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Back You are here: Home Stories Words for the People Short Stories Things You're Supposed to See
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 04:32

Things You're Supposed to See

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It is awkward to link arms, I haven't linked arms with another girl since my pre-teens. I tell her so, she says everyone says that. It doesn't come naturally, I am nervous and hold my left arm high like I am a soldier escorting a lady home after a dance. Her own arm hangs limply in mine, like she might just slip away any moment; I begin to sweat and she trips over the curb.

“I'm sorry, sorry that was the curb.”

“It's okay! You'll get used to it, pretty soon you'll be dragging me around like it's nothing!”


I doubt it. I feel very responsible, I look left and right, look left again. I am still scared to cross the road now that I am crossing for two. How can you ever be sure. Who is to say a car won't speed in from the right? It is dark and cold, we hover on the pavement for some time before I find my nerve and lead her on over the road, I am practically jogging and the other side seems to get further away, I am sure I can hear an engine getting closer, and “Watch this curb!” I say in time, and I watch her feet as she taps the edge with the toe of her boot and finds her way up.


I'm not sure I could do it, any of it, and I think Sara is very brave. I have closed my eyes and tried to walk around my house, who wouldn't. I have closed my eyes while watching TV and I guess I can't understand what she gets out of it, I kept needing to peek, “Who is talking?” I would think and I would open one eye just a sneaky bit, ruining the experiment. The thing about closing your eyes is that you can open them again, so it is not much like being blind at all.

At first I was surprised to find her cooking in the dark, it is a strange thing to see, I didn't get that it didn't mean a thing to her whether the lights were on or off. In fact, I have learned that I am quite stupid when it comes to understanding these things.

Sometimes I pity her, but she wouldn't like that, so I don't tell her. I look at everything she's missing and I think I'd kill myself if I couldn't see it any more. Then I can't stop looking around and I feel greedy.

It is confusing when she asks me what colour something is because I didn't know she knew colours, for she has never seen them. Whatever she thinks is blue is just imaginary, it is not real blue, so what does it matter? I am always honest and tell her “No, that is not a blue cardigan, it is purple.” She seems to understand this, even if her purple is a lie. There is some debate as to whether I and another sighted non-colour blind person see the same thing when we both look at purple, but we shouldn't go down that road, as I have already lost much time to this thought and found it is impossible to describe a colour without comparing it to another colour, so perhaps none of it matters at all and everybody's eyes are liars.


From a way down the street behind us some boys begin to shout and whistle. This is something I am used to because the boys around here often pick on me and follow me a bit. They are young, the newspapers would describe them as “YOUTHS” all capitals and in bold, they are scary and loud, they can be quite mean. I suppose I am too old to still be afraid of YOUTHS. I am at the age where I should tut and strut forward like any confident woman in her mid twenties. Instead I shuffle and pretend they do not exist.

“Turn around darling!” says one of the YOUTHS. We do not turn around. Another whistles again and then they call us lesbians.

In truth I am aware that quite often the YOUTHS pick on me because I am a bit pretty. I wonder if Sara knows I am pretty and then I feel selfish. Sara doesn't seem anxious at all but I am beginning to feel a little sick.

“Aren't you scared?” I ask.

“They sound like they're about ten, ugh, they are pathetic.”

“Yes. I suppose that's true.”

At the zebra crossing I accidentally lead her through a puddle and the stress makes me long for a cigarette. We stop at Tesco and as we walk around the people smile at me. They smile with their mouths closed and their chins down, they seem to be saying, “You must be a very kind person.” I smile back to say, “I am a very caring person, it is nothing, I just care too much.” I only buy ten cigarettes because I don't intend to start smoking again, it is just for tonight, as a treat to myself and to compliment the alcohol.

Towards the village we start talking about her ex boyfriend again. He sounds like a loser, so I tell her that, and she tells me he has a lot of good qualities too. It feels like I can't win and so I stop saying anything except things like, Hmm and Yeah, and Well I suppose it just takes time.

Sara had wanted to go to The Royal Oak all week; I don't like to go out, especially not on a Friday, but now that I'm a Kind Person I decided I would take her and pretend to enjoy myself. The pub is exceptionally warm, unpleasant and packed. Men are looking at us, looking longer at me, and I feel hunted. I don't want the vodka and Coke I order, I don't want to lead Sara through the mess of chair legs and sweaty people through to the lounge, and I am miserable that we are forced to sit next to a man who has spider webs tattooed on his elbows.

As we sit she seems very happy, she still talks about her ex boyfriend and I am bored. If I knew what he looked like it might help me understand whether he is worth thinking about or if she should just forget it and move on. It seems like she is worried she won't meet another boyfriend. She talks about her dreams and how they get back together. In her dreams, what does he look like? I am too scared to ask.

I am in love with someone. In my dreams he holds my hand and as we walk down the street I begin to float away, we laugh and he pulls me back until my feet are back on the cobble stones, but up I go again. They are lovely dreams but sometimes I get scared that I will just keep floating away and I won't be able to control it. I don't know if he loves me back, not yet, it is impossible to tell. I wouldn't die to hold his hand, but I would enjoy it very much.

My hair is sticking to my forehead with my perspiration (that's the ladylike way to say it) and I make sure Sara is okay to sit by herself for a while as I have a cigarette outside. Yes, she'll be okay, but as I leave I turn around to make sure she is still there and doesn't lose herself. She sits facing straight ahead and smiles to herself. Maybe no one has told her that it isn't okay to do that, people just don't sit alone and smile, it is considered “weird”. I don't know why, it should be nice, but it is not.


Once, we were watching television and a programme came on about sharks. Sara told me she had never seen a shark and couldn't picture what they looked like. I told her they were very frightening and their eyes were cold and dead. She said a joke, “Just like mine!” but it only made me uncomfortable and I didn't laugh.

It is amazing to think about what she has never seen. There are some things that everybody should see, just so they know what people are talking about. Like the pyramids and peacocks. The McDonald's 'M' and Mickey Mouse. A blue whale, a killer whale and a swastika. Father Christmas, a panda and The Empire State building. Van Gogh's paintings, a volcano, the Sistine chapel, lightning, Notre Dame, Jurassic Park, Pompeii and Lady Gaga.

Thinking about it makes me dizzy. Or the vodka and the cigarette, I do not know which, maybe it is everything. I suppose she must be used to not seeing things but I am not quite used to her not seeing them yet. I suppose it just takes time.

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Amy Lloyd

Amy is 25 and lives in Cardiff. She is currently writing her first novel.

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