Have you ever wanted to kill your parents? I mean really? I once found myself actually plotting my father's death. The summer before my final year in High School he took a new job and that meant we would have to move right across the country. I'd never hated him so much, never felt so angry. I thought maybe I could stay with someone locally until I graduated but we never managed to set it up. So I packed up my life and started over. At 18 I was used to the big city. We moved to a much smaller place, not exactly a small town, but you know, one mall, one movie theater. There were two High Schools, one for the east, one for the west, and our new house was on the west. So off I went, first day final year, new girl. You know how it is in the movies, how the school heart-throb sees the new girl, and falls in love with her, and the popular girls befriend her and introduce her to everyone? Well, it was nothing like that. I was invisible. Just a nobody, trying to find where I had to go, getting funny looks because I was unfamiliar. I kept very quiet the first few days, just getting the feel of the place. Actually most people seemed OK, there was none of the jostling in the halls I was used to, and best of all I saw no sign of any gang problems. Maybe it wasn't SO bad.
But I missed my friends. I had no-one to talk to, and even the few people who did talk to me didn't really make much of an effort. What happened to the new girl being a source of interest? It turns out that my Dad's company were always bringing in people from outside and new kids arrived at that school all the time. No novelty. Great. Well, I had plenty of school work to occupy me, and I even switched one class after the first week. Now, in my English class, I found a really cute guy named Josh. To me he really stood out from the others, not just in looks but he wasn't such a jerk as most of them. I mean, he went along with their goofing around, but he seemed a bit more mature, he knew when to stop. So I smiled at him a few times, and, eventually, he smiled back.
Then I, literally, ran into him on the Saturday while I was shopping. I was coming out a store, he was about to go in, and we collided. I recognized him and apologized, and he not only smiled, not only said "Hi" like he was pleased to see me, but actually stopped to chat. I guess we stood there about 5 minutes, but it felt like I'd been talking to him forever, and when he said he better go I was really sorry. Yes, I liked this one, I hoped we could get to know each other.
I must have looked happy when I sat down to supper because my family commented on it. They took the opportunity to quiz me on how school was going, had I made any friends etc, so I told them just one nice boy, and my brother giggled. Being into sports he'd slotted into place immediately, but as he wasn't yet in High School, it wasn't such a big deal to him.
So, I was just settling down to watch some TV, when the phone rang, and my mom said it was for me. I hadn't given anyone my number, so I was a bit confused, but whatever.
It was Josh. Where the hell did he get my number from?
"Well, my aunt is a school secretary, and she has access to the records from home, on her computer. I was there baby-sitting, so............"
"You hacked into the school records to get my number?"
"Not hacked exactly, she didn't even have a password on it, there was a shortcut, right on her desktop!"
I was actually rather impressed.
"I wanted to call you" he continued, "Because it's hard to talk at school. I really like you Sophie, and I'd like to see you tomorrow. If you want."
I had the feeling he'd been rehearsing that a bit, he sounded nervous, but I said yes immediately and he loosened right up. He said he lived nearby and we could meet somewhere or he'd come over. I opted for meet somewhere, and that somewhere was McDonald's. Hey, it may not be exactly the most romantic place, but at least it's air-conditioned.
We had fun. He was naturally funny, not loud or trying to be clever, but just a really cool guy. I don't think I'd ever found anyone I had so much in common with, and I don't mean just our tastes in music or TV or anything, but attitude, you know, how we look at life. He was really sympathetic about my big move, although he'd never done it, he'd lived in the same house all his life. I couldn't imagine that. With my Dad climbing the corporate ladder we'd moved about six times, but never long-distance before. He asked me what I wanted to do the rest of the day. Really, I was quite happy just hanging out, just talking, and the mall was nearby, so we went there. After a while he put his hand through mine while we were walking. I guess it was some kind of signal, not just to me, but to anyone he knew who we ran in to. What happened to the olden days when people announced "courtships"? At which point these days do you really know a guy is, for the time being, "yours". I guess it's when he holds your hand while shopping.
