I squinted into the sunlight and the white hot glare illuminated a smidgeon of filth in the upper left corner of my left lens. Without thinking, I removed my glasses before crossing the street to polish them when the sound of a truck horn startled me and I dropped them into the street. Bad move. In a panic, and bordering legal blindness, I reached out with both hands in front and took a step forward. The devastating crunch beneath my feet sealed my fate for the day. Stepping backwards in a blur that frenzied me in my world without sight, I bent down to pick up the remnants of the sleek titanium frames and minimal glass that gave the gift of vision. Before placing the salvaged seeing tool back on the bridge of my nose, I caught a beautiful image with its beauty ironically enhanced ever more by my lack of sight: a torrent of red silk fleeing across in front of me, fabric flapping in the wind and what sounded like delicate stiletto heels slamming into pavement. I barely made out the image of a female, distinguishable only by her frail, outlined curves, crowned by a massive wave of billowing blond hair. Unusual and out of place, her presence was not only confusing but highly intriguing as her escape was captioned by a muffled, helpless sob pre-empting some sense of danger and distress in hot pursuit of her red silk and stilettos.
The suspense was thrilling in my blindness and as I whipped my head around to follow the blond hair trailing her body I was gripped with excitement – without sight, my imagination heightened and I strained my eyes to construct what I could not, in reality, actually see: a grisly day time crime scene unfolding; a dystopian fairytale; a story book character who tore herself out of a commuter’s contemporary novel to chase down her love who may have been written to death to soon. Awed completely by the out-of-ordinary and my unseeing eyes, I looked around and wondered in amazement if no one else had been caught in this dizzying denouement of some stranger’s story. Fiction or non-fiction, we’ll never know.
I realized at once, breathing heavily and gaping after the path blazed by my alleged heroine/refugee, I was still on the same street corner holding my ruined glasses, in my painstakingly ordinary pencil skirt and button down, with nowhere to flee but my 15th floor office, no more a damsel in distress than the next corporate climbing, status seeking urbanite. As I made out twinkling green traffic lights ahead, I put my glasses back on and as though the science of optometry hadn’t delivered me beyond and back today, I watched the world pass by through cracked lenses, my new kaleidoscope face-gear, and silently marveled at it all. So fucked up and beautiful as it was, on a scorching, humid day in the city.