Monday, May 9
I had cataract surgery a few days ago. At first, everything was blurry, as if I were looking at everything through a thick wet bubble, but with the eye drops the doctor gave me, now everything is razor sharp. I like to think of it this way: They gave me my eyes back. And my vision keeps getting sharper. I can see the hard outline of things and even in the background, people, animals, buildings, are distinct in their harshness. And the background itself is distinct in the way it doesn't truly blend or recede. It too stands out like an unwanted child clamoring for attention. The doctor who performed the surgery wore tinted glasses and I never asked him whether his eyes were too sensitive to light. When I saw him yesterday for a post-op visit, his cheekbones were unusually large and protruding.
Wednesday, June 5
My eyes have gotten so much keener now. I can make out the Cottonwood and the Mountain-ash trees in the distance as I drive a winding scenic route to visit the woman I'm dating from Accounts Payable--Eleanor Tibbets. She herself hates wearing glasses, a pair of bifocals, and she has trouble sometimes avoiding the sharp edges where walls intersect with space. She blames her poor vision on years spent reading pulp fiction and crime noir, her favorite passions. I tell her that my improved vision, (my "new eyes"), has spilled over into my other senses as well. There's a name for it , isn't there? Like after we're done making a pastiche of lovemaking, I'll be in the bathroom washing my hands and face and I can hear her munching on crackers , the ones I know she keeps under her bed. She says that lovemaking always takes so much out of her that she needs a quick fix.
Whenever we make love now, I picture myself rising above the bed and looking down upon the collapsed circle that we make. I can taste the leftover avocado in her mouth that she claimed she had for lunch. Or I can smell honeydew in the sheets. At work, I detect her subtle shifts in posture meant, I'm sure, to allure men. Her breasts feel denser now as if I'm groping something underwater.
Tuesday, July 10
I can now see the pores in Eleanor's face so well that I'm reminded of sponges. Or tiny craters. I start canceling some of our dates and try to develop hobbies that don't require magnifying glasses. I blame everything on an allergy to dust mites.
Friday, July 21
My vision keeps adding on new dimensions, although I wouldn't necessarily call it progress. For example, when I sleep I believe that my eyes turn inward. Maybe they feel suffocated against my lids, "closed out". And lately, whenever I dream, I see myself as if I'm standing outside that self. Sometimes I'm slinking around corners or peeping into rooms. In one dream, Eleanor was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking up at my observed self. She was saying, "Being near-sighted can get you into so much trouble, can't it?" I had been accusing her of having a fling with a temp from Shipping & Receiving. Or sometimes I'm in three-quarters view, and when that self turns to the self who is watching, I wake up. Our eyes only meet for a second. As if connection could make us explode.
The bewitching thing about it all is that now my double-vision, so to speak, is carrying over to my waking life. It's getting confusing to listen to my boss, a large rotund man who never looks me in the face, while I'm watching the me who is taking orders. I'm now outside of everything.
And when Eleanor and I make love now, when she positions herself over me, and looks into my eyes, she says, "It's so goddamn weird. I can actually see myself so clearly in your eyes as if you're not there at all."
I make another appointment with the eye doctor and inform him of my predicament. He shakes his head and runs a series of tests involving many hi-tech gadgets with glass lenses, and an assistant records various measurements while multi-colored fluids are injected into my eyes at differing pressures. That's how it was explained to me.
After the tests are done, I return to his office and he tells me that I had suffered a rare side effect of the cataract surgery. He calls it "Projective Intro-vision." Or P.I.V. He goes through a list of famous celebrities, ones who are no longer strong box-office attractions or singers who no longer cut record deals. When I ask him what would be the remedy, he tells me I need a special set of glasses that are very expensive but will correct my double-vision. He never uses the word, "Intro-vision." Too mawkish, he says.
I wonder if these glasses are made by people sequestered on an island somewhere because they themselves could not live with glasses nor intro-vision.
Sat, August 5
Everybody at work says they hardly recognize me anymore. They comment, as Eleanor did, that my new glasses are so opaque and thick, that I've disappeared behind them. But the thing is this: I'm too afraid to take them off. Everything would go back to the way it was. Eleanor says it really puts her off having to sleep with a man who wears glasses to bed. She says it creates such a distance. And I agree.
So I tell her I will take the glasses off on one condition: that the lights are left on. I am now watching myself going through the motions of making love to Eleanor. I can actually hear the crunch of crackers before she actually reaches for them. I leave the room, shut off the lights, leaving my other self, to close his eyes, to bask in a private darkness that now must feel at once, so rich yet slippery.
About the author:
Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Your Impossible Voice, Night Train, Toad, Matchbox and elsewhere. His latest ebook is Father Dunne's School for Wayward Boys at amazon.com. He blogs at Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Your Impossible Voice, Night Train, Toad, Matchbox and elsewhere. His latest ebook is Father Dunne's School for Wayward Boys at amazon.com. He blogs here.