I watched the cheerleaders from my position at the end of the second string bench. Yes, that is what I was, a second string tackle on the football team, and since this was my final year of high school, and I was the very last tackle on the team to be put into games, I thought it was highly unlikely that I would ever make the first string. By far the prettiest, and most popular cheerleader was Tanya. She was simply gorgeous. No other words could describe her. And, she was very popular. Her boyfriend Steve was our quarterback, and together they were an item in the school.
But Tanya had a secret. I was one of the very few that knew that Tanya was extremely nearsighted and wore contacts, and it was only because I worked at the local optical store that I knew her secret. Sure, she once wore glasses, when she was much younger, but I am pretty sure that Tanya hadn't had a pair of glasses on, at least in public, since she was around 11 years old. According to her file, which I had looked at a number of times since I had gotten my job, Tanya had first gotten contact lenses on her 10th birthday. And, according to her chart, Tanya was now a very nearsighted young lady. She was presently wearing contacts with a -10D prescription, which were the strongest power available in extended wear disposables. According to the table, this meant that her glasses had a prescription that was at least - 11.50D, and if she were forced to wear glasses, they would indeed be very strong, with thick lenses. She definitely wouldn't be able to hide her vision problem then.
Oh well, one could only wish, but there was nothing I could do to make my wish come true. I shouldn't even think such nasty thoughts, but when Tanya was younger she and I had been very close friends, and I had dreamed of marrying her when we were old enough to do so. But, as she became more attractive and entered high school, she had become one of the "chosen few". That is what we called the "in crowd" here at school. Early in the spring I had a date with Tanya to go to a movie, but when I had gotten to her house to pick her up, her mom told me that Tanya was sorry, but she couldn't go out with me that night. Or, as it turned out, any other time either, and soon after that Steve became her steady date. Also, she hadn't said more than a quick "hello" to me after that.
As the school year passed from the football season into the hockey season I moved a bit higher up on the jock totem pole. I was a darned good hockey player, and, while I played defense due to my rather large size, I also scored more than my share of goals. But Steve was our star center, so he and Tanya were still as close as ever. I shared a couple of classes with Tanya, and I thought I had noticed her squinting to see the board more than once in the fall semester. Sure enough, after Christmas break, our teacher put Tanya right up in the front row, so I knew it wouldn't be long before an eye examination, and stronger contact lenses were in order.
I had noticed Tanya's name written in the doctor's appointment book for the following afternoon after school, and I was pleased that I was working that evening. I did make sure that Tanya didn't see me, but I was close enough to hear the doctor tell her that she had been wearing her contacts too much, and that some of the blood vessels close to the surface of her eyes were about to rupture. His advice to her was to stop wearing contacts altogether for at least 6 months, and he would then re-examine her eyes to see if she could still wear contacts, but at a much lower rate of wear. I heard her whine and cry to the doctor over this piece of advice, but I knew that after the doctor told her that she could go blind if she didn't follow his advice that she would soon be having to wear glasses. I wanted to dance, and jump with joy, as it seemed that my wishes had come true.
Tanya and her mom went into the optical store, and our store optician helped her choose a frame. I heard him tell Tanya that with her prescription she should choose a small frame, and that he would suggest hi index plastic lenses to reduce the thickness. So, Tanya now had a pair of glasses on order.
I don't know if the phrase "the devil made me do it" is the one that you use, or are familiar with, but for me that is exactly what happened next. Jim, the optician that had served Tanya, was leaving that night for a two week vacation, and I am the one who does the grunt work in ordering glasses. So, when Jim put Tanya's order in the box on my desk, and bid me goodbye, I just couldn't resist. I walked over to the frames, and picked a frame that was a couple of sizes larger than the one that Jim had chosen for Tanya. Then on the order I wrote in CR 39 with a 3mm center thickness. These glasses were going to have very thick lenses. Further, Tanya's prescription had gone up considerably as well. The prescription for her glasses was a minus 12.50D with -1.25D astigmatism for both eyes.
