THE SECRET DIARY OF HADRIAN VOLE

aged thirteen and three-quarters

by Julian

I’d lost my glasses; I was practically blind without them. I got on my bike, but I couldn’t see where I was going. There was a squeal of brakes… That woke me up, and I was in bed with my twin brother Julian, where I’d been all along, in the miserable real world where I don’t even have glasses. I cried into my pillow a bit but had to keep quiet in case I woke Julian. I didn’t want him to know I was crying, and I didn’t want him to know I knew he cried himself to sleep last night. Bedtime is usually when we share whatever’s bugging us; we often lie in each other’s arms and talk, and maybe have a bit of a grope as well. Last night it seems it was too bad for that; Julian didn’t want to tell even me about it. I knew why he was crying: it was because he failed the eye test in school and was told he needs stronger glasses; I was crying because I passed it and was told I don’t need glasses at all. Yes, in the waking world I’m the twin who doesn’t have glasses, and pretty soon I’ll be the only one in the family who doesn’t, now that Allan and Ian have failed the test too.

Not so many families have more than one set of twins: we have three! Julian was born twenty minutes after me, but he’s taller and heavier and stronger than me—and just a bit broad in the beam—red haired and short-sighted, like everybody in the family except me. I just wish I looked like him, and specially that I saw like him—if I had glasses I’d wear them with pride! Except that I don’t have glasses, I’m a Harry Potter lookalike, the kind of short-arsed little runt that in stories always needs glasses, but I don’t and I wish I did. I’m the only one in the family that doesn’t: Julian gets a stronger prescription every year, and should wear his specs full time, but he won’t. They go on when he has no choice, and then off again—some buggers don’t know when they’re well off! One of the times he has no choice is when he wants to watch TV: Ethan and Nathan won’t let him sit close enough to see the screen without his specs. They’re nearly 17, and they’re identical twins (but not so identical you can’t tell them apart): tall and slim but powerful, with big feet and hands, and they’ve had thick coke bottle glasses and hearing aids since they were little; the doctor reckons Mum caught German measles when she was carrying them, so they’re lucky to have got off with bad eyesight and bad hearing. If they catch Julian sitting close to the screen it’s “Come on fatarse, you make a better door than a window; get your eyes on and give the rest of us a chance!” and if he doesn’t jump to it the two of them sit on him—and they’re heavy. So he’s realized that in that situation glasses are the better part of valour! He wore them for the test in school yesterday but he still couldn’t read more than half way down the chart; so yet again he needs stronger specs, and that’s upset him. I read it right to the bottom, and that’s upset me. And now Allan and Ian have to get glasses too, and that’s upset them. They’re the kind of identical twins nobody can tell apart; the only difference is that Ian’s left-handed and Allan’s right-handed. They’re only 11, but they’re bigger than me already.

Why can’t I be like the others and wear specs? They all think I’m the lucky one, but I envy them ‘cause they all get to wear those wonderful things in front of their eyes. Mother is short sighted; her glasses are stronger than Julian’s but nothing like as strong as Ethan’s and Nathan’s; Dad never wears glasses when he comes to see us, but Mother says he’s nearly as myopic as the big boys, only he wears contact lenses because he doesn’t like people knowing how bad his eyes are.

—O^O—

(Later)

Julian and Allan and Ian have had their eye tests. The kids came home wearing their glasses—the shop does a one-hour service; they weren’t happy about getting glasses but they’re enjoying seeing better. They look quite cute in their round gold specs—trust them to go for matching frames! besides looking more alert now that they can see across the room without squinting. Funny thing: their prescriptions are identical except that Allan’s left eye is worse than his right, and Ian’s the other way round..

Julian as usual was bareyed and squinting like mad. This is his second increase since they first caught him, so I reckon his vision is pretty crap by now. I’ll see if I can talk to him in bed. He put his new glasses on to watch TV tonight—to me they look pretty strong. He’s got bog standard black plastic frames again; if he doesn’t intend to wear them, he won’t spend the money on smart frames, even though he’s not paying.

