By Maria T.
This story is written from entries from my journal. I began keeping a journal when I was in the 6th grade. It was around that time that I got my first pair of glasses and I wanted to put my thoughts down on paper. For my birthday, my parents gave a very nice, hard bound covered journal. That became the beginning of this story.
I’m two years younger than my brother and was looking forward to starting junior high school after summer. I want to mention that I just got glasses and was feeling odd about it. My mother is very nearsighted and I shouldn’t be surprised that now I need glasses to see things at a distance. Fortunately for me, I only need my glasses to watch television, at the movies, and in school to see the board.
The story of my brother is interesting. He has had a harder time wearing glasses. He’s two years older than me and got his glasses four years ago. At first, he never wore them. I used to enjoy watching him squint all the time to see things at a distance. My parents didn’t seem to be bothered that much about his not wearing glasses. My dad never said anything, but occasionally my mom would tell him to wear his glasses, but he just ignored her.
First, let me tell you about my brother. I’ll describe him as best as I can. You have to understand that I’m his younger sister and might be a little critical of him. My brother Dan is a total jock. He takes after my dad, who was an all star athlete in every sport he tried. Dan was following in his footsteps.
He started playing baseball as soon as he could walk, it seems. His sport of choice became football, but he still plays on the high school baseball team in the spring. My dad would spend weekends practicing with him and coaching every little league team he played on. It was a given that Dan would try out for the junior varsity football team as soon as he became a 9th grader.
Dad was hard on Dan. When he had a bad game, dad critiqued his play. I actually felt sorry for my brother. I can still remember the day Dan didn’t get one hit when his team went to the playoffs. I was sitting in the stands with my mom and cheering his little league team on and watched the whole thing.
By this time, I knew Dan was very nearsighted. I’d been seeing him squint more and more. Sometimes he’d wear his glasses around the house and forget he was wearing them. I assumed he enjoyed the clear vision he got from his glasses. Playing baseball with glasses was out of the question in my father’s mind.
I knew Dan couldn’t see the baseball very well. I saw him playing first base and missing balls thrown to him. So the coach moved him to 2nd base. His hitting suffered the most. It was after that game that my dad came down hard on Dan. I listened to the argument from the other room. My brother was 13 at that time. My mom defended him by telling the truth.
“He didn’t get a hit because he can’t see the ball!” She told my father.
“That’s nonsense.” My father just disregarded her reason. Meanwhile my brother sat there, wearing his glasses.
“It’s Ok, dad, I’m fine. I’ll work harder during practice.” Dan said not wanting to admit that he couldn’t see without his glasses on. My mom stormed out of the room.
My brother’s baseball career began to take a back seat to the more barbaric football, where good vision wasn’t as important. Dan had the strong build for a boy his age. He was fearless and always participated in a tackle. My father was proud. Football was the sport that had made my dad a sports hero in high school. Dan was going in the same direction.
I still remember the day my mom took me and Dan to get our eyes checked. I was shocked to find out I couldn’t read the 20/20 line on the eye chart. The doctor said, “You need glasses!” I was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. Yet, for what ever reason, I secretly wanted to wear glasses and be nearsighted like my brother.
It was fun choosing frames. I picked some nice brown oval frames. My brother also needed new glasses. I heard my mom saying that Dan had a “dramatic” increase in his prescription. The doctor insisted that he wear his glasses full time. Dan begged for contact lenses and my mom said yes. That was the end of Dan walking around in a blur.
Dan started his contact lens training and from then on he put the contacts in every morning. When we went to pick up our glasses, I wore mine home. I was surprised at how much clearer my vision was with them on. Dan didn’t wear his, he was in contacts. I caught him staring at me and I asked him what his problem was. He simply said, “You look like a dork with those glasses on.” I hated him for that.
Later that evening, he wore his new glasses. They were wired rimmed and they looked a lot stronger than mine because the lenses stuck out. It dawned on me how different his new glasses made my brother look. As he sat at the kitchen table doing his homework, he looked like a nerd. I was being extra critical of him because he had made fun of me. I got carried away at staring at him.
“What are you looking at?” He said adjusting his new glasses.
“At you…and how nerdy you look.” I said with a laugh.
He got up and chased me into the living room. I hid behind my dad, who was sitting on the couch watching TV. My dad seemed oblivious to what Dan was trying to do. He just tried to shoo us away from him. I told him Dan was chasing me. Dad got up and Dan retreated back into the kitchen. My dad seemed to notice my glasses for the first time at that moment.
“Don’t you just look so pretty, just like your mother.” He said and kissed the top of my head. It seemed to make me feel better, especially after Dan had said I looked like a dork.
Well, after that, my glasses stayed in their case most of the time. Dan wore his contacts and I only saw him in glasses, when he woke up late on the weekends.
I wore my glasses at school, but as the time passed I stopped that too. I was able to manage by squinting and I got by. Junior High was tough because that’s when guys start noticing girls and I didn’t want to have any flaws. It seemed like my parents had forgotten about my glasses through my two years in junior high. By the end of 8th grade, I knew that I was more nearsighted. I started wearing my glasses more at home.
During those years, my brother had been to the eye doctor two times. My mom made him get a pair of glasses in his current prescription as a back up. By now he was a sophomore in high school and very popular in school. He was one of the best athletes in school. He played football better than baseball, but was recognized for both. My dad was talking about Dan getting a football scholarship for college. When he turned 16, he got his drivers license and dad got him a car. Now he was a popular guy with wheels. That’s when he started dating Melinda.
