Tue. May 28th, 2024

By Jordan Lynde ✔




“Rose, I’m sorry. Your eyesight will be gone by the end of this year.”


Dr. Vasquez continued talking, but the echo of his last words filled my ears, cancelling his voice out.


Your eyesight will be gone by the end of this year… That couldn’t be possible. He was joking with me. My eyesight was nearly perfect. How could he say that when I could see him so clearly? His lanky, black hair that curled just a little at the ends. The little cowlick at the top. His sharp, light brown eyes. The laugh lines etched into his face. I could see every detail clearly. My vision was fine. I hadn’t even owned a pair of glasses before. Sure, it wavered every now again, but wasn’t that usual?


“Good one, Doc,” I finally responded, cutting him off in the middle of a sentence. “Now’s not really the time to be joking though.”


He swallowed nervously, his pale Adam’s apple bobbing. There was a smoldering look in his eyes, almost like pity. “Rose, you have cone-rod dystrophy. Weren’t you listening to what I was saying?”


“Cone-Rod what?”


“Let me explain a little bit,” he said with a sigh. Sitting back in his wheely chair, he put his hands on his lap, interlacing his slim fingers. “The retina is the portion of



the eye that is light-sensitive. It helps your eyes process vision. Light signals to the optic nerve, which tells the brain what you’re seeing. The retina consists of a bunch rods and cones that absorb the light. If those rods and cones don’t work, your vision won’t work properly.”


I stared at him blankly, doing my best to process his foreign words. “And?”


“Cone-rod dystrophy is a progressive disease that destroys those cones and rods. It will slowly deteriorate your peripheral vision and acuity before eventually making you completely blind.”


“There’s a cure, right?” I asked, my mouth rapidly becoming dry. His silence didn’t make me feel too optimistic. “As of right now—”


“I can’t go blind!” I cried, standing up from my seat on the cool, wooden bench. “I’m only seventeen! I haven’t even lived a quarter of my life! There has to be a cure!”


“I’m sorry,” he apologized. “There is a way to slow down the process, which is to avoid light, however, even doing that, you’re eyesight will be gone in about four months.”


I slowly shook my head. “No… No. It’s not possible.”


“I’m sorry—”


“No you’re not!” I snapped at him, my eyes starting to burn.


“You’re not going to be blind in the next few months!”


“Calm down,” he ordered, motioning for me to sit back down. “Let’s talk about this.”


I ignored him, turning my head away. It was time to leave. Grabbing my jacket from the table, I headed for the door.


“Goodbye, Doc.”





The door to the examination room slammed shut behind me. A few nurses and doctors in the hall gazed at me curiously as I hastened by them, trying to hold back my tears. I was going to go blind? There was no chance of it not happening? This had to be some cruel joke! Or a nightmare! Maybe I was going to wake up and everything was going to be fine. How could I live without sight?


That was a stupid question.


I couldn’t live without sight.


I shoved the exit door open, the bells rattling noisily, and stormed outside. To my dismay, heavy rain was falling from the grey sky. Annoyed, I shoved my hand into my pocket to grab my car keys. When it came out empty, I thought I was going to scream. “You have to be kidding me!” I cried, throwing my hands up into the air.


My first idea was to check my car. Hopefully I’d left my keys in it instead of losing them completely. I sloshed through the waterlogged parking lot until I reached my beat up Subaru Outback. Pressing my face to the glass, I realized with a little relief that my keys were in the engine. I tried to the door, unsurprised to find it locked.

My heart sunk a little bit in my chest as I realized my phone was sitting on the


passenger seat.


Now I did scream.


“This isn’t fair!” I shouted, kicking the front rubber tire. “Shit! Can this day get any worse?”


Deciding there was no way I was going to go back into the hospital to call home, I chose to walk. Maybe it would help cool off my head. At least I would be able to pass the river on the way home. Even if it was raining, I still enjoyed stopping by it. Somehow it always managed to calm me down.


As I trudged through town, heading toward the riverside, my thoughts went back to the doctor’s words. If he wasn’t lying, which as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew he wasn’t, that meant I was going to go blind. By the end of this year.




I counted up the months quickly in my head. Four. Only four. My vision would be gone in four months…







Four .


I kept repeating the number in my head. It couldn’t be possible. There was no way someone could lose his or her vision in such a short amount of time. Especially someone like me— I ate carrots with almost every meal. Carrots were good for the eyes, weren’t they? How could I contract Cone-Rod Dys-whatever? Dr. Vasquez had to have made a mistake. Maybe he’d picked up some other patient’s results. Later I would be getting a call from them, telling me it was all blunder on their part and we’d laugh it off.


