Sat. May 11th, 2024



The sanitary stench of the solemn hospital was a smell I would never grow used to. In fact, I was beginning to associate the scent with depression. Every time I stepped into the awful building, any spirit that was in me dwindled away as I trudged further into its depths. My shoulders sagged and my chest constricted; always expecting the worst. It didn’t help that my dad was always too busy to come with me.


Like today. My first appointment since the time I received the life-changing news.


“Morning, Rose,” Dr. Vasquez greeted me warmly, baring his sparkly whites. “How have you been?”


“What do you think?” I responded moodily, not the least bit happy to be there.


His smile faltered the slightest bit. “Right, I’m sorry. So you scheduled this appointment; do you have questions for me?”


I nodded, taking a seat on the wooden bench by the window as he picked up a clipboard off the marble counter. “Yeah. Since about two weeks ago—actually the day you told me about my disease— my vision has sometimes been blurring randomly.”


“Blurring how?” he asked, pulling a ballpoint pen out from his white doctor’s coat and scribbling something onto his clipboard.


“Like, if I had really bad vision. It’s so blurry I can’t make anything out. And I also lose my balance.”


He scrawled another few words down before turning his gaze to me. “Is it happening often?”



I scrunched up my face. “Not really. One time it happened twice in one day, but usually it’s only maybe once or twice a week.”


“Aside from the twice in one day situation, that is pretty normal,” he informed me, straightening out his back. “Your eyes are changing drastically, Rose. They’ll have to make adjustments because they’re rapidly deteriorating.”


Rapidly deteriorating . I didn’t like the sound of that.


“My guess is as your eyes continue to grow worse, they’ll be growing blurrier as well. I’m only guessing that those periods of instability will also happen more often. It might be best if you avoid any dangerous activities.”


“Dangerous activities?”


“Like driving.”


I gaped at him. He was expecting a high school senior who was still trying to have a social life despite the fact she’s going blind to stop driving? He was out of his mind! Completely insane!

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Catching my outraged look, he half-smiled. “I know it sounds unfair, but please think of other’s beside yourself. What if you accidentally crash into someone and kill them?”


I hesitated. He had a point. “You’re right.”


“I’d say your fine for now, but maybe in about a month you should stop,” he continued, now flipping through some pages on his clipboard. “If you do have a dizzy spell while driving, pull over immediately.”


“Yeah,” I said with a wry smile. What I really wanted to say was duh . How much of an idiot did he take me for?


“Have you been having any headaches recently?”


I shook my head.


He nodded. “That’s good.”



“Is that a symptom?”


“Yes. Migraines as well, but I don’t think you have to worry about that right now. That usually comes later. It doesn’t happen in all patients either. This disease is really personalized.”


I snorted. “That’s nice to know.”


“Is there anything else you want to know?”


“Not really. I just wanted to make sure my eyes weren’t crapping out on me before my time is up.”


Now a smile cracked across the doctor’s face. “I’ll run some tests and make sure their health is still up to par. Have you been resting your eyes whenever possible?”


If he meant at night when I was sleeping, then yes. “Sure,” I told him, keeping my face straight.”


“Good. Okay, lets move to the eye examination room then, shall we?”


I sighed, pushing myself up from the bench. Another part I hated about the hospital. The dark room where it seemed my fate had been sealed.





Sunday evening I left the comfortable warmness of my house for the disagreeable chill of my car. Even though it was still only the second week of September, the temperature at night was steadily dropping. To make things worse, a few threatening rumbles of thunders rolled overhead, promising rain in the near future. As I stuck my key in the ignition, the first few drops hit my windshield.


I flipped my wipers on, shifting my car into reverse and backing out of my driveway. The rain was lashing down now, falling faster and faster. My windshield wipers were going as fast as they could, whipping from one side to the other. Luckily for me, Chace’s house was only down the street. Still, my palms were sweaty as I carefully drove down the road. The lingering threat of having one of



my attacks while I was driving terrified me. But I couldn’t not drive. I had places to go, places to be, friends to hang out with…


Chace’s house was almost impossible to see through the downpour. The only things I could make out on it were the lights coming from the second story window on the far left. Not wanting to leave the shelter of my car, I settled for blaring my horn. A minute later I saw his athletic form jogging toward my car, an umbrella in his hand. I wrinkled my nose. I wished I thought of bringing an umbrella.


“Hey, Rosie, nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?” Chace greeted as he slid into passenger seat. To reinforce his words, a brilliant streak of lightning lit up the sky.


“Oh, definitely,” I agreed sarcastically. “We should have had a picnic.”


