I can’t open my eyes. Glass shards swirl and grind into my eyeballs; something is ripping them up; unstoppable, reflexive tears flood my face.
Please. Please. Please.
Not that. Not blindness.
Pain burrows into my brain with each ray of sunlight, even behind shut lids. I can hardly breathe. It is getting worse. I am so scared.
Les Urgences ( Emergency Room)
Eyes cast down behind sunglasses in this hell of lights, I am led to a back room; an attendant invites me to lie down and asks me what happened. I want to answer but I can’t talk. My words won’t come out because I can’t breathe and I can’t think.
I try, but pain swallows thoughts before I can voice them. I’m not sure what happened. It was an accident. I don’t know what got into my eyes or how.
“Can you open your eyes?” The doctor asks quietly.
I can’t. I know he needs to look at them. My mind has to override the agony and my body’s will to run from added pain.
The lids open. Nothing but opaque white fire stares at me.
“Can you see?”
“No! I can’t!” I turn toward the voice, stupid tears keep flowing; I can’t catch my breath. A faceless mass begins to take shape on my right.
“What do you see?”
“Nothing! Nothing! Nothing but white fog”… My heart has lost its rhythm; my stomach is lurching, my brain is stuffed with pain and a fog of its own.
Please. Not blind.
Let me die now. Please.
My lids close again in another scorching and scoring.
He touches my arm, leaves his hand there as he gently wipes the running tears; after a while he asks me again to open my eyes.
I open them and latch on to where the eyes should be in the face I can’t see. He is looking at me, I know it.
I feel his soul quiet mine in compassion and I surrender. I put it all in his hands, blindly. I trust completely that he will manage this agony. I don’t fight the pain any more, I float in it; I become it.
He says something, leans forward and puts some drops in, bracing his forearm against my chest, then wiping the tears again ever so gently. He doesn’t fuss. He is just there. He waits. I calm down. The pain is ebbing.
“There, c’est fini”, he says softly… I soak up the tenderness like an injured animal… Then he continues: “for now. Relief will only last another fifteen minutes. There is extensive damage, but I can’t tell you what to expect; you need to see a specialist.” He moves away, and then comes back a few minutes later.
“I called, she is expecting you.” He says as he helps me off the bed.
And I leave. I’m on my own again.
I don’t know what he looks like; I never saw his eyes. I just felt them.