THE POLICE OFFICER

by Doreen F.

Dennis had wanted to be a police officer ever since he was a child. Now being in his late twenties he was living his dream. He worked at the CID and had recently been promoted to DS. It felt great to be called Sergeant. He had more liberties and was really devoted to his work. According to his superiors Dennis really had everything a good cop needed. The only part of his dream which had not come true yet was that he was still single. He had had some relationships, but most of them did not last long because of his job, especially since he had worked in the CID. Dennis did not have much time and as soon as he was called to work there was no point arguing.

His thirtieth birthday was coming closer and somehow Dennis was feeling lonelier when he came home in the evening. Watching TV and reading was not that much fun anymore and Dennis kept wondering what was going on. Even at work some of his colleagues seemed to notice that he had changed. The only thing he could not work out was why?

So recently Dennis started going out more often, but it was not much fun since most of his friends were already happily married and some of them even had children. Not that Dennis was keen on having children, but he would not mind having a woman to share his life with. His parents were already worried about him and his sister was always trying to set him up on dates with friends of her who had been recently divorced.

The worst thing was that work seemed to suffer. Dennis had always been really reliable, but lately his superiors noticed so inconsistencies in his work. In his current case Dennis was working with his favourite DI, but even then he did have a hard time. It felt as if everyone wanted him to suffer. He had to do the most boring jobs and was developing a terrible headache which made work almost impossible. During the last months Dennis had taken more aspirin than in his entire life and he knew he had to see a doctor, but he was scared. What if he had a brain tumour? He did not even want to think about it. So he kept ignoring the signs his body was sending out.

The current case consisted of spending days in the library reading old newspaper in order to find a link the murders of old people in their community. Dennis had been appointed the task of reading the townís old newspaper which was on microfiche. He was doing this together with a DC who had come to their CID only a few weeks ago. She was working really efficiently and Dennis could only admire the way she worked. She seemed to be only slightly younger than him and he liked the way she looked.

It was the third day they spent in the library. They had started in the morning and after less than an hour Dennis felt the headache hitting him full force. He strained to concentrate but it got worse. After a couple of minutes he excused himself to take an aspirin. The headache remained and after some time it got even worse. Dennis tried to go on with his research, but did not make much progress.

During the lunch break he and Nadine, the DC, were sitting in the library cafeteria.

"Thatís such a boring assignment, I hope weíll be done by tomorrow."

"Yes, itís horrible and I keep getting these headaches which make it even worse."

"You donít look good. Are you sure youíre okay. Youíre eyes are bloodshot and you look exhausted. Been partying all night?"

"No, I went to bed quite early. I donít know whatís wrong with me."

"You should see a doctor, Dennis, it might be something serious."

"Thatís exactly why I donít want to, Nadine."

"But itís not getting better, is it?" He shook his head. "It might be nothing and the doc could help you easily and youíve been suffering unnecessarily all the time."

"Youíre right. Iíll make an appointment for tomorrow."

"You can go today. You havenít been of much help anyway", she smiled a warm smile.

"I wonít deny that. Iíd be grateful. Thanks a bunch."

"Youíre welcome, but you have to take me out some day, okay?"

"Certainly, Iíd love to."

When Dennis had left Nadine was still smiling. Dennis was such a nice guy; she hoped he was not seriously ill. And she was looking forward to their date."

At the doctor Dennis told him about the terrible headaches he was having. The doctor did some tests and then he said, "I donít think youíre seriously ill, but tell me, lad, after youíve joined the police, did you ever have your eyes tested again?"

"No, I never had any trouble seeing anything. Why?"

"After all these tests and according to what youíve told me, you seem to need glasses."

"But I can see perfectly well."

"Go and see an ophthalmologist, thatís my advice."

"Okay, by doctor."

"My eyes are great", Dennis thought to himself. He could read the carsí license plates without any problems. He looked at his watch and cursed himself for buying a watch with such a small display. Then he went home. To his surprise Nadine called him and wanted to know what the doctor had said. Since Dennis did not have anyone else to confide in he told her everything concluding that he thought his vision was perfect. "Yeah, thatís what my friend thought, when we joined the police. Only to be told his eyes were so bad he could not even join."

"Great, keep telling me these horror stories, I feel better already", Dennis snapped.

"Iím sorry, Dennis. Have you made an appointment at the eye doctor yet?"

"Yeah, tomorrow morning. Are you done at the library?"

"Not quite. Call me when youíre done and weíll meet, okay?"

"Okay and thanks for calling."

"No problem, bye."

In the morning Dennis went to the ophthalmologist. He had never liked going to any kind of doctor. When he was called in there was a man in his thirties wearing glasses. Dennis had imagined the doctor being close to retirement, but there was a man not much older than him. The doctor explained everything he did and after plenty of tests he told Dennis that he was slightly farsighted and had some astigmatism as well, which had lead to his headaches. Dennis was shocked. Old people were farsighted, but not him, he was not even thirty.

"But I can still be a policeman, right?"

The doctor laughed. "Of course, you can, youíre certainly within the limits. No need to worry about it. I think your work might improve as soon as you get glasses."

"You think so? How much will I have to wear them?"

"As much as you like, I would say. Certainly for reading and whenever you get a headache. In my experience it would be most comfortable to wear them all the time, but you have to find out for yourself."

"What about contact lenses?"

"From what I have found out during the test you have fairly dry eyes, so I wouldnít recommend that."

After getting his prescription Dennis called Nadine.

"Hi, how did you appointment go?"

"The doctor said I need glasses. Iím farsighted."

"Need some help to pick frames? Iíve just finished reading these boring newspaper articles."

"That would be nice."

They met in front of the optician and Nadine and the optometrist helped Dennis pick out some nice frames which would be suitable for police work. They were black wire-rims slightly oval in shape and Nadine thought they looked really cute on him, which she did not say. Dennis was told to pick them up in the late afternoon.

For the rest of the day he and Nadine did some work on their case without making much progress. Dennis asked when Nadine would like their date to take place. It was Thursday, so she suggested Friday evening. Dennis said he would pick her up.

After work Dennis went to the optician to collect his glasses. The assistant adjusted his glasses, but Dennis did not really dare look through them. He put them into the hard case and went to his car. Once inside he took out the glasses and put them on. Everything looked weird, slightly blurred. He looked at himself in the mirror and thought he looked okay. Nadine had helped him pick nice frames. Dennis took off the glasses for his drive home. It was getting dark and he felt that his eyes were straining and the headache was about to come. As soon as he got home he put on his glasses and felt his eyes relax. Since his headache was gone Dennis kept wearing the glasses, although he felt that the floor was moving.

In the morning Dennis was thinking whether to wear the glasses or not. He knew what some of his colleagues were about to say, but he could cope with their comments a lot better than with the headache. So he put on the glasses and despite some raised eyebrows the others kept quiet. Nadine smiled and complimented him and he felt that work was a lot easier. He did not even get a headache by the end of the day. What was more he had a date with Nadine and he was really looking forward to it. Once throughout the day when Dennis glanced at his watch he noticed that he could actually read it without problems when he was wearing his glasses. So the display had not been too small, his eyes had been too weak. He smiled, took off his glasses for a moment and glanced at his watch which was a blur. This was a shock. Before he had been able to see it, but now his eyes had adjusted to the correction and his vision without glasses was not the way it used to be. After some time he could see almost as Ďgoodí as before, but the headache came back as well.

Dennis gave in and put on his glasses again. He did not care that he was wearing glasses for as long as the headache was gone and he had a cute colleague, who he was having dinner with that evening. Nadine was smiling at him and Dennis smiled back at her.

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