I just envy them all; I wish, I wish, I wish I needed specs. The other thing I wish is that I didn't so often get a headache when I read or watch TV or go on the computer.

—O^O—

(Next day)

J wouldn’t say much last night. He knows he should wear his glasses, but he hates the idea of being a ‘four-eyed geek’. I said maybe what he looks like to other folks doesn’t matter as much as how things look to him. He didn’t say anything but gave me a hug and a kiss.

—O^O—

(A few weeks later)

Headache again. I seem to get one when I read a lot, and today in school it really was murder. Julian’s wearing his specs a lot more in school. This morning he actually forgot to take them off between two classes, but of course he put them away to walk home. I don’t think he should do that, it isn't safe. Supposing he got hit by a car he hadn’t been able to see...

—O^O—

(A few months more)

Julian came upstairs last night wearing his glasses and didn't put them down on the bedside table but got into bed still wearing them and said in a choky voice, “Hold me, little brother.” I put my arms round him and hugged him. He said, “Baby, I am getting so fucking blind, I can’t go around much longer without these frigging specs”—and he began to cry. I hugged him tight and kissed him on the lips. He kissed me back and started to cry harder. “So what’s such a big deal about wearing them?” I asked. “I can’t see shit without the fucking things, I can’t even see properly any more when I’m wearing them,” he sobbed; “but they make me look such a fucking dork, nobody’ll look twice at me.” “I don’t think you look a dork—those frames aren't the smartest in the world but I still think you’re hot in specs; and if you got something a bit sexier...” He grabbed me and held both my arms really tight. “What—did—you -say?” “I said you should get smarter specs and wear them—“ “No. Did you say I’m hot in specs?” “Yes, I did and you are.” “Oh BABY!” He kissed me. We’ve often kissed before, but never like this. It went on, and on, and on; he pushed his tongue between my lips, then I did the same to him. We had to breathe in the end, and I found myself breathing really heavily, and Julian doing the same. Our hands were exploring each other’s groins (and it’s nice to know there’s one place where I’m as big as he is!), he rolled on to his back and pulled me on top of him, and—nature took its course...Wwooowwww! When we’d cleaned up he took me in his arms again and said “Hadrian baby, will you come and help me choose my new specs? I can’t see what a frame looks like on me.” “Sure, I’ll do that for you, love.” He kissed me again and I kissed him back, but not like the last time. He said, “I wish you needed specs too.” I was kind of taken aback; I didn’t want to tell him I’m dying to wear specs, but I said, “Hmmm, well, I’m kind of odd man out in this family”. “Here, try mine.” I knew I wouldn’t be able to see through them, but I tried them before I said so. He fished around and found his first pair which aren’t so strong, but I can’t see with those either. I knew I couldn’t, I’m just not lucky enough to be short-sighted.

—O^O—

(A few days later)

