A Worthwhile Love Story
The assistant funeral director approached me as I stood looking into the coffin at the body of my late husband.
“It’s time,” he said in a hushed voice.
I took my last look, and he gently closed the lid, surreptitiously slipping off my husband’s glasses, his watch and his ring before the lid went down.
“We have a collection box in the lobby for the glasses if you wish,” he told me.
“Yes, I realize that. I put some of his other pairs in there, but I might just keep these for a while.” I replied.
The children were already seated. Jamie was with her husband Alex, and their 2 kids, Michelle and Brittany. Jamie wasn’t wearing her glasses today, but both Michelle and Brittany were, as they hadn’t yet wanted contacts. I loved the way the light reflected off the strong lenses of the kids’ glasses. Peter was with his again pregnant wife, Amber, and he was, like his sister Jamie, wearing his contact lenses. Peter didn’t have as strong a prescription as his late father or his 2 sisters had, but he had an aversion to be seen wearing glasses. But Peter and Amber’s 2 children, Brent and Kellie had inherited their strong myopia from both Amber and Peter. It was funny to see Amber and Peter sitting together, Amber looking very beautiful with her strong glasses on, knowing that Peter had an even stronger prescription but refused to wear anything but contacts in public. Our youngest daughter, Jennifer, was sitting beside her husband Todd, and they had left 3 year old Rachel with a sitter, rather than bring her to her grandfather’s funeral. Jennifer was wearing her glasses, and even with the light reflecting off the lenses, it was obvious that these were a strong pair of glasses. The myodisc circles were fairly visible, even though they were not a large bowl size, and even though the frames were quite small and narrow. I reached into my pocket and fingered John’s lenses, running my fingers over the myodisc bowls as I walked to my chair.
The minister said a few words, and a couple of John’s friends from the force got up and spoke of their times with John. I knew these men, and John thought highly of them. I knew they, along with the rest of the force, had also thought highly of John.
As I listened to the men talking my mind drifted back to my own father’s funeral. Daddy had died young. A heart attack at 53 had ended Daddy’s life. John was 69, and even though that was still quite young, John at least had known, and enjoyed the company of some of his grandchildren. Daddy didn’t even know my husband. But I remembered the funeral director taking Daddy’s strong glasses off, and handing them to my mother, just as the young man did for me today.
That was the first thing that I remember; a man standing over me, looking down at me in my crib, his eyes minified behind strong, thick glasses. From then on I was fascinated by the glasses that covered my daddy’s eyes. In the evening when I was young, my daddy would come into my bedroom to read me a story, and as he sat down on the side of my bed with the book in his hand, he would reach up and lower his glasses slightly on his nose. Then he would read, bringing the book up very close to his face. I often wondered when I was a child if I would also wear glasses like my daddy.
The only thing I noticed when I was a child was that much of the time when we went anywhere as a family, my mother would drive the car. Daddy drove himself to work, so he could see well enough to drive, but he didn’t want to drive any more than he had to. And every once in a while I hear mommy and daddy talking about his eyesight, and how little he could see without his glasses.
After I started school I visited the optometrist with daddy every year. But I was never told I needed glasses, and each visit was somewhat of a disappointment, as I had decided I would like to wear glasses. As I grew older, and discovered boys, I tried, without being too obvious, to date boys who wore glasses. This wasn’t really successful, because most of the good looking guys who wore glasses didn’t need very strong glasses, and the two guys I dated during my high school years that did wear nice strong glasses had brilliant minds, but were not really my top pick for husband material.
The selection of guys with stronger glasses was better during my university years, but I never really clicked with any of them. I was getting a little worried by the time I graduated that if I was going to get married, I might have to settle for a guy I really wasn’t in love with. But, wisdom prevailed. I graduated without settling for a guy I really didn’t feel I could spend the rest of my life with.
I had taken a course in law and security, and upon graduating I was hired by the police force in a reasonably good size city on the west coast. After I started work I realized that I wasn’t going to ever manage to meet my highly myopic guy working for the police department. There were vision standards that the applicants had to meet before they could be hired, and while I believe that a low myope could be hired, I think they had to be able to wear contact lenses, and carry a spare pair of glasses with them at all times for backup. I was assigned to the beat force for a while, and I spent my time in an office advising them on procedure, and technicalities. I really didn’t want to be behind a desk, but I wasn’t fussy on donning a uniform to go out on the streets, so when an opening came along in the detective division I jumped at the opportunity.