Chuckling, he snapped his seatbelt and dropped the wet umbrella on the car mat on the floor. “At least we’re going to be inside.”




“You don’t sound that excited. Is there something wrong?”


“Huh? No,” I said honestly, doing a three-point turn on the narrow street. “I just don’t really enjoy the rain.”


He smiled at me understandingly. “Oh. Me either.”


I smiled back. “I’m excited to go bowling with you though.”


“That makes two of us then.”


I laughed, returning my attention to the road. It was only a ten-minute drive to the bowling alley and for the whole duration Chace told me about how his college life was going. Apparently soccer practice there was rough. I wasn’t surprised. College sports were a lot different than high school sports. He showed me a disgusting black and blue bruise on his forearm from where someone had accidentally kicked him, and then another cut on his shin. By the time I parked the car in the closest space near the building, I thought I was going to be sick.



“I also have a bruise on my upper thigh, but I’d have to take my pants off to show you that one-”


“That’s okay,” I told him, forcing a smile. While the prospect of him taking off his pants left me wondering, I really couldn’t stomach seeing another gruesome injury. Not only did blood and I not mix, bruises and the like didn’t either.


He smirked at me. “You can’t handle it?” he guessed correctly.


“Let’s just go bowling,” I urged, unlocking the doors. “And maybe buy a slice of pizza. I forgot to eat before I left.”


“Too excited to see me?”


“No, I just figured if I ate and then saw your face I’d throw it back up,” I teased.




“How come you keep taking me out on dates?” I blurted without thinking. It was the first thing to pop into my mind


Chace stared at me blankly for a moment while I struggled to hold in a blush. “Er…”


“You don’t have to answer that,” I said quickly. Damn, I’d made it awkward quick.


“I keep taking you out on dates because you’re a fun person,” he declared after a few moments. “And every time I see your cute little face, I know I want to see it again and again.”


Now the blush did spread across my face. My heart beat a little faster as well. “I like seeing you too.”


He gave me his trademark heart-stopping grin. “That’s good to know.”


“Yeah,” I mumbled, ducking my head in embarrassment. Maybe I could take his words as a good sign. It was hard for me not to have a crush on him with his personality, his looks, and everything else about him. I just didn’t want to be the only one that wanted our relationship to become more intimate. My biggest fear was Chace doing all this while just wanting to be friends. Even if he called them



dates, I still wasn’t positive. I wanted to be sure. I could definitely see myself falling in love with this man.


With that thought, it felt like a bolt of electricity zipped through me. Falling in love with him? I couldn’t fall in love with Chace. The truth of that shocked me. I was going to be blind in less than four months. He wouldn’t want to be with a blind girl and I wouldn’t blame him. Who would? If I fell in love with him, it would only be a bother to both of us. But still…


It wasn’t fair. Just like every other girl, I wanted to find the perfect boy and stay with him for the rest of my life. Chace might not be that guy, but for now, he was the closest thing to him. And my stupid disease was going to ruin everything. Once my four months was up, that was it. If we were still friends, we might talk, but I’d never see him again. I’d never see his handsome face, or his cute smile ever again. I’d never see the way his eyes lit up when he got excited again. Or the way his hair sometimes fell into his face. Or the way his arms swung higher than normal people’s as he walked.


“Rosie?” Chace started quietly. “What’s wrong?”


I hadn’t realized I’d been tearing over until he spoke. “My eyes…” I whispered, my heart clenching in nervousness.


“What? What’s wrong?” He placed his hands on my shoulders, bringing his head to eyelevel. “You can tell me.”


“My eyes…” I tried again, doing my best to force my words out. I had to tell him now. I had to reveal to him I was losing my vision. He needed to know now, before I grew too attached to him. “They…”


“It’s okay,” he soothed me, running his thumb under my left eye, catching a stray tear. “What about your eyes? Do they hurt? Is there something in them?”


My heart stopped. No, I couldn’t tell him. He was so kind… I wouldn’t be able to deal with the pity in his eyes, or the sympathetic gestures. There was also a chance he wouldn’t want to deal with it and would never want to see me again. I couldn’t



survive these next few months without him. Sure, my friends would be with me, but they weren’t the same as Chace.


“Yeah,” I said finally, wiping my eyes. “I think I got dust in them…”


A look of relief crossed his face. “Oh,” he breathed. “Why don’t you just go to the bathroom and rinse them out then?”


“Sure,” I agreed, forcing a smile. As soon as my back was turned to him, I dropped it. Deep in my heart I knew I was going to regret telling him, but I couldn’t do it. It was selfish of me, but I wanted him with me until the day I couldn’t see him any more.


Then I would let him go.













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