So we just hung around until the mall closed, and then we just hung around outside. I didn't want him to have to run the gauntlet of my family just yet, so we just walked the streets until it got dark, then he walked me home. My Mom was looking out the window, so she knew who I was with. I saw her, and she knew I saw her, so when he kissed me goodnight it was all quite open. Bet it wasn't like that in her day.
"He's cute", she said. Maybe it was BETTER in her day, when Moms didn't say stuff like that.
"He's a really nice guy too Mom, he's fun to be with. I'm really glad I met him."
"I'm pleased too actually honey, because I know how hard it is being the new girl. I wasn't quite as old as you when I switched High Schools, but it's a rough time."
Now why didn't she tell me that before? Maybe we should talk more. After all, I didn't have anyone else female to confide in. I guess I'd just got out of the habit of talking to her, we always used to. But she was usually so busy. Since moving she hadn't got a new job herself, and had more time for us. I liked it actually. Maybe now she'd find the time to finish teaching me to drive, so I could take my test, as she'd been promising for so long.
I guessed Josh didn't have his licence yet either, as he always walked everywhere. Well, it obviously kept him fit anyway, as he wasn't on any sports teams. He wasn't into that competitive thing, and when he wasn't seeing me, or doing schoolwork, he admitted to spending most of his time playing games and stuff on-line.
"Really" he said "I suppose I'm just a geek".
"You are so not." I told him. I made sure he got out and about anyway.
Neither of us had any money to do much, but at least we didn't stay inside all the time. That changed when the weather cooled off, but for then it was still OK, and most evenings we just walked and talked. I introduced him to my parents, and he would come in more often, and they seemed to like him.
When the leaves started to fall we just dressed warmer and stayed out less. I felt grown-up, somehow, having a relationship that wasn't part of a group, and we were talking of college and the future. It was like a new chapter in my life. I really felt that I should thank my Dad for bringing this to me.
The trouble with college was it would mean another move, a separation. I'd never known a relationship to survive that, not even couples who were engaged. It was still months ahead, but we were getting so very close. We had become an item, everyone at school just saw us like that. Two nobodies who never bothered anyone else, got along with everyone, but were best buddies with no-one. Good ordinary students, neither popular nor reviled. Forgettable. But always together. I tried not to think about it, but the time to apply soon came round.
Josh arrived with a pile of stuff to look through. I had another pile. We couldn't find anywhere that offered both the course he wanted, and the one I did. I briefly considered taking a different course just to be with him, but I knew that was unrealistic, because I'd known what I wanted to do since I was very young. Finally we found two colleges less than a half-hour's drive from each other, and also just an hour from home. We could do this. We'd be able to travel daily, maybe drive together, and be at home at weekends with enough time to see each other! Everything else looked right, we couldn't see any problems. And although it wasn't spoken, because the idea seemed impossible to both of us, I guess, it meant that if we split up our lives were still on track. So we applied.
I resumed my driving lessons with Mom. After her mock test I was so excited I rushed to tell Josh about it, and asked him when he was going to get his licence. He said he'd get round to it soon, and we left it at that. There was still plenty of time. But it was funny, like it didn't bother him. Maybe his Mom wouldn't, or couldn't, come up with the money, who knew. From what he said she wasn't really all that supportive. In fact, I wondered if maybe I'd be the one doing all the driving at college. My Dad bought me a car, that was cool. My own! I passed my test first time. So now we could go places. We went to the movies a couple of times, but Josh didn't really seem all that keen, I guess he was just paying more attention to me than the movie. I didn't exactly complain. I soon realized what a find I'd got in that respect. He loved to hug, how often do you find a guy like that.
He wasn't keen on TV either, but he never minded if there was something I wanted to watch. Sometimes he just went to sleep on my shoulder, like my Dad did on my Mom's. It was quite cute really, it made Mom laugh anyway.
I often went and picked him up if the weather was really bad. His Mom wasn't really very friendly, she would pick on him in front of me, and it made me very uncomfortable, so I didn't go in very often, but one night he said I had better come in, as his Mom wouldn't let him out until he'd done something for her. I was stuck. I didn't sit down, even after she urged me to, and I turned down coffee even though I was really thirsty. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife and I just wanted out of there. She made unpleasant conversation.