A week went by, and the glasses came in. Even I was shocked at the thickness of the lenses. I measured them, and they were more than ¾" thick at the thickest point. I knew Tanya would scream when she saw theme. But, she would have no choice, if she didn't want to ruin her eyes. Further, the doctor had written right on her prescription in big letters "Not valid for contact lenses", and I knew Tanya had to be on her last pair of contacts. I had gone into a print shop program on my computer, and had forged a letter from the optical lab saying how sorry they were to be unable to supply the lenses that had been ordered, but due to a 30 day waiting period for the type of lenses that had been ordered, and since this was a rush job they felt that they should make the glasses in whatever material they had on hand. They offered a special deal on the hi index lenses at a later date should the customer decide they still wanted the thinner lenses. The letter looked pretty professional, if I do say so myself.
That afternoon after school Tanya and her mother showed up to pick up her new glasses. Even her mom gasped when she saw how thick the lenses were. My letter did the trick so that the assistant manager didn't phone the company and give the lab heck. Tanya was actually crying when she left the store, wearing the new glasses. I wasn't surprised the next day to see that Tanya was not at school. I was fortunate enough to walk past her two best friends in the hall, and I overheard Janie telling Melissa about Tanya's awful coke bottle glasses. I could barely stop myself from laughing.
The following day was Thursday, and after school we had hockey practice. After practice we were all in the locker room, and Mike asked Steve if he and Tanya were going to the school dance the next night. Steve's answer, filled with profanity, told Mike in no uncertain terms what he thought about Tanya, and her new glasses, and he ended up saying that he wouldn't be seen dead with her wearing glasses like that. So, I casually asked if that meant they had broken up, and was met with the F_____'n right response.
I didn't dare call Tanya, as the world had not yet seen her in glasses, and I wasn't about to clue her in on what my part had been in this matter. So, I cooled my heels over the weekend, and I hoped that she would be at school on Monday. She was, and I maneuvered myself so we walked into the classroom together.
" Oh my gosh Tanya. I didn't realize that those were your glasses." I said
"Well, they are, and I am stuck with them for a while. And what do you mean you didn't realize they were mine," she replied.
" I work at First Class Optical after school a couple of days during the week, and on weekends. I saw them when they came in, and wondered who's they were. For such a strong prescription, they look very nice on you" I responded.
"I bet you wouldn't ask me out knowing that I had to wear them out on a date," she said
Well that was the opening I was looking for, and the time was right to ask, but instead I just told her I definitely would if she was available. She didn't respond, and I didn't push any harder.
I had wanted to teach Tanya a lesson in humility, and it was working. It seemed that all of her "snobby" group of friends had dropped her from their inner circle. She had even been benched as a cheerleader, as the teacher in charge told her that the school couldn't take a chance that she might break her glasses while cheerleading. It was almost sad to see such a previously popular girl on the downhill slide.
On Saturday night, I had scored a couple of goals during the hockey game. Steve had gotten a goal, and one assist, but I took center stage as the most valuable player. After the game, as I walked out of the arena I heard a female voice say, "great game Jason."
I looked around, and saw Tanya standing there. This was the time. I was riding high on my popularity, so I asked her if she would like to come with me to the coffee shop for a cup of whatever, and she accepted. On the ride over I was very surprised when Tanya apologized about the way she had dropped me, and ended our friendship the previous spring.
So, Tanya and I sat in the coffee shop and talked for hours. I found that I could not take my eyes off her - or maybe her glasses, or both. I have always had a strong curiosity and attraction for a girl that wears glasses, especially one with very thick lenses, and I was beginning to find that I was extremely attracted to this one particular girl.
Over the next few years, I finished my courses, and became an optician. I ended up working at the local optical store, and I found that I really enjoyed my work. Tanya took some computer courses, and got a secretarial job with a lawyer in town. Tanya and I continued to date and oh yes, we did get married. As one of my wedding presents to her, I bought her the glasses that she had originally ordered - with a little bit stronger prescription by then, but they were a lot thinner than her other glasses with the plastic lenses, so she was very pleased. When we graduated from high school, the doctor had given her the all clear to go back to wearing contacts, but only for special occasions, so I also got her contact lenses in the newest, most comfortable long wearing soft lenses. But, she hasn't felt the need to wear very often now, and she still wears her glasses with the thick plastic lenses when we are alone around the house just for me. I am indeed very happy!!
With special thanks to Andy, who gave me the idea for the story, and to AJ my proofreader.