Can I see those poles, I ask myself as I cautiously make my way along our front path. The poles that I know stand like soldiers guarding the walkway to our house.
The sun is oh so bright.
Again has it always been like that, I question to myself.
Oh, my God, it is our house, I exclaim as we walk through our front gate literally surprised to see it.
It certainly didn’t look like this the last time I saw it twenty-four hours earlier, I almost laugh as I wait for Michael to unlock our front door. For starters, we actually have a front door, and what do you know a contrasting white courtyard wall to boot.
I had always thought our home to be such a dim and dingy thing. Why couldn’t we have more light in here, I had complained to Michael on a gazillion occasions.
But this, this wasn’t too bad. What had I been thinking.
Our loungeroom was actually nicer than I had made up in my mind. And it was certainly brighter. White bright lighter brighter.
How had I not known this?
I had convinced myself it was a complete dump, and had been giving myself a hard time about it for ages.
Oh my God, I exclaim, looking at the white outdoor chairs, as I step out into the back garden. Firstly, they were white, and who knew. Secondly, they had such curly whirly detail. Who put that there?
They are that heavy cast iron, and seeing them for the first time is bending my mind. I cannot stop glancing at them as we drink our coffee in the sun, just as we have done a thousand times before. Every time I catch sight of Little’s orange pants, I cannot help but smile. It is so reassuring and heart-warming to see her scuttle across the floor. I love you I love you I love you I think as she comes and sits on my lap.
But less than an hour into my new life, I am on the lounge, completely exhausted. And by the time the flowers arrive from my best friend, I am too worn out and overloaded to even ask for a look. I cannot handle any more colour.
I am so tired, that even with Michael and Little keeping vidual on the lounge beside me I fall asleep for hours.
I am a little concerned when my husband announces he is stepping out for a while to do the groceries, but at the same time, I think he must trust me to have this, otherwise he wouldn’t leave baby girl with me.
This reassures me, so I manage to scrape enough energy together to interact with those most beautiful talking orange pants.
The upshot is I can now say that I have parented quite literally blindfolded. Take that bucket list.
Blindness definitely has its advantages. Because of course, I have no trouble. We simply did what we have always done.
The only difference being, this time I was wearing a blindfold to simulate darkness, rather than rubbing my eyes in a bid not to simulate it.
My head cannot cope with all the light, the colour, the shapes, the sounds, and smells, the everything elses of the world.
Sure, I am tired and achy, but this is a breeze. And if this is today, then I wonder what a week will be like, I wonder as we play in the yard.
Because I am fairly certain I am seeing things, I have never seen. But can I be sure? Or has it simply been so long since I’ve seen anything that anything feels like everything? And everything feels like the world…
Everything is definitely crisper. I don’t remember things ever being crisp. They have always had a blur to them. This is amazing.
How does this even happen?
The following morning I wake, and cannot see anything. I mean there is light and dark, but everything is so ridiculously blurry. Almost everything has disappeared again.
At first, I think I am imagining it. And I am definitely in less pain, so everything is surely ok, right?
By 11:00am Michael had convinced me to call doctor Alex.
When I speak to his clinic staff, they don’t sound confident, and suggest I ring Alex on his mobile to see what he says.
I had wanted them to tell me everything was fine, and that it was normal. I hadn’t wanted to ring Alex himself He is a very busy man, and this was nothing. Right? It is nothing!
Oh no no no. The panic begins to rise in my chest. Shit shit shit, what did this mean. Had I left it too long? And to think I wasn’t going to call at all. Was I not taking this seriously enough? Which part of this didn’t I understand. Yeah this is worse than yesterday. How had I not put two and two together…
Should have I stayed awake all night instead?
I should have stayed awake. Why did I sleep? Oh God how stupid could I be?
Was that crazy my brain won’t turn off white from the night before a sign of something amiss?
What could I have done differently? What should I have done differently?
I am surprised when he picks up. Come on in, he instructs after I explain the situation. He happened to be at the eye hospital, and would let them know to expect me.
Well, if we had to go somewhere that was as good a place as any, I think after hanging up.
Alex would be operating that afternoon, but would fit me in between procedures.
I quietly gather my things while Michael gathers Emily. And I am surprised how calm I feel, all things considered. But I had to be calm for Little. I had to be calm to save my sight. If I stress, my pressure will go up, if my pressure goes up my blood will pump harder, if my blood pumps harder then maybe my retina would let go, and again my eye might fall out is my logic.
