by dante gonzales

Fuzzy were the images before him. Their unrecognizable shapes and faces were grotesque, their identities covered up by his failing eyes' natural mosaic. He slipped the glasses back on and their faces came back into focus. The strain or happiness present on their picturesque faces. It was as if a photographer had twisted the adjuster perfectly, so that he could see every detail and imperfection on the weary travelers of life.

He didn't like it, and took the glasses off, returning him to his foggy world of undefinables. From his view, he could not distinguish anyone, and therefore could not see their eyes judging him. Looking at his appearance. He could simply just go through his life, happily and involuntarily blind from the rest of the world, and he unto them.

Closing his book, he placed the eyeglasses in their case. He then stood up, and began his walk in this new universe of anonymity. A ghostly figure passed him. Not being able to define or describe, he simply continued on his walk, content with the fact that he remained undistracted and more importantly, unconcerned with what people thought.

Occasionally a friend or acquaintance would grab his attention, but this he did not mind, as eve if he had seen them first, he would not be the one to initiate conversation, let alone say hello.

He loved this new life. Words and signs were unrecognizable to him. Passing cars appeared as moving blobs on the grey fuzz that was the street. People were not people any longer, but instead were stick men, waiting for details of their lives, an appearance, even thoughts and notions, to be fabricated and endowed upon them by an invisible artist. They still ignored him and went about their way, sloshing down the street, the sound of their stick legs clicking on the blurry ground.

This new method of coping stuck with him for weeks. The only time that he would have to rely on his glasses was during classes, when he had to see the board to take notes. When he did don the spectacles once again, he was repulsed by the extreme detail of his surroundings. The colors that were usually blurred, opaque and amalgamating with one another were now so sharp and defined that it seemed as if a razor blade was being ran across his eyes, defining, creating lines, and separating everything into categories. No longer were the blurred and frayed edges of things mixed, as if paint or ink had been thrown violently upon a blank pallet. They were now so crisp and definite in their design, it seemed as if he were looking through an invisible scope, where clear cut, accurate shapes and figures were burned upon his retinas.

The definitions of his pupils around him were equally as disturbing. Oily skin dripped and glared in the artificial glow of the lights in the classroom. Pimples, scratches, sores, throbbed with diminishing restraint from the pressure being built up under their infected bases. Teeth, yellow and packed with copious amounts of white plaque gleamed and pervaded his vision in their haven of open mouths. Clogged sinuses issued forth dripping, germ-infested mucus that seeped from noses plagued with a cold, an effect in the shift of the fall weather. He looked down at his notes, which was all that he could do for the rest of the class to prevent his lunch from revealing itself in the perfect, high definition quality that the lenses provided him.

He would gladly snatch off the frames from his face right before the end of class, returning them to their case with their soft, velvety cleaning rag. Immediately upon doing so, he would return back to his blissful, misty world where fogginess reclaimed his sight, a place where walk and wander, alone, throughout the streets filled with ghosts.

Nights too were a spectacle. It was even darker at night, making any light, bright or dull, explode in contrast against the dark, ebony ambiguity of the shadows. Indeed, this life was like walking around in a picture drawn and colored by a 5 year old. One who could not even comprehend the thought of coloring within the lines. Even though it was not a work of art, it was still, innocently beautiful, just as walking into a painting splashed with fluorescent, indefinable paints and colors. His attention danced around wildly from image to image, his eyes straining to delineate the edges, shapes and contours, but remaining unable to do so. They were frustrated. Like a disease their ability, their only job for this factory that was the young man, was deteriorating, failing him in a natural sense. If only they had known that their owner no longer cared.

Until that day. When the mystery, the enigma, presented itself to him during his class. While he was wearing his glasses, bringing himself back into the world of disgusting, putrid clarity, they walked in. He had never noticed them before, and wondered why he hadn't. But there they were, these two beings. Nothing special, individually about these two. They were, to be clear, human by all means. They dressed regularly, they spoke just as people his age would speak, they were not even attractive people by standards. But they did not disgust him. He was perplexed. They were not like the others, the silent, lonely others, who made no spontaneous movements, who didn't talk, who didn't' laugh. These two reminded him like two happy Disney animals, laughing, goading, happy, loving. That is what it was. This shared happiness suddenly radiated like the rising sun, lighting everything around it, bringing extreme color into his world of focus, which originally resounded with black and white.

He became fascinated with this emotion that they shared, this mutual bond between them that no one else knew or cared about. Except him. It was at this point that he wanted to keep his glasses, on, wanted to see. This, brave, beautiful sight. One that instilled in him a familiar feeling that he longed for, simply hoping that one day he would have possession.

Leaving the class that day, he didn't notice that his glasses remained on his face. Their lenses refracting the suns light against his eyes didn't even seem to bother him. For now, that familiar feeling, the one that had filled his heart in the past, was again burning his way through him, simply by his observation. "It's nice to remember," he thought to himself. Refreshed, at least temporarily, he walked backed to his home, with a thought in his head of love, of happiness, and later, of pain.

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