I was getting ready to start high school. My mom said I should get my eyes checked over the summer. I did and was told I needed to wear my glasses all the time. Upon hearing that news, I begged my mom for contact lenses and she said yes. So I ended up with contacts and a new pair of glasses. My glasses looked stronger than my first pair, but they didn’t look as strong as those glasses my brother had last worn. I was happy to wear contacts now that I was starting high school.
I know my brother had new glasses, but I had never seen them. I couldn’t contain my curiosity. I wanted to see how much stronger his glasses were as compared to mine. So while he was at football practice, I snuck into his room. His room was a mess, but on his desk a soft leather-like case caught my attention. I really hoped my mom wouldn’t catch me in Dan’s room. Quickly, I picked up the case and opened it. I pulled the brown, plastic framed glasses. I slowly opened the arms and held them up in the light. The lenses looked so thick. I couldn’t believe how bad his eyes had gotten in just a few short years. I knew my mom was nearsighted, but I think my brother already wore stronger glasses than hers.
I walked over to his mirror and slowly placed the glasses on my face. I could barely see anything out of them. The fact that my contacts were in, probably didn’t help. The glasses made me look blind. I now knew my brother must be blind as a bat without his contacts. I began to wonder if my eyes would get this bad. I was 14 and already needing glasses to see all the time. It seemed that Dan’s eyes were much worse than mine at 14.
“Stephanie! Stephanie!” I heard my mom calling me. I quickly put the glasses back and ran to the closed bedroom door. Too late, she caught me in his room. I know my face turned red, by my mom’s weird expression.
“What are you doing in your brother’s room?” She asked with suspicion.
“I was looking for my iPod. I thought he took it.” I quickly answered, feeling totally embarrassed that I had been in there trying on my brother’s glasses. My mother seemed to take my answer and didn’t mention anything to him later.
I was doing homework before dinner when my brother came home after practice. I heard Dan drop all his gear and complain. Dad was working late and my mom went to greet him.
“What’s wrong?” My mom asked.
“Mom! I lost a contact on the field and couldn’t see a thing.” He was angry. I listened from the other room.
“Did you have your glasses with you?” Mom asked.
“No way! I can’t practice in glasses! Mom!”
“How did you drive home?” My mom practically shrieked the words.
“I closed one eye and drove home.”
“Oh Dan! Why do you chance it! The eye doctor said you should always have your glasses with you. You know how bad your eyes are.” She said.
Nothing more was said and I heard him go upstairs to shower. I wondered why this whole thing was so interesting to me. Why did my brother’s vision problems fascinate me? I must be a crazy weird person, I thought to myself.
The phone rang and my mom answered. She looked at me and handed me the phone. It was the high school dance teacher. She was calling to congratulate me on making the cheerleading squad. I hung up the phone and started screaming and jumping up and down, right as my father came home. My parents looked at me like I was nuts.
“I made the cheerleading team!” I managed to get out. My mother screamed and came to hug me. My dad gave me a big hug. Dan walked into the room after his shower and wondered what was going on. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of him wearing his glasses. The same ones I had tried on earlier. This must have been the first time he wore them outside his room.
“What the heck?” He said. Surprisingly, he looked very comfortable wearing his glasses. They looked strong. I compared them to my mom’s and they were definitely thicker than hers.
“Your sister made the cheerleading squad.” Mom said.
“Oh wow, my sis, with pom poms on the sideline. I wonder why Melinda didn’t tell me.” Dan looked down at his cell phone to see if he’d missed any text messages from his girlfriend. She was already a cheerleader and she had watched me try out.
It was cute how Dan adjusted his glasses to look down at his phone. It made me wonder if pretty Melinda had ever seen him in his thick glasses. Probably not, since I only saw them together at school. He never brought her over and therefore hardly knew her. I guess I would be getting to know her a lot more now.
During dinner, my mom spent her time talking about my uniform and wondered what else I needed. For once my brother seemed annoyed that he wasn’t the center of attention. My dad changed that.
“Dan, it’s been a while since I saw you in your glasses.” Dad said.
Suddenly, Dan seemed to get self conscious. “Today, I lost a contact at practice. I didn’t want to open up a new pack of lenses tonight. So glasses it is for tonight.”
“Can you tell your son that he needs to carry his glasses with him to school!” My mom said.
“Why is that?” My dad was clueless about vision.
“Because his eyes are bad. Just look at his glasses! Have you noticed how thick they are? And he drove home with one eye closed!” My mom held nothing back. I saw my brother slide a little lower in his chair.
My dad took a hard look at Dan. I watched with extreme curiosity. “Dan, those are pretty close to coke bottles, son. Listen to your mother and do what’s best.” I saw my brother made so vulnerable in front of my eyes. He glanced at me and gave me a dirty look behind those thick lenses.
“What about her!” He said out of no where and pointed to me. I froze in my chair.
“Mother, I always carry my glasses with me in my backpack. Besides, I don’t drive, yet. I could manage without my contacts or glasses.” I said.
Dan looked at me furiously. I think he was actually jealous that my eyesight was better than his.
“I know you do, honey.” My mother said, which further angered Dan.
He stormed out the room and ran up the stairs. I had never seen him so angry at me. I helped mom with the dishes and then went upstairs to my room for the rest of the evening. I took my contacts out and wore my glasses as I usually did after dinner.