"So you guys have got it all worked out huh? I gotta hand it to you, I wouldn't stick it out if a guy wanted me to drive him around. I guess you like Mr Sensitive, they all do these days."
I heard Josh yell something about his Mom's taste in guys from the other room. She ignored him.
"Well, if he would only go get his licence, I said I'd pay for everything. I got it put away special. But no, he won't......."
Josh rushed in, silenced her with the announcement he was done, and hurried me out. I'd never seen him so wound up.
A little thunder cloud hung over him in the car. Nothing I said seemed to help, so I let him come out of it in his own time. He wasn't in any hurry. We'd made no real plans for the evening, and I decided to just find somewhere quiet to go, as eventually he'd want to talk. I was right.
It was one of those reproduction old-fashioned ice-cream places, it even played old music. Bright lights and lots of people coming in and out, but at least it was private, in its own way, and we took a booth, tucked away in the corner.
He sighed a lot.
"This is stupid." He said at last. "I'm putting myself through agony, and you too, and it's stupid".
I was terrified. I actually thought he was going to break up with me, right then and there. And when he held my hand, and hung his head, I was sure of it.
"Sophie, promise you won't laugh? I know you're not like that but......look, the thing is, I've been putting off going for my licence because I KNOW I won't pass."
It came as some relief, and for that reason, it actually was hard not to laugh. But I kept my face straight.
"How can you be so sure Josh? I was really nervous, but I passed. It's not that hard."
He took a really deep breath.
"No, no, I know, no, that's not it. I can't pass the eye test. I can't see shit Sophie. My life revolves around my schoolwork, because I can lean over that, my computer, because I can lean towards that, and you, because I can hold you close. I can't watch TV, I can't enjoy movies, I have no clue what's going on around me much of the time, and there's no way I could drive a car"
He still hung his head. I didn't know what to say. It did seem a bit stupid, I mean all he had to do was say something sooner.
"Does your Mom know?" I asked, and then realized I knew the answer.
"Yes, she does. I don't think she really knows how bad it is, but she knows."
"Didn't she offer to take you to a doctor?"
He ran his hand through his hair nervously, but at least he looked up at me.
"Take me? No. She says I'm old enough to take care of myself. It's a good thing I am, she doesn't." He looked bitter. I wasn't used to seeing him like this.
"But you're not taking care of yourself, are you?" I told him firmly. He shook his head. So I had to mother him, or something.
"Josh, take your life back. Look, I'll take you, there's a place on the way home from school. We'll go tomorrow OK?"
"Do I have a choice?" he asked, and laughed.
I had never noticed before how Josh rarely looked up during class, and when he had to, he squinted. But it was done so quickly and sneakily, if I hadn't been making an effort to watch him, I'd never have noticed. I also now realized why he always sat with his back to where he was expecting anyone to arrive from, he'd done it the first time we met in McDonald's, when anyone else would be looking out the window. This way, you had to approach him. He had a whole bunch of coping strategies like this. I had to hand it to him, I had no idea he couldn't see very well. No idea at all.
We met when school finished, and I took him to a nearby optometrist with a huge sign outside that advertised their services - that he had no idea was there. I did all the talking for him, while he shfited uncomfortably like a little kid.
"He's having problems at school and also needs to take his driver's test."
We hung around about 15 minutes and then went in. It was all rather weird and interesting, but it didn't take long, and then the doctor asked him,
"How on earth have you managed Josh? I don't remember the last time anyone came to me for the very first time, getting this high a prescription. How the hell do you cross the street?"
Josh just shrugged and looked really sheepish. The doc continued.
"Well, you don't need me to tell you that you need glasses. You've probably needed them for a number of years, when did you first notice you couldn't see properly"
Now he looked like he was in pain.
"When I was about 11 or 12 I guess."
The doctor shook his head, and started to laugh. But then he became serious again.
"What about your parents Josh? Haven't they said anything?"
