Bad, Worse, Great

by Doreen F

"This day cannot get much worse", Jerome thought upon awaking from a nightmare. He had dreamt that he was in a plane which was about to crash. His shirt was wet. Squinting at his watch he found out that it was not as early as he had expected, close to 6.00. He had to get up at 6.45 to go to work. He turned towards his drawer to reach for his glasses and stopped dead. They were not there. Could he have knocked them down during this horrible nightmare? Jerome was now fully awake and leaned closely to the drawer to see whether his glasses were really not there. They were not there. Carefully he climbed out of bed and started patting the floor in search of his glasses. Panic started to rise. Jeromeís eyesight was really bad; he had around -10.00 dioptres in both eyes with some astigmatism. He had contact lenses which he wore rather often, but he even had difficulties moving around in his own flat or finding his contact lens case. How could he go to work? Especially today, today was the closing of their project and he really had to be there to present it together with his colleagues in front of the possible buyers.

Sighing in relief when his hands touched his glasses which were underneath his bed, he got up and went to the bathroom. There Jerome took a shower and put in his contacts. He always carried a pair of backup glasses with him in case he had any trouble with his contacts. So far everything had been fine at this company and he had so far not needed to wear his glasses at work except once at the end of the day when he had an appointment at the ophthalmologist. Jerome was really vain about wearing glasses in public or at least at some place where people might know him. At home he usually took the contacts out to give his eyes a rest.

Jerome had first worked as a flight attendant. He loved this job, but knew that with his impairing vision he was never going to do this for a long time. Jerome had cheated his way into getting this job, but his superiors soon found out that his vision was worse than their rather rigid limits permitted. At the beginning it had been fine, but since the air on the aircraft had been really dry, he had serious problems with his sore eyes although he took eye drops whenever he could. Once his boss had seen him in glasses, Jerome had to take a vision test and failed. So he started to work at the company where he was now. He had moved to another city so as not to see anyone he knew anymore. His girlfriend, also a flight attendant, left him for another flight attendant when she found out that he could not this job anymore because of his bad vision.

Upon eating breakfast Jerome reviewed the notes of the presentation once more. The presentation was to take place in the afternoon and he had other things to work on in the morning. When he left his flat, Jerome felt really excited. Even though the day had started with his nightmare, Jerome was confident that everything was going to be fine. The weather was nice too.

At work he met with his colleagues from the project and they reviewed their presentation one more time and decided to meet again an hour before the presentation. Jerome felt really good and in his lunch break he chatted with a really attractive colleague of his. Even though they had been working together on the project, they had never talked much about anything but work. He had never dared to ask her anything about her life since he felt extremely attracted to her. Jerome had been watching her during their work. She was really gorgeous and her name was cute, Stella.

When the project team met an hour before the presentation, all of them were really excited, but also slightly nervous. What if anything went wrong? While preparing for their great moment, Jerome felt something irritating in his eye. He kept blinking and rubbing it gently, but it still hurt and he was distracted from the conversation. So he excused himself and went to the menís room to take out his contact. His eye was a little red and slightly swollen. Jerome took out the lens and gave his eye some rest for a few moments before he put in the contact again. Everything seemed okay and the irritation was gone. He made his way back to his group and felt confident that everything would be just fine.

The presentation was about to begin in 5 minutes, when Jeromeís eye started bothering him again. "Whatís wrong, why now? Itís so typical that this has to happen right now. What a day!", he thought as he headed to the restroom again. The eye was really red now and despite removing the contact it did not get much better. He waited for as long as he could, then he put in his contact and hoped it would not bother him during the presentation.

The presentation was great, the company and the potential buyers were thrilled by their innovative approach. It could not have been better. So they decided to go out after work to celebrate their successful presentation. Jerome was so happy everything had gone as planned and his contact lens had not been bothering during the presentation, but now it started irritating him again. He had to take out his contacts. At the menís room there was one of his colleagues, but Jerome did not care about it. The pain was too much.

"Ah, trouble with you contacts, eh?"

"Yeah, I donít know what it is, but I have to take it out."

"I know what you mean, sometimes they keep bothering you and you donít know why."

"You have contacts too?"

"Yeah, but one doesnít notice, does he? I didnít know you had them until today. Do you have your glasses with you?"

"I never go without them; my vision is really bad, you know."

"Wow, that must be horrible. Iím only -3.00, but even Iím kind of lost without glasses."

"Lucky you, Iím -10.00."

"Oh my God, thatís high man."

In the meantime Jerome had taken out his contacts and put them into their case and taken out his glasses. He put them on now and expected a nasty comment.

