Now I See You
By Viktoria Pavlova
Going blind at the age of ten was his worst nightmare come true, until he began to see in color.
My biggest dream from ten to thirteen wasn’t to become an astronaut or an entrepreneur. It was to be able to see again.
Going blind, ironically, was the most eye opening experience I’d ever had. At nine, I’d been diagnosed with a sinus mass that was pressing on my visual nerve. Since the problem went undiagnosed, by ten, I lost fifty percent of my vision. By the next Christmas, I lost my vision entirely. I was depressed after that, and peevish.
On my thirteenth birthday, my dream to see came true, well, partially. Everytime I met or spoke to someone new, I saw a color in my mind. My parents were green, which meant they were good people. My sister was blue—she was joyful. People I had a bad feeling about, depending on how they talked or acted, I saw in red. It became easier for me to get in tune with my surroundings afterwards, because I’d gotten some of my life back. I focused on my other senses: smell, touch, and sound. I’d begun to feel hopeful.
But going back to school as the blind boy was not how I imagined middle school. I was homeschooled after I lost my eyesight, but once I could walk around the house, and learned braille, I went back to school with the assistance of an aid.
Now at fifteen, I roamed the halls alone with only my walking stick.
“Mom?” I called as I dragged my hand along the wall, and avoided the dining room table. I smelled pancakes in the kitchen.
“Lucas! I’m making breakfast,” she replied. I heard her wipe her hands on what I assumed was her apron.
“Do I look okay?” I asked.
“Your hair is silky and brown, and your eyes are mesmerizingly blue. If only you could see them.”
“If only I could see a lot of things,” I sighed. “How about my outfit?”
“You have blue joggers and a red shirt on,” she laughed.
I groaned, disappointed that in two years I hadn’t gotten my clothing system down, feeling the fabric and the tags of my clothes to try and decipher them.
Back in my room, I rechecked my pant tags until I found a pair I thought worked better. I sensed my sister, Hannah’s, blue shadow at the door, and she told me my outfit was presentable—black jeans, red shirt.
I grinned at her sheepishly, grabbing my walking stick from its place at the foot of my bed, and followed Hannah back into the kitchen.
School was a dreadful task, the whispers in the halls, the people avoiding me. Although I’ve been able to wander the halls alone since freshman year, it’s difficult to navigate my giant school. Walking through the crowded corridors, the colors of students stood out, each dazzling and distinct. It was almost as if I could see the people themselves and not just their voices.
School dragged on, but I finally made it home. However, two hours later I picked up my walking stick and joined Mom inside her car.
We arrived at my ophthalmologist’s office and sat down. I’d gathered from the gasps and hushed whispers, that I was the only blind person in the room. I could smell the perfume and baby powder of the parents and children.
“Lucas Whitman?” called my usual nurse. I heard everyone’s shoes sliding against the carpet closer to their chairs as I walked through the waiting room.
The exam room smelled subtly of isopropyl alcohol and hand sanitizer. I recognized the sterile smell instantly, having been exposed to it for years.
Today we’d find out if I was approved for an experimental surgery to bring back my eyesight. Mom had fought for years to get this surgery, and each year was rejected.
The doctor walked in and I followed his green outline across the room to my mom’s green one. The nurse’s blue stood vibrantly next to them.
“Lucas, how are we today?” asked Doctor Robinson.
I shrugged. I stopped listening as he dragged on, but tuned back in when I heard Mom beginning to cry. The aura in the room changed, and their colors started to shimmer. My knee stopped bouncing and I became more in tune with my surroundings. The ticking of the clock, the clacking of computer keys from the front desk, a toddler laughing had all become more prominent.
“You were approved!” Mom exclaimed.
My body froze.
“Lucas,” said Doctor Robinson, “If all goes well, you’ll have your eyesight back.” I could practically feel the smile growing on his face.
But as I looked around the room and saw the excitement, I thought about how I can hear and feel things that most people can’t. I can see vibrant colors, rather than dull ones that don’t make you feel anything. I can memorize the layout of a room by walking around it once. I’m not sure if I want to lose that, if I want to be like everyone else. I’m not Lucas, the blind boy who everyone pities.
I’m Lucas, the boy who sees in color.
I initially wrote this piece my sophomore year of high school after my English teacher asked us to write a short story involving the five senses. At first, I didn’t know what to write about until I thought about my character actually losing one of his senses — his eyesight. My mom came up with how my character lost his eyesight, and I got to writing. My grandfather inspired this piece, as he battled an illness which put him in unimaginable pain, but he never once faltered, or lost the light in his eyes. I wanted to emphasize how different the world is for people who don’t have their vision, and how they’re not people you should pity, but are people who are brave and powerful.
Viktoria Pavlova is a lively aspiring author. Born and raised in New York, Viktoria is first generation, coming from a Russian family. She is an aspiring psychiatrist and writer who has been writing fiction for eight years. She lives at home with her inspiring and eccentric parents, grandma and golden retriever.