Dan was playing loud music in his room. He would probably do that until dad told him to shut it off. I just closed my door and worked on homework. The loud knock on my door startled me.
“Steph!” I heard my brother say.
“Come in.” I said without getting up from my desk. He came in and sat on my bed. My room was clean and organized, unlike his mess. I was again fascinated by his glasses and how strong they looked on him.
“Melinda says she’s happy you made the team. If you need any guidance, she’ll be there for you.” He said.
“Oh that’s nice of her. I appreciate that. I am kind of nervous with all the older girls who’ve been on the team for years.”
“You’ll be fine, sis. Talent runs in the family.” He said and got up to leave.
“Wait!” I said. He stopped and turned to look at me. “I just wanted to tell you that glasses suit you well.” I couldn’t believe those words had just come out of my mouth.
He looked surprised about it, too. “Thanks, I know you’re just being nice.”
“No, I really mean it.”
Well, cheerleading practice went well. I got to know Melinda much better. She was so into my brother. She always asked for my opinion of what she was wearing and whether Dan would like it. What was worse was when she spoke about my brother using words like, hot, hunk, sexy. I just didn’t want to hear that about my brother. One day I was so tempted to tell her that my brother wore thick coke bottle glasses. I just wanted to see her jaw drop. I knew she had no clue that brother wore glasses.
Speaking of boys with glasses, I could have had any boy on campus. I saw the way boys in my grade looked at me when I wore my uniform to school for pep rallies. Even the older boys knew I was Dan’s little sister and they wanted to go out with me too. But, not any boy was good enough for me. Only one boy caught my attention. He was older than me and I knew he was in my brother’s Math class.
He wasn’t a jock and he wasn’t in student government. He was just a plain, average guy. I thought he was handsome and best of all, he seemed unattached. He had one great asset. He wore glasses as strong as my brothers. The desire to meet him became greater and greater as time passed. At pep rallies I scanned the audience in search of my bespectacled honey. He never paid attention. He was always talking to these nerdy friends of his. I even made a point of passing by him and brushing my little skirt against him, hoping for an “excuse me”, but nothing.
He was so infuriating, but that made him more desirable. I watched him in the morning before school. He sat with a group of guys and I knew they were talking science fiction novels. I liked the way he dressed. He wore a leather jacket, jeans and casual shirts. His glasses were black and seemed from another era. He looked like he stepped out a 1950’s catalog. When he read his book, his heavy glasses slid down his nose and he had to constantly adjust them. I had the biggest crush on my unnamed bespectacled guy.
That afternoon, I was determined to find out more about him. I knocked on my brother’s door. He was on his cell phone with Melinda. He hung up with her and paid attention to me.
“What’s up Stephanie?” He asked. No glasses on my brother. It had been weeks since he’d last worn them in front of me.
“Can I talk to you?” I asked cautiously and walked into his messy room. I sat on his unmade bed.
“Sure, Steph. Something bothering you?” He asked
“Kind of. I need to find out who someone is. He’s in your Math class. I saw him come out of there.”
Dan got a big smile on his face. “Oh? Someone you like?”
“Maybe?” I smiled back
“What’s he look like?”
“Dark hair, wears a leather jacket, often, tall, slender….”
Dan started laughing, which put me off. I felt like leaving and even started getting up to leave. He grabbed my arm and held me down. “Sorry.” He said. “I think I know who you’re talking about.” He said with a look like he was about to burst into laughter. “Except, you didn’t mention that he wears these coke bottle glasses and is really geeky. He’s into all that nerdy stuff.”
I just sat there with my arms crossed in front of my chest and said proudly. “Yea, I believe that’s him.”
“But Stephanie…He’s a geek. He’s not your type. Trust me, you have nothing in common with him.”
“Dan, you’re being unfair! How do you know?” I foolishly felt tears welling up in my eyes.
“Oh crap, you really like him.” Dan looked disturbed by it all. He took his hand and ran it through his short hair.
“Yes.” Was my simple answer and he shook his head with disappointment. “Daniel, just give me a chance to meet him. It might not be work out, but give me the chance. You can introduce me, can’t you?” I started to sound too excited.
“I don’t know, Stephanie, you’re my little sister. I wouldn’t want you to go out with him.” He paused. “On the other hand I wouldn’t want you to go out with Brandon, either.”
“What are you talking about?” I was confused.
“Oh Brandon, wants me to introduce you to him. He’s got a crush on you.”
“Brandon, the linebacker?” I shivered. “Ugh! Never!”
“OK, well, I wouldn’t let you go out with him either. He’s…..well….never mind.”
There was silence as I watched Dan run his hand through his hair several times again.
“Please?” I said softly.
“OK, it’s against my better judgment. You realize that I have absolutely nothing in common with, Tom Benson. I don’t even talk to the guy in class. He’s like this genius when it comes to math.”
“You have one thing in common,” I said with a smile. “You both wear thick glasses.”
“Oh no! I’m not wearing glasses out in public so that me and Tom can become buds for my little sister. Get that out of your head!”
This time I laughed. We made plans for Dan to approach Tom at school tomorrow. Dan actually hatched a pretty good plan. He was going to start a conversation about Math and I was just going to drop by. I know this was hard for Dan, because he’d have to get away from Melinda and his buddies before school just so that he could talk to Tom.
In the morning, I was so nervous, I could hardly get my make up on right. I rode into school with Dan and we parted at our lockers. Dan saw Tom with his group of geeks in the usual place. I watched from a short distance away.
