Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted June 11, 2013


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On losing eyesight

Dancing to an Imperfect Tune

by amada


My eyes were heavily bandaged in hot suffocating surgical dressing that cold and cloudy afternoon in early February. The rough patch on my eyes still carrying the surgical scent of dread and fear weighed heavily on me. As a godsend, my oldest son came to visit me at lunchtime. Before leaving he placed a light square box in my hands. I imagined his smug smile as he watched me unwrap his gift with my very rapacious fingers. I felt its weight, the lightness of a feather, I smelled its metallic air, I touched its playful roundness ... a CD!

He guided me to the player in a wall of the kitchen and helped me to insert it. Satisfied, he gave me a hug and I heard the front door closing in a whisper. He knew that music would be a great companion until my husband came back from work that evening.

In an instant the CD took over and a thunder of funky, dynamic sounds burst forth. "What the heck?" I said aloud, delighted. The thrilling sounds were stemming from the brazing funky album "The Four Tops Essential Collection."

I felt a thrill throughout my body. It was as if creation was singing to me, cheering me, and inviting me to come back from my depression. Somehow, I had forgotten how much I loved music...

As if touched by a magic wand, I felt instantly encased in joy. My body started to dance in the inside; my heart hooped out and my body vibrated like a well-tuned guitar string. A subterranean murmur of joy filled my mind as a flutter of current flowed from my brain to the highway of my veins and to the bottom of my toes.

And in the midst of my darkness, still swaddled in the weight of unforgiving bandages, I began to dance fiercely, tall and erect, graceful and proud, as if I were a fresh graduate from Juilliard. I loved feeling like a prima ballerina, realizing that except for my eyesight, the rest of my body was still working pretty darn well.

I started celebrating life by dancing alone in the friendliness of my kitchen. This place of bursting chatter, cackles and squawks became the stage for the rebirth of my new being.

I let myself go and be woven in a feast of rapture and rhythm, poking, probing, my eager thumbs recognizing familiar surfaces. Counters, refrigerator and breakfast table became the guides and boundaries for my dancing expedition.

At the first strains of "Baby I Need Your Loving" I was swaying side to side with gusto, raising my shoulders to match my surprising hip movements. The tired linoleum floor became a sparkling dance hall, the shy hanging light became a sparkling chandelier, and the submissive chairs became my attentive audience.

My legs claimed a life of their own, stepping forward spontaneously following the cadence of the rhythm, and the force of my fingers burst into snapping. By the time "Reach Out" started, I had covered every inch of the floor --


Oh, yes, of course I could not see the cat's water bowl spilling languid on the floor, but in my enthusiasm I couldn't care if our good Old Buddy went thirsty for a while.

In the midst of my "Reaching Out" I patted the soothing lines of the water faucet, and at the right side in the same line, I groped the comforting contours of my friend, the old Mr. Coffeepot. Seconds later, half a dozen fridge magnets tumbled down from their lofty perch, victims of my right errant arm reaching out, again.

In the midst of a soothing ooohh from the ballad, "Still Waters", I reached for the counter and grabbed the first thing I touched: a long and clammy olive oil bottle. Well, it seemed he was just standing there waiting for someone to ask him to dance, so I did! I giggled at my silly thoughts. First time in weeks I heard the sound of my laugh.

When the song "Reach Out, Girl" played, I imagined the Four Tops were right there in my kitchen, personally, in the flesh, serenading me with all their might. Feeling uplifted, I clutched at that illusion of the deliverance they were singing about.

And in the midst of tears, laughter, and rhythm I started to accept the idea of the fog; maybe it wouldn't be too imposing after all. On the contrary, it could be quite reposing. True, my eyes were losing their luster, but as a whole, I was still vividly present. Maybe it's time to accept the idea of being imperfect. It was time to grow up and cherish the beauty in a flawed seam, or patch of rust, or in a carnation without red petals. Maybe that was the message, to accept shortcomings, in myself as well as in others; to leave aside my grounded and rooted self-impositions.

In the meantime, my eyes were still tightly bound so as not to allow a single speck of dust to infiltrate my darkness.

Tired now, I found a chair and slowly, lowly, harsh reality began its tedious crawl back... The uncontrollable and pervasive pressure inside my eyes could eventually result in permanent blindness. But then my bandaged eyes started to play with me. I saw a sudden flash of color red, like a bullfighter's cape, becoming brilliantly transparent to the communion of memory chips stored in me, as if every pore of my body was hungrily reminding me of the arsenal of recollections stored in my brain. And then I recalled the rest of my senses waiting for me; the sweet taste of a Clementine, the softness of my cat's fur, the aroma of fresh coffee, the several layers of a sound. And I felt comforted.

As time progresses, my eyesight, as predicted, grows dimmer. The rest of my senses grow deeper, loyal, and adoring. I celebrate their embrace.

Life is good.


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