Nearsighted

by Grace Craven Joyner

                                                           Nearsighted

   Monday afternoon and she would only have to wait a week for her glasses. The sun caught Annie's eyes as she left through the revolving doors of a place called 'See Right.' Her chin length brown hair reflecting in the glass panels shining in the street level store of the corner center city building.

   No need to linger, it would be a four block walk to the stop. Such a feeling of relief during the bus ride home. 29 years old and the first time she figured that she really needed glasses. If only she could manage her way home, with her poor eyesight, she laughed. After all these years of going without corrective wear.

   But it was her blurry eyesight that turned the people hazy out the window as she rode by. Nothing to laugh at. She squinted, the clerk in the carpet store window she passed had big ears. Almost like a donkey. She imagined his face was contorted. He was a donkey. Annie sat up straighter in her seat to pull herself together. Now, a donkey in a suit and tie. She looked again, the man seemed okay.

    Screech. Her stop. Her hand grabbed the railing and she stepped down carefully. It was a brisk and short walk home.

     In bed that night, Annie shimmied under the light blanket, reminded herself again that she really did need glasses for her nearsightedness.

   On Wednesday evening, with the phone in her hand, she sat on the sofa making the call to 'See Right'.

   "No, they're not ready yet," replied a friendly clerk. "Call back in 4 days if we haven't notified you."

    Disappointed, the phone was put down. She had thanked the girl. Her eyesight troubled her. She picked up a book from the coffee table. This is the novel she would finish reading when her eyesight was better. Everyday mystery books suited her. Nothing too gory or she wouldn't be able to stay in her house all alone without worry.

    A little pit-pat-pit-pat coming from outside. Must be rain. Pit-Pat getting louder, then a full pouring of water from the sky. She looked over at the window. Hard to concentrate on her reading. She peeped up again, eyes following the drops on the glass dripping down in a wiggly fashion. Looked down and the words on the page were getting blurry. The letters almost dripping like the blood in the mystery. Dim outside shadows were causing this, causing the letters to take moveable shapes and run away, she thought. The book was slammed shut and Annie prayed for the day she would get her new glasses. Her eyes were closed and her hands folded, lips moving to the words: New set of glasses.

   Saturday morning came and she stirred in bed. Her first thought was that she needed new glasses for nearsightedness. The pink phone rang on the nightstand with the news. Aaah, she clapped, she sang, her glasses were ready.

   At the store, Annie could see that 'See Right' wasn't too busy today. The silent voice of Petula Clark singing "Downtown" played in her head. Inside this store, mirror were everywhere to compliment a 'See Right' style on any patron. When handed her glasses she peered at the thin gold engraved rims with the tiny red gems in each corner. Were the gems real? She smiled, who would know. Probably not for what she paid for them. The payment was made with her credit card and she walked toward the door figuring she wouldn't see 'See Right' again with it's glass panel walls for a long time.

    They were on her face. To celebrate she would walk through the park to reach the bus stop. Oh, the park! The grass looked so green, she could smell the grass. Deliberately, she took deep breaths in and gazed around. The twin houses across the street from the park seemed so quaint. The details of each one was beautiful. There was a house in the middle. She stared. The curtains were drawn to either side of the front window. Sort of amber curtains and the walls on the enclosed porch was almost the same drab sienna. There was a face looking out towards the park. A longing face. Now was that a woman of auburn hair or a long haired orange cat sitting on the table. Hard to tell on the drawn face. The bone structure of the cheeks slowly moved. The sun could play tricks with shadows across curtains and walls,

    She stood dead in her tracks in the park and looked. Touching the gold rim with red gem between her thumb and forefinger, she thought, gee she had new glasses but she was still nearsighted.

By Grace Joyner

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