Visions of Truth
by Daniel Robert Cross
It was a strange sensation. Like the bizarre hallucinatory world between dreams and wakefulness. Jared slowly opened his eyes, blinking several times before realizing that he couldn’t see anything. He raised his hand to his head in confusion. Where am I? Why can’t I see? he thought groggily.
Jared heard the soft sound of the wind blowing through the trees and the flutter of birds soaring above him. Touching the ground beneath him and sifting the dirt through his open fingers reminded him of where he was and how every day began. It was amazing how much his other senses had improved after he had lost his sight. Sighing heavily, he leaned back against the cold stone that he had fallen asleep on.
Oftentimes he would come to this place and talk with his friend all day, eventually falling asleep. People that passed him by considered him a drunk and wouldn’t ever bother him. The walk back to his apartment seemed so far away, especially for a blind man.
Ever since the car accident a month ago, his life had changed dramatically. It seemed so long ago now. The times he spent laughing with his friends and working on his car. He would spend days out on the racetrack trying to see how much faster he had made the car. He could still recall that fateful night perfectly.
The beat of footsteps approaching brought him out of his reverie. Jared involuntarily winced as the footsteps stopped just shy of him. Usually if someone came that close to him, it was to harass him either with words or hands. Sometimes people didn’t like him lounging around in this place and would forcibly remove him. Which, of course, meant throwing him out onto the sidewalk.
“I see you stayed all night again,” a familiar voice said softly.
Jared let out a relieved breath. “Hello Ryan,” he greeted his friend, lifting his head slightly. “And I didn’t sleep here last night,” he added petulantly. Jared felt Ryan’s hand clasp his and tug gently, gesturing him to stand up. He did so slowly, unconsciously brushing dirt off the back of his pants.
“You really shouldn’t spend so much time here; it’s not good for you,” Ryan said brusquely.
Jared shrugged. Ryan always reminded him of his father, watching out for his well-being. “I can’t help it; you know we don’t have that much more time together.”
“I know,” Ryan sighed.
Jared felt the edge of the stone he had been sleeping next to and picked up his cane. With painful familiarity, he tapped the ground in front of him several times before locating the sidewalk. He began to walk with Ryan at his side, deep in thought. The short time he spoke of was more limited than he knew. He didn’t know how to tell him this would be their last meeting.
“I... I’m getting my surgery done today,” he struggled to pull the words forth. He wished he could see Ryan’s reaction but knew that to be impossible.
“I didn’t think it would be this soon,” Ryan said nonchalantly.
Jared wrinkled his nose as Ryan’s spicy aftershave began to affect him. He never noticed how strong it was until after he had lost his eyesight. He continued to walk in silence until he heard his friend stop suddenly.
“I can’t go any further, Jared,” Ryan told him with a slight hint of regret, “you haven’t been paying much attention to anything these past couple of days.”
Jared could feel Ryan’s anxious mood. He was afraid. Afraid of losing his friend. Afraid of what would happen after today. A feeling of guilt settled over Jared. He knew his own life would continue on. He would see again and everything would be okay. Ryan, however, would be facing something he had been avoiding. He would be leaving. He felt Ryan’s firm grasp on his shoulder.
“Go on ahead, Jared. I’ll be fine.” His words seemed distant. “I’m going home now, but if you ever need a friend...” He paused, squeezing his shoulder affectionately. “I’ll be here.” He let go of Jared’s shoulder and began to walk away.
Jared nodded numbly as he listened to his friend’s footsteps fade away. He stood there silently for a long time before whispering, “Goodbye, my friend.”
As he began to walk to the hospital, he inhaled the sweet smell of freshly cut grass and smiled. His friend was going to be just fine, and so would he. He thought once again how amazing it was to lose one sense and gain strength in all the rest. With renewed vigor, he strolled confidently out of the cemetery.
Copyright © 2008 by Daniel Robert Cross