I could feel myself starting to wake up. My head was a complete fog, and I was suffering from a miserable feeling headache. Could I have been out drinking last night? No, wait, I remembered being in a Jeep. Then I vaguely remembered a big explosion. Thatís right; I was riding in a Jeep between our command post and Army headquarters in Baghdad. But where was I now? As I opened my eyes I could see I was in a modern hospital room. Maybe I was in Baghdad.
Just then a nurse walked into the room. I looked at her face. It was a pretty face, but on her nose was a pair of glasses that were probably the ugliest glasses I had ever seen. There were 2 small circles in the center of each lens, and behind the lenses her eyes looked like tiny bulls eyes, surrounded by rings. Her eyes looked to be a pale blue, but I couldnít be sure. This was one blind lady if her glasses were any indication of her eyesight.
"So you have finally awakened Major." The almost blind nurse said, more as a statement than a question.
"Yes, I have. Where am I?" I asked. She drew closer, and I could read the name on her tag. Cheryl was what the name tag read. It was a nice name, and she appeared to be a pretty lady, with a really decent figure, and she was very well endowed.
"You are in a military hospital just outside of Washington D.C. Major. You have been unconscious for almost a month. The doctors have kept you drugged, waiting for the swelling in your brain to go down, and finally it subsided enough that we were allowed to let you wake up naturally. It sounds as if you have not suffered any permanent damage." Cheryl replied.
"Can I get out of bed and go to the washroom Cheryl?" I asked.
"Well, thereís the little problem of your left leg Major." Cheryl started.
"What do you mean little problem?" I asked sharply.
"It has been amputated from just below the knee. I am afraid that you wouldnít be able to walk to the washroom. Now that you are awake though they will likely fit you with a prosthetic, and we will begin therapy so that you can walk again." Cheryl replied.
"Are you a nurse?" I asked.
"No major, I am not a nurse. I am an RNA. My eyesight isnít good enough for me to be a qualified nurse. But I am a therapist, and I will be working with you during your therapy.í Cheryl said.
It took some time for it to sink in that I had lost my left leg from just below the knee. Cheryl brought me a pair of crutches, and after a couple of days I was able to get out of bed by myself, and go to the bathroom. Soon, with her help, I managed to go for walks down the hospital corridor. I felt badly for Cheryl, that she was so handicapped by her poor eyesight. It saddened me when I saw her attempt to read my chart in the morning to see if there had been any changes overnight. She would bring the clipboard up to within 5 or 6 inches from her face, and sometimes if the light was a little dim she would pull a small magnifying glass from her pocket and use it to help her see what was written there. I could understand why they wouldnít let her be a nurse. Even with her thick glasses her vision was so poor that they couldnít take a chance that she would misread something important.
Before long I was fitted with an artificial leg and foot. Of course I had to use the crutches still, but Cheryl assured me that I would eventually be able to walk without assistance. I suspected that I would be discharged, and would end up going home, where my girlfriend was waiting for us to get married. Or, at least I thought she was. I could understand her not coming to see me while I was unconscious, but I did wonder why she hadnít come to visit since I had regained consciousness.
I was spending a lot of time with Cheryl doing therapy. The more time I spent with her, the more I liked her. It was too darned bad that she was so handicapped by her lousy vision. And those glasses she wore really looked awful. If she didnít need such ugly glasses she would be very pretty. I didnít really mind girls who need glasses, but these things that Cheryl wore were real coke bottles. And what was worse, she couldnít see very well, even with them. I could have gone for Cheryl in a big way if it wasnít for those darned glasses.
Cheryl was correct, and eventually I was able to walk without crutches. I had expected a discharge, but my superiors advised me that I was being posted to headquarters at the Pentagon. Apparently my command of the Arabic language made me valuable enough to keep around, even though I couldnít return to the field. I was given a 2 week leave, so I returned home to the west coast to visit my friends and parents. Also, I had to see Jennifer, my girlfriend, and see what the heck was going on. I hadnít heard a word from her since I had almost died.
My parents were very happy to see me. I wasnít quite so pleased when my baby brother clued me in that Jennifer was going with my old rival on the football field, and hadnít even had the decency to tell me about this change in her plans. It was even worse when my brother also told me that Jennifer had stated to others that she wasnít interested in going out with a cripple. I hadnít really thought of myself as being a cripple, since I was able to get around very well with my artificial limb, but I supposed that the truth of the matter was that I was now handicapped. All too soon it was time to return to D.C. and my new job. As I was getting on to the plane for my ride back to Washington I was asked a number of times if I required assistance, and I gradually began to realize that everyone who saw me thought of me as handicapped. I hadnít thought of myself that way yet, but I guess I was.
I didnít have any more therapy to go through, but I found that I was thinking about Cheryl a lot. Since I had come to the realization that I was handicapped, and probably would have a hard time finding a girlfriend who wanted to be with a handicapped man, my disdain for Cherylís vision handicap had lessened. So, I went by the hospital one evening just as she was getting off work, and met her as she walked out the door.
"Hi Cheryl, how are you?" I asked.
She peered at me through her strong thick lenses, but I didnít seem to see a flicker of recognition. Her eyes were really shitty then. Maybe this wasnít such a good idea. Just then she recognized me.
"Oh, hi major. I didnít recognize you. What are you doing here?" Cheryl asked.