Dan casually approached Tom in his usual jock walk. I saw them start talking and Tom reached into his backpack to pull the math book out. That was my cue. I slowly walked over to them. The walk seemed to take for ever. When I got there, Tom was telling Dan how to complete problem number 10. Tom didn’t even stop to acknowledge my presence. I waited for him to stop his explanation. Meanwhile I had all four of his friends smiling at me. I politely smiled back at them.
“Thanks, Tom, I think I got it now.” Dan said.
“Sure, not a problem.” Tom said and finally looked at me and smiled. I almost fainted right on the spot. He looked cuter close up, then I imagined.
“Hey, this is my sister, Stephanie. Stephanie this is Tom.” My brother smiled at me.
“Hey.” Tom said and kind of waved at me.
“Hi” I felt like a dork.
“There you are Dan!” It was Melinda. “Where were you? Hey Stephanie.” She waved at me.
Before I knew it. I was left alone with 5 of the most geeky guys on campus. Melinda didn’t waste time pulling Dan away. She did look back at me and wonder why I wasn’t leaving with them. I had to start talking fast or it would look really awkward with me standing in silence in front of Tom and his friends.
“Did you help my brother with is math problem?” I asked.
“Yea, not sure if he got it, though.” Tom said.
“Are you good at math?” I asked.
“He gets the highest test scores of any of us.” One of his friends said. Tom seemed embarrassed by that.
“That’s great. Math isn’t one of my strongest subjects.”
“But you’re a good cheerleader.” Another of his friends said.
“Thanks, that’s nice of you to say. It’s just my first year.” I felt like I was talking to his friends more than him. I looked at him.
“Yea, you’re good. I never see you mess up.” Tom said. Wow, he was actually paying attention to me. I beamed.
The bell rang and that was the end of my first conversation with Tom. We said polite goodbyes and then I went to class feeling like I should have done more to break the ice with him. I found myself daydreaming about him in every class. It was the way those black glasses just fit so well on his face. The way he adjusted them to talk to someone. I couldn’t get him out of my mind.
At lunch, I stood in line with my friends to get food. I saw my brother with Melinda and sitting with a bunch of football friends and their girls. On the other end of the cafeteria, sat Tom with some of his friends. In the time I had before getting my tray of food, I made up my mind I was going to barge in on Tom’s lunch.
By the time I paid for my food, Tom was up and walking over to the condiment table. I met him there. We said polite hellos and then I asked him. “Can I join you for lunch?”
There was a period of silence that seemed like an eternity. I finally realized that I had completely caught him off guard.
“Yea sure.” He led the way back to his table. My friends were just as dumbfounded by my sudden departure. I turned to wave at them. Then I caught my brother watching me. I caught his squint and knew mom would be taking him back to the eye doctor soon and poor Dan would be getting even stronger glasses.
Tom made one of his friends move to the other side of the table to make room for me. I was able to sit directly in front of Tom. I glanced at the paperback book in front of Tom. It was a science fiction fantasy book. For a brief moment I thought, what was I getting myself into?
“Do you like to read?” He asked me.
“Sure.” I didn’t know what to say. I did well in English and had read only novels for school.
“Into Sci Fi?” He asked.
“No can’t say that I read any?” I answered. His friends had big smiles on their faces. Tom looked serious. He looked so cute right now. I didn’t care that his friends were probably making fun of me because of my lack of science fiction knowledge. All I saw was that handsome face looking at me with his green eyes behind those thick lenses. We stared at each other for too long and I finally looked away.
“You want to borrow my book. It’s pretty good and I just finished it.” He said a little embarrassed by the prolonged stare.
“OK.” I took the book and placed it next to me.
We continued lunch with just casual small talk. His annoying friends, really acted immature and keep interrupting. I almost got the impression, Tom was annoyed by them too. Lunch was finished and we said our good byes.
I decided I wasn’t going to be the aggressor for a while and see if he got the hint. I saw him, but I didn’t approach him. My brother ridiculed me at home when he saw me reading Tom’s book.
“Oh what a nerd!” He said to me. It didn’t help that I was wearing my glasses. But, Mom got him back when she announced to Dan that he had an eye appointment next week. Mom had seen him squinting way too much while wearing his contacts and she knew he needed a stronger prescription. Dan grunted and complained. He hated the eye doctor.
It was Friday at lunch. It had been two weeks with no contact from Tom. Only once did he run into me and ask me what I thought of the book. I told him I was totally enjoying it. He smiled and winked at me and left. I almost fainted that day.
I had my uniform on for the pep rally at lunch. It was a new routine and I was a bit nervous. Me and the girls ran out to our stage and I was greeted with Tom in the front row. I almost tripped on my own feet. Why was he there? He never bothered to watch before. I was twice as nervous. I messed up several times. It was my worst performance ever, or so it felt like. After I was done, I was expecting criticism from the girls. To my surprise, no one said a thing. I grabbed my pom poms and then I felt a tap on my shoulder.
I turned around to see Tom there. He was there all by himself. “Oh hi” Was all I managed to say.
“You did really well.” He said.
“No, I didn’t. I messed up royally.”
“No one noticed.” He said kindly.
“But you did.”
“What do I know about dancing?” He shrugged his shoulders.
My brother walked by with Melinda and he puckered his lips like a fish and made it look like I should be kissing Tom. I tried to ignore him, but Tom turned around to see Dan waving at him. Tom waved back.