I stopped now, standing by the water’s edge. From where I was standing I could see the lights from the factory across it, shining brightly even through the falling precipitation. The water was moving more swiftly than usual due to the rain, causing white froth to form where the rocks from the bottom caused the water to swirl. I could see the trees that dotted the edges of both sides of the river, their leaves beginning their turn from dull green to a bold red, vivid orange, or vibrant yellow. The dark brown bark was starting to peel from some of them, revealing the beige wood under it. All this I could see from where I stood. It proved I wasn’t going to lose my vision.


It was a mistake. It was definitely…


The truth.


The doc wasn’t lying. I was going to go blind. Doctors didn’t make mistakes like that. There was no use in me denying it. I was going to go blind and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.


Tears started to run down my face and I furiously scrubbed them away, ashamed that they had spilt. There wasn’t a reason to cry. This was fate, wasn’t it? It wasn’t like this was my fault. But still… My vision was perfect! Perfect! How could this



happen to me? It wasn’t fair! I blinked back my tears, taking a few deep breaths to calm myself.


Then I screamed again.


My mom always told me it was best not to hold my emotions in. I consistently stuck to that. Usually I wouldn’t be screaming, but what did it matter right now? I wanted to scream out my frustrations and there wasn’t anyone who would be out in this rain to hear me. Doing this was much better than keeping my anger bottled up and blowing it out on my family later.


I closed my eyes again, taking in a deep breath, getting ready to yell. When I opened them, I found my vision had dimmed. The view before me was so blurry I found it hard to keep my balance.


Terrified, I threw my arms out to the either side, attempting to even my body weight out. I blinked rapidly, trying to fix my vision. Oh my God, I thought, teetering on my feet, if I fall in this water, I’m screwed . I couldn’t see. I was going to fall. Why was this happening to me? I squeezed my eyes shut tightly, preparing for the worst. I was done for…


“Wait!” a panicked voice abruptly shouted and soon after I felt a pair of strong arms around me, ripping me away from the water’s edge. “Don’t do it!”


The person holding onto me must have slipped because before I knew it, my left cheek was pressing into the soggy ground painfully. When I opened my eyes again my vision was back to normal and I found a young male’s face inches from my own. Curly, umber hair was matted to his forehead, darkened by the rain. A few strands hung in front of his chocolate colored eyes as he stared down at me worriedly. “Sorry! I’m sorry! Are you okay?”


“You’re kind of heavy,” I forced out, finding it hard to breathe with his weight crushing me. “You’re crushing me…”


“Sorry,” he apologized again, swiftly rolling off of me. He easily sprung to his feet and held out his hand to me. “Here.”



I grasped it and he effortlessly pulled me to my feet. “Thanks,” I mumbled, a little intimidated by his piercing gaze. My eyes opted for staring at everywhere on his face but his eyes. The more I studied him, the more familiar he looked. Furrowing my eyebrows, I attempted to remember where I’d seen him before. Cumberland Farms maybe?


“Are you okay?” he inquired again, his eyes searching mine intently.


“I’m… Yeah. I’m good.”


Suddenly, he smacked me upside the head. Hard. “You’re an idiot!”


Completely taken aback, my jaw-dropped, and I gaped at him. An idiot? How I was I an idiot? He was the one that came out of nowhere and tackled me to the ground! “W-what the hell was that for?” I demanded angrily.


“Because! You deserve it!”


“What did I do to deserve it!?”


“You shouldn’t end your life by choice! Were you even thinking about how your family and friends would feel?! Be strong!” he lectured me, his friendly eyes lighting up with passion.


I shook my head vehemently. “No! No, you have it wrong!”


“What do you mean?”


“I wasn’t trying to kill myself,” I told him slowly, holding up my left hand in an act of defensive. “I just lost my balance.”


His face went blank. “Oh. I, uh… Sorry for hitting you,” he apologized meekly, dipping his head down.


“It’s okay,” I responded, lightly touching the place he’d smacked. “I think I kind of needed that. I wasn’t acting like myself just then.”


“Is that why you were screaming at the river?”



My cheeks warmed up. “Oh, you heard that?”


He nodded. “It’s what got my attention in the first place. And then I saw how close you were to the river and just assumed…”


“Yeah. I get it. Don’t worry. I’m not suicidal, not in the least. I’m just having a rough day,” I confessed, brushing my wet hair out of my face










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