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Eerie But Effective

, , , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: fedupkat | April 16, 2021

My friend and I are both about nineteen or twenty years old in the early 1980s. [Friend] is blind — she had ocular melanoma — so she has an advocate who goes everywhere with her on the university campus. They make sure she makes it safely to and from each of her classes and assist her with test-taking, etc. We meet when [Friend] walks by my table in the Student Union Hall, bumps my coffee, and spills it all over both of us. We’ve been friends ever since.

Because my friend lives off-campus with her parents and I live in an off-campus apartment a few blocks away, I drive every day to school. We coordinate our class schedules so that I can drop her off with her advocate in the morning and in the afternoon, the advocate brings her to me and I take her home.

One semester, [Friend]’s last class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday ends an hour before mine. Normally, her advocate hangs out with her in the Student Union Hall to wait for me. Some Fridays, [Friend] insists that the advocate bring her to the building where I have class to wait for me there — closer to where I parked the car — and the advocate can go home a little early. I always take the same route out of the building and know to be on the lookout for her.

Today, [Friend] is in her usual spot in the lobby. She is sitting on the floor — there are no seats — with her back against the wall, her cane folded beside her, tinted glasses on, and appearing to stare straight ahead. To her left are the lobby doors, about thirty feet away.

She’s been sitting there for maybe fifty or fifty-five minutes when she hears what sounds like squeaky wheels rolling over the floor. She doesn’t bother to call out and just thinks it’s maybe the janitorial staff with those mop buckets on wheels getting an early start on mopping. Then, she hears someone push the panic bar on one of the lobby’s double doors and the wheels banging over the metal threshold. A moment later, a woman’s voice fills the empty lobby.

Woman: “What the h*** is wrong with you young people? Never in my life have I seen so many inconsiderate brats.”

Friend: “I’m sorry?”

Woman: “And you should be, young lady. You could see that I needed help with this hand truck, but you just sat there and did absolutely nothing. Didn’t anyone teach you manners?”

Friend: “I didn’t see you.”

Woman: “How could you not see me? I’m the only other person here.”

Friend: “I’m sorry, but I didn’t see you. I’m blind.”

Woman: “You really expect me to believe that? Blind people can’t go to college. You’re just too lazy to get off the floor.”

My friend pulls her cane around, unfolds it, and gets to her feet.

Friend: “Yes, ma’am, I am blind, and I can go to college.”

Classes start letting out and students start beginning to leave or change classes. I come around the corner.

Me: “What’s going on?”

Woman: “This girl expects me to believe she’s blind.”

Me: “She is.”

Woman: “That’s a load of crap. Prove it.”

The woman walks up to [Friend] and takes the tinted glasses from her face.

Woman: “See?”

She directs this to the students who are hanging around to watch the drama as if she expects them to agree with her or take her side).

Woman: “She can see. There is nothing wrong with her eyes. She’s not really blind.”

As I stated earlier, my friend had ocular melanoma. As a result, her eyes were surgically removed, and she was fitted with prostheses that look real at a quick glance but don’t “move” like normal eyes and are a bit flat in their color. It’s kind of like looking into the eyes of a very old doll.

However, the best part of [Friend]’s eyes: they are removable! She reaches up, pops one eyeball out, and holds it out to the woman

Friend: “Here, look through this and tell me if you can see anything.”

The woman starts backing away, screeching loudly.

Woman: “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”

The woman backs away from us so fast that she trips over her own, lands on her butt, and continues to scoot away. When she gets to the door, she pulls herself up, grabs her hand truck, and leaves. [Friend] maneuvers the eye back into the socket. The small crowd of students starts clapping and laughing and a few give [Friend] a pat on the back.

Friend: *Sighing dramatically* “So much for that lady seeing things through my eyes, huh?”

Geez, I love her humor!

This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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