What My Eyes Showed Me (Short Fiction)

What My Eyes Showed Me (Short Fiction)

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I didn’t like what my eyes had showed me.

If I were blind, I would not have seen how the Victorian gate belonging to my neighbour had rusted over time, its beauty diminished. If I were blind, I would not have seen Mr Carter from across the street open his door to his newly wed daughter-in-law, under the deceptive cover of a darkened sky.  I would never have discovered that a smile isn’t always a smile, and that when his lips shaped the words, ‘I love you,’ it didn’t automatically equate to the truth. If I were blind, I would not have witnessed my great grandmother’s coffin being placed into a pit of dirt when I was five years old, or how the void had swallowed whole my brother’s coffin whole, decades too soon.

Over the years, I’d believed that sight was a misfortune and not a blessing. Different places had held the same people with different faces. 

I would see the girl who exchanged flirty glances with her best friend’s boyfriend; the teary-eyed mother who sat on the bench, hugging her anxious child close to her. While everyone saw a couple stood on the side of the path huddled close, I saw a man clutching his partner’s wrist too tightly, and the frightened look in his partner’s eyes as she nodded her head in response.

While they saw the change of season – from summer to autumn – and witnessed golden crisp leaves falling from their branches, I was reminded that nothing lasts forever. This was something that I had read but not fully understood before: 

“By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground. Because from it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return…”

*

My pen wavered as I felt the familiar sting in my eyes. My body shook in soft trembles, as if I were cold. Yet, I continued to write:

*

I didn’t like what my eyes had showed me, but without sight I could never have comprehended the beauty of spring.

Watched brightly coloured petals unfurl from their centres; glimpsed my sister’s eyes sparkle as she cradled her daughter in her arms. I could never have replayed repeatedly in my head the sight of my younger brother running home from school, his cheeks red and his eyes wide as he rushed through the doorway.

I didn’t like what my eyes had showed me, but over the course of time they had taught me to value what was present. Without emptiness, or loss, I could appreciate nothing. 

*

I let the ink dry before closing my notebook shut.

It seemed as if no time had passed. The waves still crashed against the rocks and glistened in the sun as I stayed sat on the cliff.  The grass still shook under the air’s soft current; the skin on my back was still warm.

Nothing had changed.

Only this time, I felt lighter.

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