What We Really Are

Short Fiction

Being blind isn’t easy. Sure, I have my cane so I don’t bump into walls, and I have a dog that tells me when it’s not safe to cross the road. That doesn’t mean I have it easy, though. But it’s not like I’m totally blind; I can see outlines sometimes, though that’s it.

However, what I miss the most was being able to see people; what their eyes look like when they’re excited about something, or the way that some people’s brown hair turns red in the sunlight. Oh, and the smiles. There’s nothing more beautiful than someone’s genuine smile.

I can still remember all of the details vividly, seeing as I was only 20 when I lost most of my vision. I was angry at first, but now that I’m quite older I’ve made my peace. However, I’ve come up with a little trick. When I find myself missing the way people look, I just make it up myself.

That sounds silly, doesn’t it? Yeah, it does … but it makes me happy. Especially when I’m bored, like right now, at this homeowners meeting. I’ve never seen any of the people that go to these before, so I don’t have anything to go off of. That just makes it all more fun.

The board president is a man, and that’s all I know about him, as far as his looks go. But I do know that he gets real excited when he talks about all of his ideas for future projects to make our area better. I imagine his eyes get big and bright. I know I’m probably wrong, but I like to think they’re blue. Right now, he’s talking about adding more handicap spaces for people in the building who need it, and I bet his big blue eyes are sparkling. His voice is soft, but commanding. I’m not around him much outside of these meetings, but I bet he’s got a kind smile, too.

There’s a woman who always attends every single one of these meetings, and she never has anything nice to say. She complains about her neighbor’s dog, which isn’t even that loud; I would know, since I’m the other neighbor. She complains about anything that she can, and each week it’s something new. When she’s yelling at the president, I imagine that her whole face gets red. And the poor president’s bright blue eyes get dull with worry, because he would never want to upset anyone.

There’s also a younger, quiet girl that comes to these meetings every once and a while. She never speaks up, so the only way I ever know she’s there is if I hear someone sniffle a lot. She has allergies that never seem to go away. I’ve only ever talked to her a few times, but she’s a sweet girl. Sometimes, when I don’t bring my dog, she’ll offer to help bring me back to my apartment. She’s very shy, so I bet that she has long hair that falls in front of her face to hide behind when she gets nervous. Oh, and her nose is probably quite red. However, when she’s happy, I imagine she gets the most beautiful smile. Its appearance is rare, but those kinds of smiles are the best ones.

Maybe being blind isn’t all that bad. People always wonder what we would look like if our appearance matched our personality, and I get to experience that for real. Someone who yells at a server in a restaurant for something they can’t control is not a beautiful person. Someone who spends their free time helping others is one of the most lovely in the world. I think sometimes good looks can confuse us, and blind us to what they really are.

more by CASSIE GAMMIE

photograph by Daria Shevtsova

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