Just back from the optician’s—same as I promised I went to help Julian choose frames, but he insisted I went in with him when he had the eye test. The optometrist (his name is Falstaff) sat him in this big chair and said, “Well Julian; still not wearing your glasses?” “Not yet.” “Well, will you put them on for me now and see how much of this chart you can read?” He managed the first three lines OK, but started to get problems with the fourth line; after that he said it was just a lot of smudges. “Well,” said the optometrist, “I’ve told you before that you have to expect your eyes to go on changing; you’re growing taller, and your eyeballs are growing longer, and you need stronger lenses to see things in the distance. So let’s have a look in your eyes, shall we?” All the time Mr Falstaff was shining lights in Julian’s eyes and changing round the lenses in his test frame, I was getting embarrassed, not to mention jealous, wishing I was having the test and getting the specs instead of Julian (or as well as Julian)—I wouldn’t mind having his eyesight if I could wear his specs, but I’ve tried them and I can’t see with them at all. Finally Mr Falstaff said, “Right you are, Julian, I think you’ll see pretty well with these glasses. That’s if you wear them—and seriously you do need to.” “Yes, I know, and guess what, I’m going to. That’s why I’ve brought my brother to help me choose frames that’ll look better than the ones I’ve had up to now.” “Not a bad idea,” said the optometrist, “but not necessary any more. We’ve installed a digital camera so that you can get a picture of yourself in a frame and then put your glasses on and see how it looks. Never mind, it’s nice to meet you, er—” “Hadrian,” I said. “Hadrian—and you aren’t one of my patients.” “No, I seem to have good vision,” I said, hoping I didn’t sound too depressed by the fact. “We’re twins;” said Julian, “so I don’t know why he isn’t short-sighted like me—and all our brothers.” “Well,” said Mr Falstaff, “you obviously aren’t identical twins, so you’ll have different genes, and of course heredity is very hard to predict.”

Then it was out into the shop to choose frames—apparently Julian has never spent any time on this before but just gone for cheap and nasty ones because he would only wear them when he had to. Now that they’re going to be part of his image he was a lot fussier, but finally he settled on a reddish frame that didn’t exactly match his hair, but picked up the colour. It was kind of oblong, and apparently made of carbon fibre. I thought it suited him really well, and when he saw the results from the digital camera he was delighted. I suppose I was too, apart from the pangs of jealousy. Once he made up his mind, I came home and left him waiting for his glasses.

Don’t feel like typing any more just now—my head’s splitting.

—O^O—

(Later)

Julian arrived home about an hour after me; I was watching from the window and he came up the street with his new glasses on, looking pretty good. When I saw them close up—well, the empty frames looked good on him, but with the lenses in, white rings from some angles and things in the distance looking tiny through them—well! I had to go upstairs. When he came up he said, “Well, little brother, am I still hot in specs?” “Hot as steam,” I spluttered, and then I—I think it’s called a blow job.

—O^O—

(A few weeks later)

If Julian takes his glasses off before he gets into bed he’s ready to go to sleep. If he keeps them on he wants to play. Me, I’m always ready for anything. Only thing is, he likes me to put his old glasses on, the very first pair he ever had, and I can’t see through them, plus they give me a headache if I don’t have one already—but it’s worth it, almost.

—O^O—

(Later that same year)

Mum tackled me this morning—parents’ evening at school last night, and several teachers told her my work isn’t as good as it used to be. Can you wonder when I have a permanent headache? Anyway, she’s noticed that I get through a lot of paracetamol, so she quizzed me about the headaches. She says I have to see the doctor; she’s worried in case there’s something seriously wrong—hey, I hope there isn’t!

(Later)

I have an appointment to see the doctor after school tomorrow.

—O^O—

(Next day)

Just home from school. Kind of jittery all day, wondering if there’s something bad wrong. Oh well, I suppose it’s better to know the worst—isn’t it?

(Later)

Oh well, the worst isn’t so bad after all, in fact... but I’d better begin at the beginning. It’s ages—years—since I’ve been to the surgery, and it was a new doctor I haven’t seen before. Quite young, good looking, with fair hair and thick glasses, frames a bit like Julian’s but the lenses magnify his eyes. He asked a lot of questions and wrote down some of my answers; he did knee jerk tests, he felt my glands, he put his hand in places only Julian gets to touch most of the time—that kind of got me going—then he looked in my ears and down my throat and up my nose. Finally he shone a light into one eye and then the other, and gave a grunt. Then he grinned and said, “Hadrian, I have to tell you you have an incurable condition. It isn’t life-threatening; with the right treatment you can live with it; I know because I live with it too. It’s called hypermetropia.” (I had to look the name up!) “Erm, what does that mean?” I said. He grinned. “You’re long-sighted; you need glasses.” GLASSES? I nearly creamed my jeans on the spot. “No,” I said, “I don’t need glasses, I can’t possibly!” “What makes you so sure?” “I’ve tried my brother’s glasses lots of times; I can’t see through them and they make my headaches worse. Besides, I passed the vision test in school...” “That doesn’t prove a lot. Your brother is short-sighted, is he?” “Well, yes.” “Then it’s no wonder you can’t see through his glasses. Can you think what they look like? They’re what are called minus lenses. You and I are both long-sighted, so we need plus lenses. Yours will be like mine but maybe not so strong. Just make an appointment for an eye test and the optometrist will do the rest.” “But—but I can see everything quite clear.” “I dare say you can. But because you’re long-sighted your eyes have to work extra hard to focus and that’s what gives you the headaches. With the right glasses they’ll relax and you’ll feel like a million dollars. Take it from me; I know what I’m talking about—not just because it’s my job; remember, I’ve been there too.”

