My eyes protested as I left the dark confines of the parking garage and merged into the rush hour traffic on the bright downtown street. Within a few blocks, I was high above the Mississippi on the bridge heading north towards the Iowa side of the Quad Cities. The banks of the river were overflowing with rushing water caused by the extraordinary amount of early summer rains. It was a wondrous sight, though I’m certain the flood victims downstream would take exception to my choice of adjectives.
I’ve always loved working in that high rise building in downtown Rock Island. The view from my office is spectacular. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m there for my job. Today had been a pressure cooker but it was nothing like I expected to find when I arrived home to face my wife. I needed to unwind and de-stress before that. When I descended back to ground level, I continued into the city streets instead of following the main highway. There’s something peaceful about driving through the quaint neighborhoods of older Davenport. I suppose it reminds me of a simpler time when I lived happily as a child in one of those homes.
I now reside in an enormous house in a suburban area outside of the city. You know the kind of neighborhood where everything is new, big, and packed with the latest gadgets? You have to drive in traffic congestion throughout the entire commute only to reach the overused and under-improved roads in the outskirts. Because everything has been built over farmland, there’s nothing but dirt, dust, and cornfields. Every house has new sod, a sprinkler running perpetually in the summer, and a couple of small trees staked to the ground with twine.
I hate my arrogant and pretentious neighbors but more recently I’ve come to detest conversations with my wife even more. As she spends our retirement funds to enhance and perfect a 5-bedroom house for two, I long to live in the old part of the cities where sidewalks can be utilized to seek out restaurants, pubs, coffeehouses, and shops. Our marital issues are much deeper than simple problems with dialogue and living quarters. That story is long, complicated, and best left for a therapist to decipher.
There is one small thing that has bothered me in a major way. When we first met, something that I found to be an absolute delight was the fact that my wife wore glasses. She occasionally tried to wear contact lenses but was really never disciplined enough to handle the additional upkeep. I was captivated every time she smiled and looked at me with glasses on her face. Her lenses were pretty strong since she had become myopic at age ten. I used to be able to stare at her face and especially into those eyes for hours wanting nothing more than to be with her, touch her, and protect her.
After a while she became aware of my preferences. When she tried to tease me about my interest in eyewear, I would smile but never readily admit to having a fetish. Perhaps I should have. Over time she tired of wearing glasses and chose to have surgery for vision correction. I know it was understandable and has become common. Glasses had been a part of her life, and in the way, for many years. It was understandable for her to want to seek the freedom from dependence. But, she was one of the patients of an early practitioner of radial keratotomy. He was one of the doctors that did the surgery by hand prior to the advent of laser surgeries. I pleaded with her not to have it done. I provided all of the information that I could muster in those pre-internet times trying to explain the possible and likely perils. She passed it off as nothing more than me wanting to indulge in my fantasies while all she wanted to do was improve and control a life-long medical affliction.
Now she sees starbursts and halos at night. Though her eyesight was improved, it was never exactly right. Over recent years, she has slowly become farsighted. She found, as I had warned, that she needed glasses to see closely. Eventually she began to use readers but passed that off as nothing more than typical aging. And that was true to a certain extent but more recently her distance vision has become rather poor. She drives, particularly at night, cheerfully scaring the wits out of all passengers. But she ignores the concerns of all of her riders especially mine.
Despite the results of yearly vision exams, she has adamantly refused to wear glasses for anything other than reading. Constantly saying that surgery was supposed to have corrected her vision to 20/20, she therefore should need no glasses of any kind. She believes that if she begins using them again, she will become totally dependent on their need as she had before. Then she complains that labels, phones, and maps should be printed with larger letters. But the craziest part of all is that she knows that I love the sight of her wearing glasses. What she pictures as an embarrassing flaw, I find to be one of her greatest physical attributes. She figures that if I really loved her, I would accept her as she is and as she wants to be. Maybe she is right.
With a sudden jerk on the steering wheel, my thoughts were interrupted by a loud crash. Without knowing what happened, my car was violently shoved perpendicular to the direction of travel. When it came to rest, the engine was stalled. The only sound that I could hear was from steam spewing from another car nearby. The car door was crushed into the seat and against my body. I was hopelessly trapped against the transmission tunnel. As I came to the realization that I felt no pain, I lost consciousness.
When I awoke, I was lying in an unfamiliar room in a sterile atmosphere surrounded by tan curtains. As I gained my senses, it seemed obvious that I was in a hospital. No one was attending to me, though, and I appeared to be alone. I sat up on the gurney and listened to the pained cries of other people. I heard sobbing families and grieving friends but there were no voices that I recognized.
After a short time that seemed endless, the curtains were parted by a most handsome woman who stepped through them.
“Good evening, Dr. Graham. Would you follow me please?” she asked as she turned and motioned with her head.
My arms and legs, in fact everything, seemed to be working so I slowly stood. Lustily, I thought to myself, “I would follow her anywhere.”
We walked out of the room and entered the hallway where we gradually left the noises of the agonized and disturbed people behind. As we strolled, I sized up the looks of this picturesque woman. Her walk was poised and sensuous. She was about 5’5”, though she seemed nearly as tall as me since she was wearing sling-backed peep toe pumps with 4-inch stacked heals. Her legs were long, thin, but shapely with nicely defined muscles. That pretty well described the rest of her body as well. She was wearing a pleated skirt that swung playfully above her knees as she walked. Her long-sleeved white blouse was form-fitted with the tail tucked neatly into her skirt. The first three buttons were undone displaying a delicate gold necklace. Her hair was blond with dark brown undertones and cut to dangle gently on her shoulders. Tortoise glasses with an oval shape revealed dark gray eyes behind substantial lenses. I kept thinking, “My god, she’s my dream girl.” But then I often think that about a lot of ladies.