I hadn’t been in the detective division for more than 6 months when the city hired this super hot shot murder investigator from a small town up the coast. When I met this new detective I fell in love with him at first sight. He was gorgeous. By this time I had pretty well given up on my hopes of marrying a highly myopic man. I had even given up on the thought of marrying a moderately myopic man, although I hadn’t stopped looking. I just hadn’t been able to find one.
John came to the department with a pedigree that was hard to beat. He had started out in the small town where he was raised as a beat cop, but after a year he became their only detective because he had solved a particularly baffling case. No one knew how he did it, but before long his assistance was requested by all of the surrounding towns whenever they had a murder on their hands. John had a 100% success rate in solving the crimes, and he also had a 100% conviction rate. So, our chief was quite pleased that he had been able to lure John away from the small town he lived in. And the faith that the department placed in John wasn’t misguided. John started to solve most of the murder cases in our area. He even took a couple of cold case files and found the killers on them as well. He had been placed on a pedestal by the mayor, and the chief.
I worked with John from time to time. Anytime he needed information I was usually the one he called on. I began to lust after this handsome hunk of man, but I did my best to not let it show. One day I had been in court testifying about some documentation I had discovered for John’s case, and after I was finished John stopped me as I was leaving.
“Your testimony will be a big help in getting the conviction. I’d like to invite you to dinner to celebrate.” John said.
“Are you sure it isn’t premature?” I asked.
“No, the case will go to the jury after lunch, and the defendant will be convicted by 5:00PM. This case really is an open and shut one.” John replied.
“I’d love to go to dinner with you. Should we meet somewhere?”
“I can either pick you up, or if you prefer we can meet at the restaurant.” John replied.
“Let’s just meet at the restaurant. I know how you cops are. If there is a page for you regarding another murder you will be off like a shot.” I replied
“You are so right. Let’s meet at 6 pm at Barney’s.” John said.
Naturally, because we had prepared for it, murder took the night off. John could have easily picked me up, and taken me home, but we each had our own cars. After a really good meal I toyed with the idea of asking John back to my apartment for a nightcap, but I thought it was a little too forward, and a little too soon. John did follow me home, and when I parked my car he gave me a nice kiss and a hug, and thanked me very much for a wonderful evening.
It was difficult during the next few days. I wondered if this was a one night deal, or if John would ask me out again. I thought he had enjoyed himself, but I couldn’t be sure. Just when I was thinking I had done something wrong, flowers showed up at my desk with a card. The card read: “Saturday, dinner and a movie. I’ll pick you up at 6. John.”
I know I was beaming when I glanced over at him in his cubicle, and nodded my head in assent.
That Saturday night John and I had a wonderful time. I was falling in love with him, even though I was going against my own desires to find and marry a highly myopic guy. I had noticed that evening in the restaurant that John wore contact lenses, but I knew that John could only have a very mild prescription, as he never would have gotten hired as a police officer with the type of prescription that I wanted in a man. But he was so very nice I decided that I was going to have to forget my idea of finding a highly myopic man as a husband. Even when he took me home he was a perfect gentleman. He walked me to my door, and gave me a hug and a kiss, before he left.
This same scenario was repeated the following Saturday night. I was beginning to wonder if he was ever going to ask me if he could come in for a nightcap. The next weekend we had to both work, and fortunately there were no serious cases that we got dragged into.
John was going to be busy the following Saturday night, so we decided we would go out on Friday that weekend. As we were driving towards my place I asked him if he would care to come in for a coffee or a nightcap.
“Do you have any Kalhua or Tia Maria to put in our coffee?” John asked.
“No, just some cognac.” I replied.
“I prefer Kalhua. Lets stop and I’ll pick up a small bottle.” John replied.
We pulled into the parking lot of a small liquor store, and John went inside. I opened the glove box door, and noticed a glasses case inside. Making sure John didn’t come back out and catch me I took the case out and slid the glasses out of the case. I couldn’t believe what I saw. There was the thickest pair of lenses I had ever seen. The owner of these glasses had a major case of severe myopia. I wondered who could possibly own these glasses. Before John returned I slid them back into the case and I closed the glove box door.
This time John came up to my apartment with me. I made coffee, and doctored it with a little bit of liqueur. As we sat on my couch drinking it and casually chatting John asked me what my biggest fantasy was. I saw no reason to lie.