I felt like singing and dancing all the way home. The doctor says I need glasses, the doctor says I need glasses, THE DOCTOR SAYS I NEED GLASSES—YIPPEE ! ! ! I bounced into the house and Mum said, “You sound happy enough; what did the doctor say?” “Nothing seriously wrong; only I need glasses because I’m long-sighted.” “Long-sighted? that’s a turn up for the books in this family; the rest of us are all short-sighted. Oh well, better sort something out.” She took the phone book out of the drawer and took her glasses off to read the small print...“Hello? It’s Mrs Vole here. I want to book an appointment for my son Hadrian...No, HADrian, with an H. Tomorrow? Twenty to five OK?” (This was to me.) “Yes, he’ll be there...thanks.”

Julian was waiting for me upstairs: “Hey kid, did I hear what I just heard? You have to get specs?” “Yeah, that’s right, but not like yours, I need plus lenses, seems like I’m long-sighted.” “That’s OK I guess; mine look good on you, with your own you’ll look as hot as you say I do!” The next thing was the kind of kiss we had when I told him he was hot in glasses—and goodness knows how it would have ended if Ethan hadn’t come in without warning. We jumped apart but he said, “Oh, I didn’t know it was that sort of party. Hadrian, Mum says you have to get glasses; I just wanted to tell you not to worry, they don’t hurt.” I said, “Thanks Ethan; I’m not really worried—and if they stop the headaches that’s OK by me.” When he’d gone Julian said, “You helped me choose my frames; I’ll come with you tomorrow.” I reckon I could manage on my own, but it’ll be moral support.

—O^O—

(Next morning)

I’m getting glasses, I’m getting glasses, I’M GETTING GLASSES!!! I’m so excited; I wonder if they’ll be ready tonight or if I’ll have to wait.

(That evening)

Cab;t se ri wrte tonohr, or’ll haxe ro wair.

—O^O—

(Next morning)

Haven’t got my glasses yet; couldn’t even choose the frames, he put drops in my eyes that made everything totally blurred…last night I tried to put in a sentence saying I couldn’t see, and look at it! Have to go in again after school today.

(That evening)

What happened yesterday? First Mr Falstaff shone his light into my eyes and said, “Yes, you’re certainly long-sighted, Hadrian. The only thing is, I may not find it too easy measuring exactly how long-sighted.” He started all the business with trial lenses and the chart on the wall, but the chart kept going out of focus and then clearing. Eventually he said, “I’m sorry, old boy, I’m going to have to put some drops in to stop your eyes working so hard. Everything will be blurred for an hour or two, and then you’ll have to come back tomorrow and I’ll have another look.”

So I’ve been back again—Julian came with me again—and Mr Falstaff put lenses into his machine and checked that I could read the chart, and that I could read close up, and said, “You’ll definitely find it strange wearing your glasses at first, Hadrian, because they’re quite strong; but just as definitely they will put a stop to those headaches.”

