1. I got glasses in fourth grade. I was upset about it, but one thing that stands out is my mother telling me that she couldn’t stop thinking about all the hikes we’d taken as a family and how I couldn’t possibly have enjoyed all those amazing views. I stubbornly told her she was wrong: that maybe what I saw was even more beautiful than what the rest of them saw. I could now see what she could see—and yes, those details struck me with force, and it was hard to realize all I’d been missing—but my mom could never see what I had seen, and at the time, this gave me a little bit of comfort.
    Great post!