“I would like to make love to a man who has to wear glasses with coke bottle lenses.” I replied.
I saw John’s jaw drop. “How did you know?” John asked.
“Know what?” I asked right back.
“That I am very nearsighted, and wear coke bottle glasses when I am not wearing contacts.” John replied.
“I knew you wore contacts, but I had no idea that you wore strong glasses. You asked me for my fantasy and I told you.” I answered.
“Well, now you know my secret. Will you keep quiet about it?” John asked.
“I certainly will as long as you take out your contacts, put on your glasses and make love to me. But let me first ask you how you got a job with the Police department with such bad eyes?” I asked.
“When I was 21 my Uncle was elected to be the police chief in the town where I grew up from the age of 13. My mom and my sister and I had moved there to be close to her sister after dad died. Aunt Jenny was as nearsighted as my mom, and my sister and I had inherited the family myopia. But I had gotten contact lenses just before we moved, so nobody in town knew I was extremely nearsighted except Uncle Tim. He needed a deputy, and I needed a job, so he sent me for a physical with the local doctor. All the doctor did was to have me read an eye chart. He asked me about my contacts, but never asked how strong they were or anything, so I got the job. Then I discovered I was pretty darned good at figuring out clues at accident and murder scenes. Before long I had developed a reputation, and other police forces began requesting my services. When I was hired here they didn’t even give me a physical.” John told me.
“So nobody knows how bad your eyes really are?” I asked.
“Nobody but close family and now you.” John replied.
“Well, I’ll never tell. Now get your glasses, and take your contact lenses out.” I replied with a smile.
“I don’t have any solution, or a case to put them in.” John said.
“I can help you with that. One of my previous boyfriends slept over once in a while, and I have a case and some fresh solution left over from him.” I replied.
“Well, then I have run out of excuses.” John told me.
He went off to get his glasses from the car. I got the case and the solution out and ready for him, and he went into the bathroom to switch the contacts for the glasses. When he came out he was wearing the really thick strong glasses I had found in the glove box. He looked wonderful, and I told him so. John did not go home that night, and before long we found we were spending a lot of nights together.
John and I dated for about 6 months before we decided that we would get married. My dad and mom had married and had me by the time my dad was 25. Now I was 30, and dad had passed away a couple of years previously, so I was aware that time was fleeting by, and I didn’t want to wait any longer. John was 32, and I think he felt the same way.
With the help of a couple of already married girlfriends we managed to get everything set up so a wedding could be held within 3 months. Sure, I had to compromise on a number of things, but the end result was that I was getting married to a man I was extremely attracted to, and loved with all my heart.
John’s Uncle Tim and his Aunt Jenny came down for the wedding along with his sister Angela, and his mother. Beth, my future mother in law, had recently been operated on for cataracts, and had her inner lenses removed. She was still wearing glasses with a decent minus to them, but obviously they were nowhere near as strong as her previous glasses had been. Angela, John’s younger sister, was not wearing glasses for the wedding, and I knew that she normally wore contacts in public because John had told me that her own glasses were at least as strong as John’s. Aunt Jenny did wear her glasses though, and I could tell from the circles in the middle of her lenses where the power was that Jenny had a very strong prescription. John told me that his mother had worn glasses that were almost the same as Jenny’s before her operation. Silently, I regretted to myself that John and Angela had to hide their strong myopia from the public, but if their glasses were as strong as their Aunt Jenny’s I could understand why.
John and I wasted no time to start our family. Jamie was born within the first year, Peter came along a couple of years after Jamie, and Jennifer was born almost 3 years after Peter. By the time Peter was born Jamie was already wearing glasses with about a -6D prescription, and she had taken to them readily. Of course it helped that John was very good about removing his contacts the minute he came home, and would wear his extremely strong glasses around home. Since murder doesn’t take any holidays, and has no set hours neither did John, so with his being on call all the time he quickly got accustomed to resting his eyes from contact lens wear whenever possible.
Peter didn’t need glasses until he started into first grade at around age 6. And his first glasses were a mild -1.75D. But Jennifer took after her namesake, John’s Aunt Jenny. By the time Jennifer entered first grade her prescription was around -12D. Sure, the front of her lenses were plano, and they looked pretty strong, but I thought she looked cute as a button.