I still haven’t got the fucking things—it was too late in the afternoon for the one-hour service by the time Julian and I had agreed on what would suit me I must have tried dozens, but in the end I settled on round black wire frames. I wasn’t too sure about being a Harry Potter lookalike, but Julian said I’m that already and I might as well have specs that complete the picture. I could tell by the way his voice shook when he said that that he really liked the way they looked on me...he means Harry Potter in the books; I don’t look like Daniel Radcliffe (I kind of wish I did) So tomorrow is the big day!

—O^O—

(Next day)

I should be over the moon—but I’m not. I’ve got my glasses; I nipped out from school at lunchtime and collected them. I walked out of the shop wearing them—and couldn’t see the other side of the street! I went back in and asked if they were right; the guy checked the lenses against the prescription and said they were. “Didn’t Mr Falstaff warn you it would take time to get used to them?” Then of course I remembered he had. I got on my bike to ride back to school wearing them, but it was too scary; I had a near miss so I took them off. In school I had to look over them to read what was on the board. I’m really cut up about that; I was looking forward to wearing them all the time like my brothers but when I have them on I can’t see at all, except close up—like Julian says it is for him without his specs. For reading and working at the computer they’re great, and after nearly four hours there’s no sign of a headache; I like the way they look on me—when I’m close enough to the mirror—Julian seems to like them too, by the way he keeps looking at me, and once he muttered something that sounded like “Wait till I get you in bed!”

—O^O—

(Next morning)

What a night. I was in bed first, then Julian came in, stripped himself naked (except for his glasses), got in and said “Get them on!” My glasses were on the bedside table; I put them on and squinted at him. “How’s that?” “Baby, you are so fucking hot in those specs...” and he began to kiss me. First on the lips, then his tongue got in, then he started on my ears...well, by the time he’d finished he’d kissed me all over, finishing with my balls and then my old man. He took my old man in his mouth and nearly brought me off, then he jumped on top of me, held the two cocks together and brought us both off. Being a spexy twin seems to bring more bonuses than just good vision!

—0^0—

(Six weeks later)

Haven’t looked at my diary for ages, let alone written anything. Seems funny now that when I got my glasses I could see to read without them (but my headache came on pretty soon); now, well, forget it, anything close up is a total blur. I can’t see across the room with them though; I have to take them off or push them down my nose and look over them. But I feel good and I’m doing a lot better at school.

—0^0—

(A few weeks later)

Today in class I was copying stuff off the board, and after a while I realized I was reading the board through my glasses without any problems. That’s a lot better; I felt such a geek looking over the top of them to see far off but needing them to see what I was writing

(Later that year)

For ages I’ve been wearing my glasses all day in school and taking them off to go home, and wearing them again most of the time around the house. But today when I came out of school without them the school buses were lined up outside, and the numbers were all blurred! I had to put my specs back on to see which was which. So from now on I guess it’s full time wear…which is what I’ve always wanted. Then when I got home there was a postcard saying I ought to have my eyes checked again. It’s only about six months, and Julian says he’s never been sent for that soon. Made an appointment anyway.

—0^0—

(A few days later)

I’m getting stronger glasses! Mr Falstaff spent some time explaining the difference between long-sighted and short-sighted people. It isn’t that my eyes have got worse the way Julian’s do, but they were so used to overworking to see clearly that they’ve taken all this time to learn to relax. So I’m going up from +2.5 to +4.25, and that shouldn’t change again for a good long time. Julian’s prescription is -4.25; he thinks it’s cool that we’re equal but opposite, and he can’t wait to see my eyes looking even bigger. They told me if I had new glasses they’d put new lenses in my old frames for free, but I’d have to leave my glasses for an hour. I got on my bike, but I couldn’t see where I was going. There was a squeal of brakes and I hit the deck—a near miss. I wasn’t hurt. and I was able to go back and collect my glasses.

From the way Julian keeps looking at me I can tell bedtime is going to be quite something.

(Next morning)

WWWoooowwwwww!