"There's just my Mom, and she's.......well, she's....there are better mothers......."
I exchanged a look with the doc. He turned back to Josh.
"Do yourself a favor son, take this prescription straight to the one-hour place in the mall. Are you OK for money? You can pay my bill later if you need to."
A kindness you don't see every day. I assured the doctor it was OK, I had it covered. So we left and went straight to the mall. I had a very quiet boyfriend beside me on that journey.
"What's the problem Josh?" I asked him, "You should be relieved, it's going to make everything so much easier for you."
"I know, stupid huh?"
What could I say? Yes, it seemed pretty stupid, but that wasn't the right answer. So I said nothing, and drove on.
He handed over his prescription without a word. The lady was kind, I guess she'd done this with a thousand young guys, and she asked him very quietly if he'd given any thought about what frames he might like. She knew the answer. We all did. He'd given it about as much thought as learning to knit. So she offered a few to him, but he didn't really show any interest, and then, in a flash of inspiration, she took a proper look at the prescription, put her arm across his shoulders and moved him much closer to the mirror.
He seemed terribly uncomfortable, like he wanted to run. I gripped his hand tight, and offered my honest, calm opinion on each pair, too dark, too big, too square, although none of them looked bad on him. His high cheekbones and dark eyes made them all work. In the end he said,
So I did. I picked out what I liked, and he went with it. We were told it would take a little bit more than an hour, so we wandered off. Hand in hand as usual. Of course now I figured out the reason for that, but I hoped it wouldn't end once he could see properly.
I watched him in the mall, as it now dawned on me that the little world of his own that he lived in wasn't lack of attention. His willingness just to wander, which most guys hate, the fact that he never watched other girls, or got distracted by TV's in windows, that could all change. I was a little nervous myself. I think it was the longest hour of my life. We grabbed a bite to eat, and eventually the time came round, so we walked back.
The kind lady sat him down and put his new glasses on him, checking the fit. To begin with he just sat impassively, but eventually he looked up at me and grinned. He still seemed uncomfortable, but there was something else, which kept a smile on his face.
"Now," said the kind lady "It's going to be a little bit strange to begin with, because the floor is going to behave differently, OK? But you'll soon get used to them. Just take it easy honey."
Satisfied she'd made them as comfortable as possible, she took his money and left us for another customer.
We stepped outside. He was still smiling. For a long time he just looked at me, then looked around. I mean, for a long time. Like he was taking in a new world. Then eventually, smiling even more, he said,
"This is so cool."
Yes, it was cool to see him so relieved, and I was happy for him, but now I had problems just getting him to follow me, he was enjoying the mall, of all places. He was being a tourist. Having just wandered around it for an hour we now had to spend another hour while Josh looked at everything. It was quite touching really. Eventually of course we had to leave, but not before we were spotted by Lisa, who we both knew from school. At first she almost walked straight past, but then she saw me, did a double-take and looked up at Josh.
"WOW!" She said, "I didn't recognize you, I've never seen you in glasses before, how long have you had them?"
"Not long enough" he replied awkwardly. Yep, he'd missed so much. And now he was going to have to go through this with everyone we knew.
"Well," she said "They really suit you!"
"Do they?" he asked me, after she'd gone, "Really? Or was she just being nice?"
"They really suit you," I told him sincerely, "I really like them."
That huge smile came back. Then he found the last $10 he owned in his pocket and said,
"Let's go see a movie."
I had a feeling the next day at school was going to be hard for Josh. Like me, he was neither popular nor unpopular, he'd always been kind of invisible. I think he's cultured that place too, so that no-one noticed he couldn't see properly.
I collected him in the morning like I had been doing for a while. I sat outside and waited, not wanting to face his Mother any moe often than I had to. I was early, but he was ready. He came out the door in his new glasses and I felt a pang of...something...I couldn't identify.
"What did your Mom say?" I asked cautiously.
"Not much actually" he said laughing "Something like 'about time' and then said I reminded her of my Dad. Just what I wanted to hear."
Josh had never mentioned his Dad, and I didn't push it.