By the time Jamie was 15, and wanted the contact lenses we had promised her for her birthday her prescription was around -15D. Peter, at age 13 was bouncing around in his now -6D glasses, and was also pressuring us for contact lenses so he could play baseball better. But we told him he would have to wait until he was 15, so he accepted that. Jennifer, at age 10 had a prescription of around -18D by now, and the doctor had told us that she would soon be needing myodiscs. This didn’t faze Jennifer at all, because her Great Aunt Jenny, her aunt Angela and her dad all wore myodiscs now.
When John was almost 50 he had been wearing reading glasses over his contacts for 2 or 3 years. But, with the eye exam he had around his 50th birthday, his doctor advised him that he needed to cut back on his contact lens wear. So, with the help of a friendly optician, John ended up with a pair of very nice looking blended myodiscs. The lenses were a high index glass, from somewhere in Europe, and while they were a bit heavy, they looked great. Wearing these glasses one night to a crime scene allowed John to introduce his glasses to the rest of the world, and before long John’s contact lenses were relegated to the dresser drawer, to be worn only on special occasions.
When Jamie was 20 she became pregnant. Her boyfriend Alex was a good kid, had a decent job, and both John and I liked him a lot, so we were not terribly disappointed when they decided to get married. The wedding was pretty rushed, much like our own wedding, but at least John and I didn’t have a deadline. Jamie and Alex made the deadline, and Michelle was born 3 months later.
With all the fuss over Jamie’s pregnancy John and I had forgotten about Jennifer, who we had promised to buy contact lenses for on her 15th birthday, as we did for both Jamie and Peter. Jennifer now needed a new prescription again, but instead of wanting contact lenses she wanted new glasses just like daddy’s blended myodiscs for her now -21D prescription. So we bought her the glasses that she wanted, and she was happy as could be. I envied Jennifer, as I would have loved to wear the glasses she now had. Actually I would have loved to have needed the -17D prescription that Jamie now needed, or even Peter’s -13D. But I had to be satisfied with sitting on the sidelines, knowing that eventually I would soon need reading glasses, possibly bifocals before too long.
The problem with high myopia is usually that the retina’s become stretched too thin, and they begin to detach. All of John’s family was born with eyeballs that were too long, and they continued to elongate throughout life. But for some reason all of the family had really good retinas, and no one seemed to be in any danger of a retinal detachment. Certainly, they were all warned about the possibility of having one, and everyone was told of the symptoms to watch out for. Another abnormality in John’s and now my family was that there was virtually no astigmatism, and as a result, even with very strong prescriptions like Johns’ Aunt Jenny and her -36D prescription, their visual acuity was extremely good. So, it didn’t worry me too much when Jennifer ended up graduating from university with a -28D prescription. It also didn’t worry me when Michelle was, like her mother, wearing glasses before she was 2 years old.
Brittany followed in her sister and her mom’s footsteps, although her first glasses were a little stronger than Michelle’s had been. By now Peter had married Amber, a young lady with a very nice -12D prescription. Now Peter needed -15D himself, but it looked as if he had reached the point where any future increases would be minimal. Amber was gorgeous, and unlike Peter, had no aversion to wearing glasses. Certainly, she wore contact lenses for their wedding, but I can’t remember seeing her without glasses very often. Brent got his first glasses around age 3, but Kellie was like her aunt Jennifer, and was wearing glasses before her first birthday. And Kellie had a number of increases, so that by the time of her grandfather’s funeral she was almost at a point where myodiscs would be in her life forever.
Jennifer, who was 30, was a schoolteacher. She had never gotten herself a pair of contact lenses, and her now -30D myodiscs looked very natural on her face. No one had seen Jennifer without glasses since she was a year old. And it looked like my granddaughter Rachel was going to be exactly like her mom, especially with her mom and all of her cousin’s as role models.
The service was over and everyone was standing to leave for the cemetery. John had wanted a conventional funeral, so we were all going to the gravesite. I noticed Jamie heading for the washroom, and I could see the tears on her cheeks, so I wasn’t surprised when she got into the lead funeral car beside me wearing her glasses. Her prescription had jumped when she had her 2 kids, and she now wore myodiscs similar to her younger sister’s, but with only around a -23 or -24D prescription. I glanced around the gravesite at my children and grandchildren and I thanked John for the legacy he left me as we lowered him into the ground.