"Theyíre really strong! May I try them on?"

"Of course, here you are."

"Incredible, Iíve never seen glasses as thick as yours, but as long as they help you see, itís great, isnít it?"

"Certainly, can I get them back now?"

"Of course, they really suit you by the way."

"Thanks I can need some encouragement. I hardly ever wear them outside my flat and now weíre going out and this is a really strange feeling, you know."

"Donít worry about it. Itíll be fine. Come on! The others will be waiting for us."

They returned to the others and Jerome felt really self-conscious, but most of them hardly seemed to notice he was wearing glasses. At least they did not react in a negative way. He noticed Stellaís surprised and rather curious look though. What would she think of it?

They went out to some fancy restaurant and had a rather delicious dinner. Then they went on to a club. The music was not bad and the cocktails were even better. After some time Stella approached Jerome and asked him if he wanted to dance. He agreed and smiled. They were really lucky since they DJ put on some extremely good songs and time passed really quickly. When they returned to their table there was hardly anyone left. It was past midnight and although the next day was Saturday some had family and had to get home. Jerome asked Stella, if he could walk her home and she agreed.

It was a nice long walk, although it was rather chilly outside. Stella lived quite close to Jeromeís place. They talked all the way about this and that and Jerome felt really great. When they reached Stellaís apartment, she asked him, if he wanted to come up to take a look at her CD collection about which they had been talking among other things. He agreed and they went up to the top floor of the building in a really old elevator.

"Usually I take the stairs. Itís a good exercise and I donít trust this thing!"

"Why? Because of the weird sounds it produces or because of the bars around the door?"

"Ha-ha, well, and among other things. I only use it, when I was shopping and my shopping bag is really heavy."

"I wouldnít use it much either, I guess."

"Wow, we made it. Here we are and weíre still alive!"

"On my way down Iíll certainly use the stairs or are they even worse?"

"No, theyíre fine, but quite dark. The lighting is not so good and you know, probably I should climb the wall to get up here."

"Dark? Isnít that dangerous?"

"Not really, I mean, I know the stairs really well."

"So how am I going to get down again? At night my eyesight is even worse than in daylight."

"Iím convinced weíll find a way. Here we are. Do you want something to drink?"

"Iíd love to. Your flatís incredible. Itís so huge and the view of the city is great."

"Yeah, especially at night it is beautiful. Coke alright?"

"Yes, thanks. I think I can see the house where I live in."

"Really, which one is it?"

Stella stood next to him and he showed her the house. It was completely dark now, but he knew for sure it was his.

"Iíve seen this house before, itís really nice. When I go jogging I usually pass it by."

"Thatís so funny. We live that close to each other and didnít know it until today."

"There are many things we didnít know and some we still donít know about each other."

"Youíre right, since we only started talking about something else but work today."

"Yeah, and I havenít seen you in glasses before."

"Right. My contacts were bothering me quite a lot today. At least they were okay during the presentation. But after that I couldnít tolerate them any longer. Josh encouraged me though. Did you know he had contact lenses?"

"No, but I didnít know you had them Ė well I suspected you might, I wasnít sure."

"How come?"

"Well, once you hurried to the menís room and I walked by and said hello, but you did not react. Usually youíre the kind of person to stop and talk, but you nearly walked into me."

"I guess I was having trouble with my contacts then. I do remember that day."

"You look good in glasses though."

"Really, do you think so?"

"Of course, youíre very handsome with glasses and without, honestly."

"Thatís so sweet of you to say. Youíre really cute. But donít you think they are strong and ugly?"

"Donít be stupid. You didnít ask for weak eyes and you chose the right frames. Youíre gorgeous."

They were standing really close to each other enjoying the view, but having said that they turned towards each other, looked at each other and kissed.

Jerome did not know that Stella had always been a huge glasses fetishist and had always wanted a bespectacled boyfriend. Furthermore she really fell for strong prescriptions. She had been fantasizing ever since that very day about Jerome in glasses or Jerome coming to work in glasses or Jerome complaining about the dry air. She had tried to spot the contacts in his eyes and when she finally did, she knew she had to get to know him better. Stella had felt attracted to him before she even knew he had contacts, but ever since she knew about them, she was kind of obsessed, but too shy to talk to him much. That day she had summoned her courage to ask him to have lunch together and everything was so easy. Jerome was so nice. She had noticed that he was having trouble with his contacts, but she would not have dreamed of the way he looked like in glasses. She nearly fainted when she saw him. Wow, that had been beyond her wildest dreams. And now he was standing in her flat, they had been kissing. This was as good as it got.