Ruth, my girl friend of a short time, turned to say, “We need to stop at the drug store a minute. There is something I need to give to a friend who works there.” A mile down the road I drove into the entrance of the quaint mall and found a place to park the car. Walking hand-in-hand up the sidewalk, with gentlemanly manners I opened the door for Ruth and followed through. From previous experience she knew where to find her friend.
As we approached, the friend turned in recognition. When I saw her face, my heart skipped a beat. Sure we had been classmates in high school for several years. But we belonged to different circles socially at least until that moment. I had known little about her and had been given few opportunities to discover more. In fact, that was the first time we had been introduced by a mutual acquaintance. In reality, I had known her name long before. And though she had always seemed attractive, there had never been anything especially remarkable about her before.
But now, in her seventeenth year, as she stood smiling, she was wearing glasses made of black plastic. Her eyes glistened, perfectly framed as though they had been painted on an artist’s canvas. Although my focus was only on her, I watched as the two young women conversed. Not a word of theirs penetrated my thoughts.
As she spoke, nodded, and listened, I studied the movements of her face. Her skin was radiant. Her wavy black hair shined with depth. Her dark eyes were animated and inviting. Her nose was perfectly suited for the assignment of supporting the dazzling frames. Ears, hidden by the picturesque hair, satisfied the task of restraining the glasses properly. Not once did her hands reach to adjust the fit. Her lips moved gracefully with eloquence. Would they feel smooth and soft? I watched in awe wondering how they would taste.
The lenses in the gorgeous frames were stunning. Relative strength was exposed by the intensity of her enlarged eyes in the rectangular shape. The squared corners seemed exceptionally intricate. Somehow, there was warmth in their thickness and a gray hue of color despite their absolute clarity. I was captivated by the reflections of scenery displayed as the lenses were moved about by her head. But how had she been able to perform before the glasses were placed there? How had her eyes been able to endure the strain? Had she known that, for her, correction was imminent? How had she felt when she realized the inevitability of that consequence? Those were the questions that lingered had I been privy to the asking.
And what allowed her to wear glasses so comfortably? She seemed perfectly at ease. Had she not feared the premiere of her being seen? Perhaps she savored that new opportunity? Her reliance was unquestionable yet she was unfettered. How was that so? Ruth would never wear her glasses when it was possible to be seen by others. Not ever. But then, neither would I. Though I wanted badly to be that dependent, I was the one who was an absolute coward to be declared dependent. But this stylish young woman, that had redirected my attention, carried on as though nothing in her life had changed. Her confidence was indisputable despite the feasibility that the unavoidable device on her face could make her seem much less desirable to some. Had she seized upon the comprehension that glasses made her even more desirable to others? And though they might be bothersome and inconvenient to her lifestyle, I knew she understood more than anyone that glasses were the only reason that her eyes could see well. Surely, she had to grasp how they made her look? But was she aware of how they made me feel?
In the end, my only contribution to the conversation had been, “It is nice to finally meet you.” It must have been articulated with too much enthusiasm based on the quiet ride that followed. Maybe what was most damning was the fact that my eyes never left hers once the connection was established. When we left, I struggled to avoid looking over my shoulder. I missed the sight of her face instantly. It was no surprise that Ruth and I never dated again.