The woman seemed quite polished and I was about to ask what her job was when I was distracted by the sounds of a large gathering of people. We arrived at an opened double door and stepped into a sizable atrium that contained luscious plants and magnificent furniture. Everyone was milling about and enjoying relaxed conversation. A jazz quartet, with a trumpet lead, was playing rich melodic tunes from the center of the room. There were several bars scattered around. Next to each of them was a circular table with numerous levels of hors d’oeuvres. I was attending a cocktail party and it felt perfect. Finally my escort introduced herself to me.
“My name is Junnifer. You will have to wait here for a while to be processed. In the meantime, I can assist you with anything you may need.”
“Junnifer, do you need to see my insurance card . . . . .”
“No, that won’t be necessary,” she interrupted.
“. . . . . because it is in my wallet which, by the way, I have no idea where that is.” I continued.
“It’s in a safe place for now,” she responded.
“Can you tell me if I’m OK? I mean . . . . . how did I get here? The last thing I remember, I passed out . . . . . yeah, I was bleeding.”
“You are fine, now. You were transported here by an ambulance. Would you like a drink?”
“That does sound good. I’d love a Gibson.”
“That’s a martini garnished with a cocktail onion?”
“Very well, I’ll return soon.”
Junnifer gracefully stood and walked away. I couldn’t help but watch every step taken by her sumptuous legs as she disappeared into the crowd. I began to look around and realized that there were a lot of very attractive women in the atrium. They were generally a bit younger than me. All of the ladies seemed to be well dressed and quite shapely. They ranged in height from about 5’ 0” to 5’ 7”. Most of them were wearing some kind of attractive high heel shoes with a short skirt or dress that disclosed their gorgeous legs. None were taller than me even in heels. The ladies wore many different styles of clothes and had a variety of body types, but for sure, all of the ladies were desirable. Some had full hips and were buxom. Others were narrowly shaped and slender, more like Junnifer. They had many assorted styles of hair and coloring but, then, that seemed normal to me. And there were many fascinating faces. Each had features that I liked but they varied significantly. They had different hairlines, eyebrows, noses, ears, necks, and smiles. The women were distinguished by many skin types and skin tones. There were striking arms, hands, knees, and ankles. How did they get so many attractive women in one place? What were they doing here? They were so pleasant to watch.
And then it dawned on me. Every woman in the room was wearing glasses. It was like looking at the frames on the wall of an optical store except that all of the selections were being modeled by real women seeing through actual prescriptions. There were many designs, yet, all of them were appealing. There were many lens types and, yes, all of them were alluring. There were trend-setting frames. There were conservative frames. There were luxurious-looking frames. There were colorful frames. There were lenses that magnified and lenses with power rings. There were plano-fronted lenses that flashed reflections revealing noteworthy strength. There were lenses that radiated hypnotic glare while others were made with colorful anti-reflective coatings. Everything I could imagine in eyewear seemed to be represented!
The women were dressed to perfectly compliment and coordinate with their eyeglasses, too. All of them seemed to be occupied in conversations but each of them mingled around the room until eventually working their way near me. In time, I basically got to inspect each of the women at a relatively close range. I received more than my share of smiles and a few winks. Some of the ladies flirted. Others played coy and pretended they had no idea that I was watching. There seemed to be hundreds of them but each appeared to be very aware of my presence. In fact, there seemed to be no end to their beauty. I realized there were no walls in the atrium. Its expanse seemed endless. Where was I and who were these beautiful women?
None of them were as attractive as Junnifer, though. It seemed like she had been gone for hours. I didn’t really mind since it was easy time for me. All I had to do was watch, gape, and imagine. I’m surprised that I wasn’t drooling on the floor when she finally returned with drinks in hand.
“Well, did you see anything you liked?” Junnifer asked as she placed a martini glass on the table between our chairs.
“Everything,” I blurted before I caught myself. Then I cringed and covered my face in embarrassment thinking, “Oh god, busted.”
“It’s OK,” she laughed, “That’s why we’re here.”
“Which is where? I don’t get it. Was I not hurt in the accident? What hit me?”
“A teenage driver, text messaging on a cell phone, ran a stop sign and hit you broadside.”
“Oh, god. What happened to him?”
“Her. She broke her glasses. But not to worry, Dr. Graham, she’s fine. She can get new glasses . . . . . and a new car.”
“Then I don’t understand. Who are these women? They all seem so charming . . . . . and tempting.”
“They are here for you. We are just trying to assess your preferences. Can you tell me which ones you like the most?”
“Well, it’s a little embarrassing to say, Junnifer. But . . . . . I’m attracted to you the most.”
“But, you like a lot of the other ladies as well?” she asked almost as a statement.
“Yes, I admit I do. There are things I find attractive about most all of them. Is that wrong?”
“There are no wrong answers, Dr. Graham. We just want to evaluate your needs.”
“My needs? For what?”
“Forever? Junnifer, where am I? Is this Iowa?”
“No . . . . . it’s heaven.”
Author’s note: As the baseball season comes to and end, here in the colonies, I couldn’t resist having a little fun. I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.