“You know, you’re brother is a really nice guy. I always thought he was a dumb jock type, but he’s actually really nice and not so dumb.” Tom said.
I looked over Tom’s shoulder and Dan was doing fish lips again at me. “My brother, well, he’s my brother. He’s OK.” Was all I could say at the moment? I really wanted to call him an ass for teasing me right now.
“Well, I asked your brother if you would go with me.” He said.
“You did?” I glanced at Dan who carried on with the kissing thing. “What did he say?”
“He said you probably would.”
I stared straight into his green eyes behind those thick lenses. He was so handsome. “He’s right. I would.”
Tom smiled and bit his lower lip and looked around like he couldn’t believe what I had just said. Dan was still back there mouthing the words, “I love you.” Melinda was looking at him like he was crazy.
“Cool, so like when are you available? Want to go to a movie?”
“Sure, when ever you want. I can do Saturday night?” I was really nervous.
“Can I get your number?” He had his cell phone in his hand, getting ready to input my number.
I looked over his shoulder again and saw Dan mouthing the words “I love you” and blowing kisses in my direction. Melinda was obviously angry over the display and smacked him on the shoulder.
Tom put my number in his phone. He just stared at me again. His glasses slid down his nose and he pushed them up with his index finger. He was biting his lower lip again. The tension broke when the school bell rang. He waved good bye and took off. I walked over to my brother. I shoved my pom poms right into his face and then left for class.
It was Friday night at 11:00 pm and I was home reading the book Tom let me borrow. We lost our basketball game and I came home after the game. I changed into my sweats and put my glasses on. Dan was out with Melinda. My parents were downstairs watching TV. My cell phone rang. It was Tom.
“Hey what you doing?” He asked.
“Nothing, just hanging out in my room, reading alone. What about you?”
“Home on a Friday night. Pretty boring, huh?”
That’s how the conversation started. We talked for over an hour. I found out he was an only child. His father traveled for work and was never around. His mother was a school teacher. He had just turned 16 and had skipped the 1st grade. Actually, he wasn’t much older than me. He drove his father’s old Honda Accord. We decided that we liked the same kinds of movies, but had different taste in music.
We talked until well past midnight. We said goodnight and I got ready to go to bed.
“Steph?” I heard outside my door. It was Dan
I opened my bedroom door and he pushed his way in. He closed the door behind him. I looked up at his eyes and they looked extremely red.
“Dan, why are your eyes so red?” I asked
He frowned and grunted. “They itch like crazy.”
“You’d better take your contacts out.” I suggested.
“I will later.” He tried to ignore the subject. “So like what’s happening with Tom?”
“We’re going out tomorrow night.”
“I said a lot of nice things about you to him. I think he was afraid to talk to you. I was glad to see him finally approach you after the pep rally.”
“Well thanks, I appreciate all the nice things you said about me.”
In the morning I was on walking on clouds. Dan was in a foul mood. Mom had had taken him to the urgent care and he was diagnosed with a double eye infection and told him he couldn’t wear his contacts for two weeks. When Dan came down for breakfast, he was wearing his new glasses. Mom was making him get a new pair of glasses every time he had a significant prescription increase. The frames were similar to the ones he had before, but the lenses looked so strong. His eyes actually looked small behind the lenses. My brother had really inherited that nearsighted gene and he was getting it real bad. I tried not to stare at him too much, but I couldn’t help myself. I heard him telling Melinda he was sick and couldn’t hang out with her.
My brother was so depressed about his glasses, I felt like wearing mine so he wouldn’t feel that bad. I just couldn’t. For what ever reason, I didn’t want Tom to know I wore glasses.
“And you young lady,” my mom interrupted my thoughts, “have an appointment to see the eye doctor next week. I have a feeling you may be following in your brother’s footsteps. Your brother insists on wearing contacts and the doctor said it might be making him more myopic. He should be wearing glasses more.”
“Aw, mom.” Dan complained.
“Well, it’s true Dan. Stephanie probably needs new glasses too.”
“Dan’s got to wear contacts. He’s going to college on a football scholarship and he can’t play in glasses.” Dad said.
“I’ll go mom. These contacts are probably too weak already. I do have problems reading the board in class.” I admitted.
“There, at least Stephanie admits it.” Mom said.
“That’s because she doesn’t have to wear coke bottles like I do.” Dan said.
The day seemed to drag for ever. Tom was coming over at 6:00 pm. Dan spent his time behind closed doors in his room and he was there when the doorbell rang. My dad answered the door and let Tom in. When I came down the stairs I saw my dad giving him the 3rd degree. Tom seemed to be holding his own.
He was wearing his trademark leather jacket and jeans. He had done something different with his hair. He’d tried to slick it back, but it had gotten loose and now it was gelled and hanging over his face.
“Tom and I were getting to know each other here. He’s in your brother’s Math class. I hear. Too bad your brother isn’t feeling well or he could have said hello.” My dad said.
We quickly got out of the house and away from my father’s stupid petty conversation. Dad said I needed to be home by midnight. Tom stopped at the sidewalk before opening the door to his car and said, “You look very pretty tonight.”
“Thank you.” I answered as he opened the door for me and waited for me to sit down before closing the door. He got in the drivers side and sat down. I think he was a little nervous. He started the car and pushed his glasses in place. I noticed how they always slid down his nose.