It was simple; all we had to do was get to the hospital. I know it is just behind Martin Place, as Liz and I had been discussing it recently. Thanks for that one girl. Therefore, of course I figure it will be easier to catch the train.
I wasn’t sure I could travel in the car and not throw up, and what if we are caught in traffic. Then there is the navigating the city thing, and finding parking. I know I can’t cope with the thought, let alone the pending reality. Michael isn’t familiar with the area, and there are just too many variables. He is not a good navigator, and I know I will yell at him if he takes a wrong street. So rather, than end our marriage over a three-point turn, I keep contemplating.
The bridge tolls, the parking, paid, or not. How will I explain where he needs to go. What if there are roadworks, or there is no near-by parking. What if we are going to be there all day. We cannot afford those fees. What if we get lost?
The options race through my head, but still I cannot make it fit, and feel comfortable.
So the train it would be.
The train is relatively straight, frequent, and makes me feel like I am in comparative control.
I knew they were running, as I had heard them all morning.
Public transport is something I was familiar with, and I had experienced the changes at Wynyard less than a week before, so I was confident as to how to get us out and to where we needed to be.
I ring my mum to let her know, that I can’t be sure if I would be going back into theatre for an emergency, or what will happen.
No no, don’t get on a plain yet, I say. We’ll let you know.
It is the longest train trip in the history of the world. Every stop seems to take an interminable time to reach. Then we have to sit and wait for all those pesky people to alight or disembark.
Again, I am amazed at my relaxed state of being as Michael leads us through Wynyard station. I describe to him where I think we need to go, what he needs to look for, and thankfully, he abides. Because it isn’t always like that. Sometimes when we are out, and he doesn’t know where we are, but I do, we almost argue about it. And I hate it. Because all I want him to do is listen to what I am saying, and follow my directions without question. So this is a relief. I think he must realise just how on the edge I am teetering, and is wise enough not to push. Because who knows what is going to set me off, and what carnage that is going to cause. Ultimately, his job is to protect me, and thank God, it is. Because this could get ugly at any second.
I am more stressed than this on a good day, I think as I blindly clutch his hand.
Little seems to sense something is amiss, and sits quietly in her pram.
Thank you darling.
As we make our way through the crouded cityscape, I find my thoughts wandering, what gives something life.
Everything had seemed so alive yesterday. With all those colours and shapes. Even an autumn leaf has life through its colour, when it is technically dead, I muse.
So what gives something life? Is it the visual, which is the ultimate validation? Or can the crunch of said leaf be enough. The crunch sort of says to me that nope, it is dead. Whereas the oranges reds and golds of autumn leaves seem to say look at me I’m so beautiful, I’m alive! Even when I’m dead I am vibrant and valuable.
I can feel the icy wind on my cheeks, and sense the sky, but I cannot see it. I cannot see anything by this point. And once again, find myself knowing that if Michael weren’t with me, then there is no way I would have been able to find my destination, even though I had been a lifelong user of the thurifer.
I feel ever so fragile, and am afraid someone will run into me. And heaven help them if they do, because I will go off my nut.
Is the wind life, I wonder as we stride along? I love how it feels against my face. Thank God for that, I think as we continue. Crossing one road, then another… thinking how Ironic, that it is the invisibility of the wind, which gives me my validation of being alive in this moment. For without that, I may as well have been in no man’s land. It was as if there was nothing else in the world. Just me, and the wind.
I keep raising my eyes to the sky, in a bid to see it. But there is nothing. Nothing on the ground, nothing beside us, and nothing up above.
I am trapped in my own personal snowstorm with zero visibility. Everything is a blinding white no matter how I angled my head, tilted my chin, or positioned my face.
So was the sky alive, just because it was blue? Was it the blue that made it so? And if I couldn’t see it, then did that mean I was so? Oh, God this could go on forever, I think as Michael glares at someone glaring at us.
He’s so good at owning the situation like that.
Everything had seen so much more real yesterday when it had colour. But Michael’s love for me was no less real, and that could not be quantified on the colour spectrum. So why was I asking myself all these questions.
But I guess when there is nothing to see, there is nothing else but questions.
A narrative was all I had, and my brain was determined to fill in the blanks with as much white noise as possible.
A lady talking very loudly on her phone clicks passed us, and I am surprised I cannot see her.
Meanwhile Michael weaves us in and out of the throng with ease.
Thankfully, the entrance to our destination is easy enough to find, as we veer off Macquarie Street, and slip discretely between the buildings.