"OK, shall we go then?"
"Yes, let's get it over with, I guess I'm going to be the center of attention this morning" and he sighed.
When we got out the car at school I took his hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. He squeezed back, and gave me the most amazing smile. That feeling came over me again. I really liked him in those glasses.
He hurried me through the hall. Luckily his first class was one I was in. At first, when we walked in no-one took any notice, but then he was suddenly surrounded by a bunch of girls. I was HORRIBLY jealous. They were all talking at once, they were all interested in his glasses, and although at first he looked like he wanted to die, it didn't take him long to enjoy the attention! Fortunately it was Anja, our very plain and chubby exchange student who got into the deepest conversation with him. I didn't see her as a threat, what a bitch I am. Josh too, seemed happier talking to her about his glasses than any of the others, because she wore glasses and seemed to understand something about them. She asked him what prescription they were, and he told her minus 4, which caused gasps all around, and I hated it because I didn't know what that meant. It was only then I found out that several of the girls wore contact lenses - and they all started sharing their prescriptions. What had surprised them was that Josh's was as high or higher than theirs, and he'd only just got glasses. They then teased him gently about being vain, which he grudgingly acknowledged, but for a finale, while I was fantasizing all their demises, they all complimented him enthusiastically, and that....I'm sorry...that HO Karen, actually had the audacity to tell him he looked hot in glasses. I think he was just about to enjoy THAT comment when he caught my expression, which could have killed.
It was then I noticed the guys watching this celebration. They all looked more jealous than me! Josh was getting all the attention, including from some of the most eligable girls. None of them said a word.
We went our separate ways for the next class and now it was my turn to get attention, something I rarely had. I was totally blown away by the number of girls who commented on how good Josh looked in glasses. But.....when they asked me if I liked them, not only did I say yes, enthusiastically, I found myself feeling weird again. I can't describe it. It was like I'd fallen in love all over again.
His 15 minutes of fame didn't last long. Over the next couple of days the obvious interest in him gradually subsided, and we were so busy with schoolwork we hadn't had much time to talk, but when Friday came, and he came over after school, he had plenty to tell me.
Guys are funny, aren't they? The only friends that had even MENTIONED his glasses were those who wore them too, and that was only to ask technical stuff. But the girls had been all over him, ESPECIALLY when I wasn't looking....at least he was good enough to tell me this. They had confused him.
"I've had all these girls telling me I look good in glasses, lots of them, what's all that about?"
"Well, you do."
"Do they mean I don't look good without them?"
"No, no, no, that's not it, didn't you realize what a good looking guy you are?"
He shrugged. I smiled.
"I thought maybe they just were being supportive."
Oh Josh, I thought, what do we do with you. As much as I loved him sometimes he just needed kicking.
"Well" I told him "I can only tell you how I feel, and I'm the one that counts, right?"
He looked guilty and took me in his arms.
"Of course you are, I didn't want all that attention you know!"
"I know, stop worrying, but listen, you know I love you, and maybe I've never told you, but you're gorgeous Josh, and that's not just my opinion, I know everyone thinks so. But I don't want you to get all big-headed, so maybe I shouldn't say that!!"
He smiled. I'm not sure if he agreed or not. He never struck me as conceited, but then he never struck me as lacking in confidence either. I guess he was feeling a bit confused.
"What I'm saying is, I've always thought you were really nice-looking, but for some reason.....I don't know how to say this.....it's going to sound wrong....."
"Go on" he said.
"Hey you know, when you look at me, when you smile at me, I get a rush, you know that"
"But you in those glasses, oh man. It just pushes me over the edge. It makes me want you......."
Josh's mouth was wide open.
"Yes, really. Right now."
Knowing my family were around, I pushed a chair up under the door handle, just in case. We'd made love before, but not like this. This was something else. The feeling that welled up inside me was like a volcano. I just managed to reach across and turn up the music in time to cover my gasps of pleasure - and his.
"You were.........amazing" said Josh, when he caught his breath. "JUST AWESOME!"
"It's always going to be like this now" I told him, and kissed his glasses.