“What wrong with your brother?” He asked.
“Eye infection.” I answered.
“Yuck.” He said.
We got to the theaters and we got the tickets. I felt like being forward and I took his hand in mine. He looked at me in surprise, but he clasped my hand tightly. We got there early and would have to kill some time. We went and bought some food. That’s when I really noticed that my eyes had gotten worse. I had to squint to see the menu on the board. We got our food and took it to our seats. I decided that we should sit closer to the middle because of my eyes.
“Can I ask you something?” Tom said and fixed his glasses the way I liked.
“So, do you wear glasses?” He asked.
I almost chocked on my hotdog and just stared at him. He had this bizarre smile on his face.
“Yes, why?” I felt defensive.
“I kind of figured you do because I saw the outline of contacts in your eyes the other day after the pep rally. I also saw you having trouble seeing the menu over there. I figured you must not be wearing your contacts tonight.”
“I am.” I said defensively again.
“Oh? Sorry.” He felt bad.
“Well, I guess it’s obvious I need a new prescription, right?” I said.
“Don’t worry. I go through that a lot. My eyes are bad, like you couldn’t tell with these thick glasses I have to wear.” He said fixing them on his face again.
“Well, I’m getting my eyes checked next week. I’ll just get new contacts and a pair of glasses as a back up.”
“So when do you wear glasses?”
“At home, in the evening.”
“So if I come over at night, you’d be in glasses?” He asked
“Yea, you’d find me that way.”
“So are your eyes as bad as mine?”
I stared into his eyes and kind of wished I could say yes to further bond with him. “No, I think you may be blinder than me.”
“Here try on my glasses and tell me if you can see through them.” He quickly pulled them off his face and before I knew it they were in front of my face ready to have them put on my face. Before I took them, I look at him. He had this terrible unfocused look in his eyes. I finally took his glasses and slowly placed them on my face. The theatre was dark and I had a hard time really seeing anything. It was like wearing my brother’s glasses.
His face moved right in front of mine. “Hey my glasses look good on you. So can you see through them?” I brought the glasses down my nose and looked over the top. He was inches from my face.
“Tom, they’re too strong for me. It’s probably because I’m wearing contacts.” I answered.
He grabbed his glasses by both sides and pulled them off my face and put them back in front of his eyes.
“Your eyes are probably not as bad.” He said. “Not too many people wear glasses like mine that I know.”
“Well my mom is very nearsighted. And….” I was afraid to reveal my brother’s secret. Tom was looking at me intently. “And my brother wears coke bottles when he’s not in contacts.” Tom’s mouth opened wide and then he started laughing.
“Mr. Football, Dan? No way?”
“Why do you think he didn’t come downstairs to greet you? He’s in his coke bottles.”
“Aw, I feel sorry for him. Must be social suicide on him if he’s ever seen in thick glasses. He’s the stud, jock, who women swoon over him.”
Our conversation got interrupted when the movie started. I actually felt comfortable leaning against Tom all through the movie. After the movie we hung out together. He showed me where he lives, and where he went to elementary school. At 11:45 he took me home. He walked me up to the doorstep.
“So when am I going to see you in glasses?” He asked.
“Maybe someday.” I answered.
“Have you ever kissed a guy with glasses?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Want to try?”
“Sure” I leaned over to him. He moved closer and kissed me lightly and backed away. I didn’t move. He moved up again and gave me a more passionate kiss. I could feel his glasses against my cheeks. He stopped. I moved closer and urged him to continue. He resumed the passionate kiss and the front door flew open. Tom backed away and fixed his glasses and I took a step back.
“Right on time.” My father said loudly. He grabbed my hand and pulled me in the house. “Thank you for getting my daughter home safely, Tom.” All we could do was wave good bye. I felt like I was drunk from those passionate kisses. I didn’t bother to talk to my father, I ran up the stairs to my room. I changed out of my clothes and took my contacts out to wash my face. I picked up my cell phone because it was ringing. I answered it.
“Did you get in trouble?” Tom asked.
“No, but I may never recover from that kiss.”
“Hey! Are you going to bed?”
“Because I’m jumping in my car and coming to see you. I’ll climb up to your bedroom window and sneak in. And I get to see you wearing your glasses.”
“Yea, but my dad and brother will kill you when they find out. Good night Tom.”
We hung up and my brother opened the bedroom door without knocking. He was shirtless in his pajama pants and wearing glasses. He shut the door behind him.
“Why am I going to kill him?” Dan asked. “Did he do something he wasn’t supposed to do?”
“Stop eavesdropping on my phone conversations!” I threw a pillow at his head, but he ducked.
“You looked punched drunk when you came up the stairs. You didn’t even see me standing in my doorway. So little sister…Is that nerd worth it?”
“Every minute of it.” I told him.
“Oh are you messed up….You’re one weird girl!”
“Shut up! You’re the nerd!”
“Look at you with those dorky glasses!”
Dad opened the door. “Get to your room Dan and you, princess, get your beauty sleep. Enough of the fighting.”
I did feel like a princess that night. I slept better than I had ever done. I had a huge crush on the cutest nerdy guy I had ever met.
The rest of the weekend, I thought of nothing else and couldn’t wait for Monday to go to school. On the other hand, my brother was whining about having to go to school wearing his glasses. He was begging his parents to stay home for two weeks while his eye infection healed. My mom was totally against it. My father was doing nothing to support her and it looked like he was going to give Dan his wish. Mom held her ground and said Dan was going to school. The doctor had not given the OK for him to stay home over an eye infection.
