I made list of worst case scenarios for a teenage girl who is slowing going blind. I totally intended on writing about going to school with all your clothes turned inside out, but that didn’t happen. Nope. Instead I got stuck on writing a scenario that would be embarrassing for everyone- not just my main character.
Though I appreciate the glories of a school uniform and the lack of decision making it requires everyday, I couldn’t help but appreciate it more the morning I woke up to a dark room. Even with my glasses on and my bedside lamp shining the light in my room was reduced to an ashen gray. Once I’d watched a documentary about the eruption of Mount St. Helens that sent tons of dirt and debris rushing down the side of the mountain. My room was kind of like the aftermath of that: dark, the outline of normalcy still there but unseeable.
I didn’t call out for Daddy. The last thing I needed was to give him any more reason to treat me like a two year old. Or worse: to treat me as if I was making a big deal out of nothing. I focused as hard as I could, using my hands and memory to lead my through my room. My desk and dresser were right where they were supposed to be, easily in reach without running into anything. I pulled off my pajamas and considered showering. Could I make it to the bathroom without tripping over myself? As soon as the word bathroom floated through my mind, my bladder reminded me that I didn’t have a choice of whether or not to head there. Unless I wanted to spend the morning cleaning my bedroom floor, I was headed to the bathroom.
Wrapping myself in my red fluffy robe, I opened my bedroom door but stopped before I took a step. Drawing a map in my head of the hallway that led to the bedroom was important. Choosing the wrong door would lead me to the linen closet, the den, or worse, Daddy’s bedroom. Trying to conjure a memory of the last time I’d actually stood and looked at the hallway, I drew a blank. The most I could come up with was that the bathroom door might be open, while the others were likely to be closed.
“Why are there so many doors, in this place?” I mumbled as my bladder reminded me to get on with it. I took my steps carefully, one foot in front of the other, my arms out stretched to run my fingers against the wall. Passing two closed doors, I held my breath and focused on reaching an open one. The picture of the hallway in my mind became more clear as I concentrated on trying to make out the shapes in front of me.
As things became clearer, my urgency to reach the bathroom increased. It no longer felt like I had just woken up and was getting ready to use the bathroom. It felt like I had been holding back a river all day. I cursed myself and the glass of water I’d had before bed.
“Libby?” Daddy’s voice came from behind me, causing me to jump. And to lose my grip on holding back the river in me. My bare legs became wet as the warm water pooled at my feet. I started to move forward faster. With each step it became more difficult to hold it back. I couldn’t think. Reaching the open door, I threw myself into the room and slammed the door behind me. It was too late.
Image: ‘Autumn leaves at the top of the weir‘