Peyton studied the glasses lying on her vanity. They were absolutely magnificent. She knew so because she personally chose the frames at the optical shop. Their color was an exceptionally dark red made from high quality plastic. The frames were vaguely reminiscent of a cat-eye style. The shape, however, was more of a modified rectangle where the tops of the lenses were longer than the bottoms. The frame pieces were smooth and sturdy-looking but not chunky. She thought the tastefully subtle rhinestone pattern on the temples was especially appealing. The glasses were distinctly feminine and had been quite expensive. They were worth every penny.
Even the lenses were amazing. The shiny gemstones of clear plastic magnified the words on the open pages of a magazine upon where the glasses were laid. It was not apparent that the lower portion of the lenses had an even stronger magnifying power than the top. There was no obvious line or any other tell-tale giveaway. Nothing about the lenses made a statement about the age of the wearer. And yet, Peyton was petrified. Why had this happened to her? Why now did she need glasses? What had changed to make her eyes no longer work well?
At only thirty-five years of age, Peyton wasn’t middle-aged yet. This wasn’t supposed to happen to people until their forties . . . . . or fifties. She still felt young. And fit. She had been competing in triathlons for years and was still getting faster. She was reaching her prime. Peyton had a regular routine seven days a week. Stationary bike for forty minutes every Tuesday and Thursday morning; one hour lap swim every Monday and Wednesday at noon; running with friends every evening from Monday through Thursday; long run every Saturday; long bike ride every Sunday; rest on Fridays. Fridays were fantastic. Why weren’t her eyes as fit as the rest of her body?
Glasses were going to be such an inconvenience. Prescription sunglasses will be needed for outdoor activities and driving. Will she need prescription goggles for lap swimming? She had already ordered some lightweight wire-rimmed glasses to use for workouts so she wouldn’t abuse the pretty red ones. Peyton had been assured that the frames were more durable. The bifocal lenses were much less expensive than the progressives, too. What prescription would she need to put in sunglasses or goggles? Should they be progressives or bifocals? Maybe a single vision lenses would work better? Or would it just be easier to get contact lenses? Oh, but the thought of poking something in her eyes . . . . . then she’d still need readers to see close, anyway. Her doctor had suggested taking it one step at a time. Try different things and see what works best for each activity throughout the day. What a hassle.
And yet, what choice did she have? Peyton had reached the point where she could no longer read anything without glasses. At the least it was impossible to do her job without readers. She had bought some with black plastic frames to try. The prescription worked well. But after several weeks of wearing the readers, she realized that she had lost her ability to see closely. She couldn’t make simple adjustments to her bicycle without them. She had become afraid to take a ride without taking the readers along. Could she fix a flat or reattach a cable without them? She couldn’t even read the tire pressure gage with those tiny numbers. It had become difficult to do daily tasks like getting dressed or making meals without the readers. She had to keep them in her purse to see menus in restaurants or to use a charge card in stores. Really, without overstating it, what options did she have left?
Thirty-five years and she had never had an eye exam until a few days ago. And now, this stupid eye doctor prescribed glasses that he wanted her to wear at all times. Peyton had halfway gotten used to using the single vision readers. But he wanted her to begin wearing bifocals like her grandmother. He said that not only was she presbyopic, she was hyperopic as well. Latent was the word he had used, as though she had always been farsighted but never knew it. Peyton never had any comprehension of those terms before recently. The doctor told her that the tension in her eyes would relax. Soon, she would be able to see in the distance better once she wore glasses full time. She could read the 20/20 line on the chart. How much better vision did he want her to have? He was probably trying to get her to spend more money. They say there’s one born every minute. Then again, perhaps he was right. She hadn’t even bought the glasses from his shop so what was in it for him?
It seemed unfair, though. Sure, she had friends who had worn glasses for years. But even some of the older ones could at least read after removing their glasses. Peyton didn’t mind the idea of wearing glasses for reading. That, in fact, seemed kind of sexy. She’d had some fun with the readers, but total dependence? Who would want that? She had a very active lifestyle. Why would a doctor ask her to do such a crazy thing? It seemed illogical. Perhaps it was justice, though. Everyone else that had worn glasses for many years was getting their revenge now.
Coworkers had become used to seeing her wear the readers. Granted, she needed them only for close work. Still, it had become an assumption that Peyton had been wearing glasses for years because, obviously, she was much too young to need reading glasses. Other women had shown signs of jealousy already. To them, it wasn’t fair that Peyton looked so fit, trim, and gorgeous even when she was wearing glasses. Nobody should look that good in glasses! Still, why hadn’t she been wearing them the day when the photo was taken for her identity/security badge? She should have been, because . . . . . damn . . . . . did she look good in those glasses. The guys thought that would be perfect; a photo recording the necessary proof that she was, in fact, quite striking when wearing glasses.
Peyton had noticed that she had attracted some new “admirers”. There seemed to be someone hanging around her desk all the time. It wasn’t just the men her age either. Some of the younger guys had been lurking about. And worse than that, some of them were married. What was all the fuss? She hadn’t changed her hairstyle, not for a long time. She had not gained or lost weight. With all of the calories she burned during workouts, her size had been steady for years. No, the new interest had to be because of the readers. They were the only thing new. The crazy part is that they only cost $23.95 at a department store. She had never bought any article of clothing that made such an impact for so little money.
All of the newfound attention had prompted Peyton to do some research on the internet. What she discovered was that many men find women in glasses to be especially attractive. She had read their statements and replies in web blogs. They made references such as “sexy librarian”, “teacher taking charge”, “school girl asking for directions on the street”, or often nothing more complicated than “hot”. What a bunch of lecherous jerks! But then in fairness, some of the comments she read sounded really sincere . . . . . really. Lots of men seemed to find glasses alluring in the way they would be attracted to intelligence, personality, or a lovely face. Yeah, some of them just preferred ladies with glasses.
Peyton gently unfolded the arms of the exotic red frames. She studied the glasses for a little longer. If she began wearing them now, there would be no return to the way things were before. Her eyes would become dependent for virtually everything she needed to see. They would relax . . . . . then focus using the powers of the lenses. Her eyes would give up the fight, discontinue their quest to strain and accommodate, and see well only when assisted by glasses. And, with the expectation that her eyes would remain that way until the day she took her last breath. How many people would do that willingly? For their lifetime?
Holding them in both hands, she took a deep breath, exhaled, and carefully placed the glasses on her face. Everything in the mirror came into focus. She brushed her hair behind her ears and examined the look. Their shape matched her thick eyebrows perfectly. Their color complimented and contrasted wonderfully with her complexion and hair. Her beautiful eyes were bright and attractively enlarged looking through the clear lenses. She was pleasantly surprised with the job she had done applying the eyeliner on her aqua eyelids. Not too shabby for the first try with her new magnified eyes. Everything matched rather well with the aqua-colored dress she had chosen to wear.
In fact, it all looked pretty darned good. Her mind came into focus, now. If those guys thought those cheap black readers looked good, wait until they catch sight of these babies! Peyton stood, straightened out the wrinkles in her dress with the flattened palms of her hands, and then took one last look in a full length mirror. She liked what she saw. Softly she spoke out loud, “I bet everyone else will, too.” She snagged her car keys and purse from the countertop, flipped the light switch to the off position, and opened the front door. Wearing glasses for the first time for something besides reading, she gazed into the daylight and spoke again, “This is going to be a fantastic Friday.”