I had never seen my brother freak out like he was Sunday night. Mom made him turn over all his unused contact lenses so that he wouldn’t be tempted to wear them behind her back. I thought my brother was going to cry.
Apparently, he had shut off his cell phone because Melinda had called the house phone and I ended up talking to her. She demanded to know what was going on with Dan. I tried to explain to her it was just an eye infection, but she refused to accept that answer. She wanted to see him for herself. Melinda was coming over at 8:00 pm, Sunday night.
After I put the phone down, I looked at the clock. It said 7:45 pm. She would be here in 15 minutes. I debated whether to tell my brother. He already was acting like such a baby about the whole thing. If I gave him a warning, he might just leave the house to avoid her. So, I kept quiet and waited to see what would happen. I know my brother would kill me, but he had more to loose than me.
Melinda was very punctual. At 8:00 pm, the doorbell rang. My dad went downstairs to answer the phone. My brother was in his room and the music was blaring. I opened my door and tried to listen to the events downstairs. It was Melinda and dad was coming up the stairs to get Dan. I partially closed my door and listened. I heard my dad pound on Dan’s door.
“Son! Melinda’s here to see you.” Dad said and I heard the music shut off. I heard his door open.
“What?” Dan practically yelled.
“Melinda’s here.” Dad said calmly.
I smiled to myself. Melinda had never seen Dan in his glasses.
“Where?” His voice was on the verge of hysteria.
“Downstairs, she’s waiting for you.” Dad sounded so calm.
“Dad, I don’t feel well. I don’t want to see anyone.” He was whining again.
“Son, get yourself downstairs and tell her yourself.” Dad said and then a period silence followed. I heard Dad’s footstep go to his room and his door shut. At this point, I couldn’t contain myself any longer. I opened the door and faced my confused brother’s face. I didn’t say a word. He looked like he was going to throw up at any moment. I don’t even think he noticed me standing there. He took a deep breath, adjusted his glasses, and proceeded to head for the stairs. Slowly, he walked down the stairs. I followed as silent as a mouse. His mind was so preoccupied that I believe he didn’t even know I was there. At the bottom of the stairs he headed to the living room. I quickly ran down the stairs and slipped into the adjacent kitchen. The kitchen would allow me to listen to every word said. Unfortunately, I would rather get the visual too, but that was asking too much.
“Oh Danny.” I heard Melinda saying and pictured her hugging him.
“Hey” was my brother’s cool reaction.
“Oh my goodness! What has happened to you?” Melinda sounded startled. I smiled.
“I got an eye infection, Melinda. I already told you that.”
“But, but, you wear glasses?” She stuttered. I smiled thinking of the look on her face.
“I think I told you that I did a long time ago?” I could just see him squirming.
“You poor thing, those are some serious glasses. Can you even see without them?” She sounded so stressed.
My brother did his nervous laugh. “Uh, lets just say it’s bad. Yes, I’m blind.”
“Oh, this is terrible for you. Your handsome face with those hideous thick glasses.” She said. My mouth went wide open. I wanted to go out there and smack her.
“Well, Melinda, you’d better get used to it. I got to wear these hideous glasses for two weeks while my eyes heal.”
“I feel so sorry for you. Poor baby.”
“I don’t need your pity, Melinda.”
“I just wanted to make sure you were OK. That’s all.”
“OK, then, you came, you saw. I’m OK. I’ll see you in school tomorrow.” Dan sounded so angry with her. He must have been escorting her out the house. I heard the front door open. I heard them kiss and Dan said, “See you tomorrow.”
I leaned against the kitchen counter, totally distracted by that kiss. Had she had the same feeling as me? Probably not, since I would have been totally excited if my boyfriend had a secret like my brother did. I certainly wouldn’t have referred to his glasses as hideous.
The kitchen door opened and I jumped three feet forward. I tried to run out the back door leading to the dinning room, but my brother’s strong arms grabbed me before I had a chance to get away. He swung me around so quickly, I almost lost my footing. He made me face him. I tried to get away, but held me by my shoulders. Crying out for my mom or dad would have been fruitless. They had retired to their bedroom for the night and wouldn’t hear a sound from the dinning room.
“You were listening?” He said with a smirk on his face.
“I didn’t hear a word. I was getting some water to drink. I just heard the doorbell and assumed dad was handling. I thought it was dad and not you.” I spoke a mile a minute.
“You followed me down the stairs.”
“I did not.”
“Yes, you did! I saw you.” He adjusted his glasses like he had to prove to me that he could see. “Don’t eavesdrop on my conversations, ever again!” He shook me as he said those words and then released me roughly. I remained silent as he left the room and I heard his footstep up the stairs. Dan hadn’t bullied me since we were kids.
Dan drove me to school as he usually did. He seemed calm and quiet. We hardly said anything to each other. When he parked the car in the student parking lot, I said sorry to him for last night. He just waved his hand like it didn’t matter anymore. I had to apologize to him. I knew today would be one of the hardest days for Dan. He was so vain when it came to his looks. Having to wear his glasses was a major tragedy.
