It’s time to start writing again.
What you See is What you Get
Having had bad eyesight from a very young age, Neil had forgotten the feeling of having to stumble about without his glasses. It was a rather unfortunate accident that caused his spectacles to have shattered too; having just walked outside of his apartment building, a bike courier with sunglasses and a turquoise green helmet collided with Neil head-on. The clash sent the biker to his side and Neil to the ground.
For many seconds, Neil’s mind was blank. Lying flat and parallel to the street, he squinted, blinded by the sun far up above him. The faraway orb kept the rest of the street buildings dark and in silhouettes, and the shadow of a giant, rising up from beside him held out his middle finger for Neil to admire before pedalling off. All had become blurry. Where he knew borders should have existed, there were none. His apartment door and doorframe had no gap between them, and though he knew they ran down straight, one image overlapped over the other so that they zigzagged, creating a lightning dash concoction of door and frame. His fingers, when padding at the shimmering steel doorframe confirmed that his eyes were liars, so Neil began the painful process of sitting up, pushing off of the scorching grey cement while using the ice-cold door on the other side as leverage to pull his chest forwards. Around him parked cars began and ended in two different places. Looking back at his apartment door he saw that the number read as %&, even though he knew the number was 48. His head spun and he touched at his stomach. It was probably marked red. There was the groove of the handlebar’s corner too, imprinted in his midriff. Then he began to search for his glasses.
As any spectacle wearer would know, the biggest difficulty in having bad eyesight is not that one wears glasses, but that one can lose them. It’s not exactly like losing a dollar, or a dime. The accessory becomes a natural part of the body. It’s put on at the same time in the morning when the body’s engine is revving up, taken off when the body is beginning to sleep. Being able to see for the glasses wearer is as natural as any other human being possessing fingers and flexing them to stretch in the morning. Repossessing them after losing them then, is harder than one might think. It would be similar to losing one’s limbs or fingers, all ten of them. He has them in front of him, but without using the palms to hold the fingers together, he have to somehow screw them back in. One could try to use their feet, to screw those fingers in or in Neil’s case, to try to kick the eyewear accidentally. One could bend down to the ground and examine it, but that process is slow. Glasses wearers know one thing that is true no matter who they are. When you lose your glasses, you pray, even if you’ve never been to church once in your life, that a Good Samaritan might walk on by. And Neil’s prayer was answered.
“Hey.” A voice said, coming into Neil’s senses in a streetward direction. Neil spun towards it. “Lost your glasses?”
He nodded. He could barely make out the blurred line of a face emerging from out of a hole, from what he supposed would be a window.
“Yeah”, he replied, stumbling towards the non-face with a grey line to mark out ears. “Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me yet. They’re over here.”
The man’s voice, not young but not cracked with age seemed to be filled with pity. He wondered why. As he got closer towards the car and traced the man’s outstretched hand, from the window he saw why.
Even without most of his vision he could tell that one of the arms of his glasses was skewed in the wrong direction. The other was missing. A moment of panic rushed into Neil’s mind.
I can deal with this, he thought to himself. It’s actually no problem at all, because I’ll just hold the glasses up to my face when I go to get them repaired.
“Sorry”, said the man, as he began to drive off.
It was then when Neil’s hopes were undone. The ground tinkled and the car’s shadow left the black cement bare. The black cement sparkled with crystal sweat drops, and Neil knew then that his lens were shattered. A trip to the optometrist.
I guess I’ll just have to get a spare.
So… this story kind of has a continuation and an ending, but I’m actually 100% sure that I don’t want to write it. It’s really irresponsible for me to be doing this, but as you might have been able to tell, the writing’s getting a little bit overdramatic for the ‘value’ of not being able to see, almost making it put this Neil character into tears about it. At this point, the story’s lost all of it’s realism, and to be honest, if there is any message that I want to convey, it’ll be a little over the top and at least another three thousand words of a story that I don’t want to write.
The original idea was to make Neil somehow visualize things differently after he replaced his glasses with three spares – one for sports (as his parents had always requested of him), one for studying (as his sports glasses always get bent out of shape) and sunglasses, which change his point of view when under the sun. I want him to see things so differently (as each glasses represent a different activity) for him to the point that it’s almost entering different worlds, of course with the hidden two ‘states’ of ‘glasses off’ and ‘eyes closed’ states being separate planes on their own.
I would explore the different ways that people act when Neil can’t see their mouths moving or how he would see a landscape differently with the sun’s glory facing him full on or also with the sun hidden away (it’s really different, I tried it recently on my trip to Copenhagen).
That being said, the story doesn’t interest me that much, and I apologise for if you found it interesting to start with. My only goal in writing this was to hit 1,000 words (like my friend is doing on his blog 1kormore.wordpress.com) and just get back into the writing game.
I also feel that this piece has value beyond the ‘getting back into it’ feeling that I have tried to attain. I wrote the opening of this while reading the opening to ‘The Dead’ by James Joyce. It reminded me of why I wanted to write in the first place, to be able to convey not only emotion and thoughts, but also to create life in my piece, something that I’ve been missing in my opening chapters of my novels (which I’ll return to as a result of writing this).
There was value in writing this. I’m glad, and hope you are for me too.