His face was a picture.
I needed someone to confide in. Something had happened to me, and although I liked it I didn't understand it. It's not something you can ask your Mother. But I had an idea. We had this weird store in town that sold hippy stuff, and I had always liked the girl in there. She once told me she was a Witch. I wasn't sure if that was true or not, but she seemed very worldly, and I hoped she might understand. I went over there alone first thing Saturday morning, just as she was opening and it was quiet, and bought a necklace so I could start a conversation with her. I asked her if she had anything that symbolized strange deep inner passions. She smiled knowingly and said that red was the colour of passion, but beyond that it depended on the "strange".
"Well" I told her "You're going to find this really weird but....."
"Honey" she said "I've been everywhere and seen everything, there's nothing you can tell me that's going to shock me"
"OK" I continued, suddenly feeling very nervous at having to say it out loud "My boyfriend just started wearing glasses and it turns me on so much, I just can't take my eyes of him - them, and last night I found a feeling...a new feeling.... I didn't know I had. I've never been turned on like that before, and...." I whispered even though there was no-one around "I came more than once"
I stood back bracing myself for her reaction, but she just smiled really knowingly. "Yeah" she said "That's what they call multiple orgasm, and you are pretty young to discover it, but it's understandable. I have a bit of a glasses fetish myself!"
FETISH? I knew the word, but I'd never really studied that sort of thing. It sounded perverse.....I was only 17.
"Nothing to worry about" said my mentor "Most people have one, if they search themselves, usually it's a body part, but it can be......let's say an accessory and glasses, yeah, that's pretty common"
"Oh yeah. More men have a glasses fetish than women, well, probably, but you see it's hard to tell because women don't talk about it. We should. We're getting better at expressing ourselves, but we've got a way to go yet!"
"So, it's....normal....to get turned on by my boyfriend's glasses?"
"Yeah, normal enough. Not so normal as to be boring though, it's good to be a little different, isn't it?"
I hadn't ever thought about that.
Then she smiled again, and asked me
"Did you tell him?"
"Well, sort of, not exactly"
"Tell him" she insisted "He won't mind, and it'll make him feel good. Men have less self-esteem than we do, they're a different critter altogether honey. And I have something for you"
She showed me a small necklace that looked Egyptian, it had an eye on it.
"This is called the Eye of Horus. It's a symbol some people use these days to show their passion for glasses."
She winked. I have never figured out if she was telling me the truth or not, although I have seen them around, but I bought it anyway.
When I got home Josh was there chatting to my parents. Apparently my brother had asked him straight away why he was wearing glasses, which he'd discovered was the commonest (and silliest) thing everyone said, except my Mom, who said nothing, and pretended she hadn't even noticed, which was the second commonest reaction he had had all week. I'd just learned from my friend at the hippy store that this probably meant my Mom thought he looked hot, and was too embarrased to say anything....OH GREAT!
When we were alone I had to ask him...
"Why did you put up with not being able to see properly for so long?"
"I don't know.....I just didn't want to look like a dork, I guess"
"What is this dork thing?" I asked him "Is that what all guys think, that glasses equals dork?"
"Well, it's what we think girls think....I guess"
"BUT IT ISN'T TRUE!" oh this was so ironic "Do you realize that lots of girls actually have a FETISH about glasses?"
He laughed long and hard. No, he didn't realize. Of course he didn't. It's appears to be the best kept secret of our time.
"Look, it's true. You saw how many girls this week thought you looked good in them, well it's not just flattery."
"You've been researching this have you?"
"OK, not properly, but I will. I'm taking a psychology major in college, right? Well, I've decided, I'm going to research this."
He looked at me strangely, then he nodded.
"Yeah, go for it. Shit, I've spent......what.....6 years...no, more, walking into things because I thought women thought glasses were dorky. And you're telling me that's wrong? You better believe some research needs to be done. Just............"
"Just don't spend too much time looking at other guys in glasses, make sure your main area of study is me!"
I reassured him with lots of kisses. I held back on anything more until I heard my parents' car pull away, and then I undressed him fast.
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