I grabbed my book bag and watched as some of his football buddies came over to him. I told myself I wasn’t going to stare, but I couldn’t help watching it all. One friend acted like he just suffered a heart attack upon seeing my brother. The other one got real close to his face to inspect his glasses. The words that came out of their mouth were even worse. I heard comments like, “Oh my God, What the heck, What happened to you? Are you blind, Are those coke bottles, Can you see OK? You must be blind.” I stuck around to make sure my brother was OK. He was a jokester and seemed to be pulling it off fine. I was so proud of him. It helped that he was looked up to by his teammates and friends that no one took it further than one comment. Within a few minutes they were acting like they always did.
When I saw my brother at ease, I began backing away and turned to go to class. I turned and ran right into Tom. I was holding some books in my arms that fell to the ground. Tom immediately bent over to pick them up.
“Here you are Madame.” He said.
“Thank you, sorry didn’t mean to run into you like that.”
“Oh, I enjoyed it.” He winked at me and I sighed in a dreamy way. “What’s going on with your brother?” Tom looked past me at Dan and his friends. I smiled because he was squinting.
“You can’t see?” I asked turning to see Dan and his friends walking towards us. Tom looked at me and smiled.
“I can see, alright. Hey, your brother is one of us.” He looked down on me. “You weren’t joking about serious myopia.”
“Told you so.” I hugged him right when my brother and his friends walked by and Tom gave Dan the thumbs up. My brother looked like his old confident self again. He just nodded his head at Tom in that cool way he did.
“So why aren’t you wearing your glasses?” He asked me out of the blue.
I pulled away from him and gave him a dirty look. “I will, when I get new frames.” I’ll never know why I said that. I had no intention to doing such a thing.
“I’ll hold you to that.” He said while we walked holding hands through the school’s hallways. I have to admit, I was getting stares from everyone. Although I was only a freshman, I was one of the most popular girls on campus. I saw the girls smile politely to me or say hi and then whisper something to their friends. The guys looked shocked. As he walked me to class, I looked over to him. For some reason, he was so confident and at ease. He reminded me of my brother, walking through campus.
Well, my eye exam didn’t go well. The doctor told my mom I needed stronger contacts. He was surprised I was even able to see properly with the old contacts. So he fitted me with stronger contacts. Mom made me get new glasses, too. I chose some brown rectangular frames. She thought they looked great on me. I had to wait a couple of weeks to pick them up.
Meanwhile, Tom started hanging out at my house after school. My parents felt better about it since they thought I was young and needed supervision when hanging out with my boyfriend. Yes, Tom and I were officially going together. My friends had accepted him, although they had their reservations. They usually left me alone when he was around at school. I didn’t mind that. His friends got the hint and took off too.
Tom drove me home from school one day. I invited him in and we went to the kitchen for a snack.
“Stephanie, your glasses are ready to be picked up.” Mom announced.
“They are?” I looked surprised.
“I’ll take you there.” Tom volunteered.
I looked at my mom for permission.
“That’s fine with me.” She said.
I went up the stairs to drop off my book bag and Tom followed me.
“Are you going to wear your contacts to get your glasses?” Tom asked as he followed me into my room.
“Yes, of course.” I replied
“No, I think you should wear the glasses home.”
I just stared at him with my mouth open and no words coming out. He went into my bathroom, found my contact lens case and grabbed the solution.
“You’re taking them out when you get there.” He said sternly.
“What’s up with this?” I was protesting.
“You promised and if you don’t do it now. You’ll never do it.”
So we walked out the house, with Tom holding my contact lens case and the solution. How could things get more embarrassing?
We got to the place and I walked slower than usual. Tom seemed to sense my hesitation and he took hold of my hand and practically pulled me along. We walked in and I suddenly got cold feet when I saw the glasses displays and the workers behind the counter waiting for me to show up. I never would have worried, but I was here with my boyfriend. It didn’t even matter that he wore glasses too. It was too much for me and I felt light headed.
“Stephanie is here to pick up her glasses.” I heard Tom say. I’m glad he spoke for me. I wouldn’t have gotten the words out. One of the girls told me to have a seat in front of a counter with a mirror to the side. Tom sat right beside me. I looked at him nervously. He patted my hand and said, “Relax, you look tense. Take out your contacts.” He handed me my case and the solution.
Like a robot, I took the contacts out and sat there in a total blur. I realized that I couldn’t even see Tom’s face clearly. The girl came back with the glasses. She handed them to me and told me to put them on. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. I was too nervous to look at Tom. The glasses fit nicely on my face. The girl pushed the mirror right in front of me. I examined them carefully. They looked definitely stronger and thicker. I turned my head in several directions.
“Do they fit well?” She asked.
“Yes, I think so.” She didn’t even have to do any adjustments. So then I turned to look at Tom. He just smiled.
He leaned over and whispered in my ear. “They look hot on you.”
For what ever reason, that really embarrassed me. I walked out of the optical store wearing my new glasses. As soon as we got outside, Tom stopped and kissed me passionately. I have to say, the fun part was when our glasses collided in the kiss. We could hardly keep our hands off each other all the way home. He made me promise that I would wear my glasses to school. He would be there early to pick me up and if I had my contacts in, he would force me to take them out.
Sure enough, he was at my house early. My brother teased me about it being my turn to get ridiculed at school over wearing glasses. He was back in contacts the day after the doctor said it was ok to wear them. Dan thought I was crazy to wear glasses to school for unnecessary reasons.
School went well. Everyone was polite and most just said, “I didn’t know you wore glasses.” By the end of the day, it was like I had worn glasses for years. I’m not sure if I’ll wear them to school again. If Tom asks, I’ll do it.