"Cheryl, my name is Shane. I thought I asked you to call me that before. And actually I am here to see you. I thought maybe we could go out for a bite to eat Ė nothing fancy, just a family restaurant so I can thank you for all you did for me." I replied.
"Normally Iíd like that, but tonight I have to go to my momís." Cheryl replied.
"Could I drive you?" I asked.
"Oh, so you have a car now do you? How have you doing with your new left leg and foot?" Cheryl asked.
"I am doing just fine. It would have been a lot worse if I had lost my right leg. But I can always use some more driving practice." I replied.
"Sure, Iíd like that, but only if you donít mind driving to Silver Springs." Cheryl replied.
Silver Springs was not really that far. Fortunately I had a GPS in my car, so I was able to enter CherylĎs momís address into the GPS, because I soon discovered that Cheryl really couldnít see well enough to have told me in advance where to turn. When I realized this I sort of questioned my sanity for going after a girl with such poor eyesight. But Cheryl was very attractive, and had an exceptionally good figure, so I figured that I could handle the bad eyes thing, as long as she didnít mind my handicap.
When we arrived at Cherylís momís place I was introduced to her mom Linda, and Linda invited me to come in and eat with them. I could easily see where Cheryl had inherited her poor eyesight from, although Lindaís glasses didnít appear to be as powerful as Cherylís were. Cherylís lenses appeared to be dished in at the front, and then there were 2 circles that were about 25 or 30mm in diameter that held most of her prescription. Lindaís glasses had the same circles, but they were a little bigger in diameter, and the fronts of her lenses were not dished in the same way Cherylís were. And Cherylís eyes appeared to be a lot smaller, and set back further into her face than Lindaís were. I am afraid that I pretty well monopolized the conversation though, as I ended up telling Cheryl and Linda my lifeís story. After I thought about how much I had revealed I realized that Linda had kept me going, and had asked me a lot of questions, so I knew that Linda had been setting me up as a suitor for her daughter. That was all right by me, as I really liked Cheryl a lot.
We drove back to the city, and I took Cheryl to her apartment. She asked me up for a coffee, and I accepted. While we were sitting having our coffee and listening to music I spent some time thinking about how involved I wanted to get with lady who had such poor eyesight. I couldnít decide, but I knew I didnít want to just say goodbye to Cheryl, so I asked her if she enjoyed movies. In my previous life I would have asked her to go for a walk in the park, or a hike, or to go dancing, but I wasnít able to do long walks, nor did I feel comfortable going to a dance.
"Iíd love to go to a show with you Shane, but I would have to sit up pretty close to the screen to see much of anything." Cheryl replied.
"I can handle that. Iíd rather take you to a dance, because I can see we both like similar music, but I am not ready to go dancing yet." I answered.
"Maybe I can help you with the dancing part Shane. I like dancing, and it is something I can do, even with my poor eyesight." Cheryl answered.
"Iíd like that Cheryl. We will go to a show this weekend, and if you want to, you can help me with the dancing on Sunday." I told her.
So, I left her apartment that evening with plans for us to have dinner together on Saturday, and then go to see a movie. Things were a little up in the air, because I had gotten the vibes that maybe Cheryl wanted me to come back to the apartment after the show, and stay over with her. Nothing had been verbalized, but I had just gotten that impression,
Saturday evening we had a great meal, and after we walked to a nearby theater, where a movie we both wanted to see was playing. I helped Cheryl down the aisle to a point where she felt she would be comfortable with being able to see the movie, and we settled into our seats. During the movie there was a couple of times where Cheryl nudged me and asked me what something had said, but for the most part she was able to see all right from the vantage point she had picked. I did mention to her that if she felt she needed to move closer it would be fine with me, but she said she was all right where we were. Any closer and I would have felt I was in the movie, so I was glad she didnít want to move up closer.
I had parked my car at Cherylís apartment building, so after the movie I walked her back home. She insisted I should come up with her, so we rode the elevator up to her floor, and went into her apartment. She made a pot of coffee, and again we sat together on the couch talking and listening to records. Finally I felt it was time to make a move to leave, so I mentioned I had better get going.
"You are coming back tomorrow so I can help you learn to dance again arenít you?" Cheryl asked.
"I was planning on it, as long as the invitation still stands." I replied.
"Would you like to stay here with me so that you donít have to drive home and back?" Cheryl asked.
"I think I would like that." I replied.
I wondered if I was going to get a pull out couch for the night, or if I was going to spend the night in her bed. But it soon became apparent that I was going to get to sleep with Cheryl in her bed. We really hadnít been dating long enough to where I was ready to become intimate with Cheryl, and I managed to make my feelings understood without hurting her feelings.
"Thatís fine with me. I think I would just like the feeling of having someone hold me in their arms." Cheryl said.
"Then I am your man." I answered.
Cheryl had a really nice king sized bed that was almost too big for her bedroom. I joked with her about having lots of guys stay over, and she didnít really respond for a minute. Then she told me that the only other person who had slept in that bed with her had been her mom. I didnít say any more.
We got into bed, and Cheryl turned out the light on her bedside table. After the light went out I heard the click of her glasses as she set them down, and we rolled to the middle of the bed together where I held her in my arms, and kissed her. We fell asleep in each otherís arms.
When I woke up in the faint light of the early dawn Cheryl was still lying next to me. I carefully drew away, and I looked at her face in the early morning light. Without her thick glasses she was gorgeous. This girl was probably the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Her long sandy blond hair hung loosely around her face, and I couldnít believe how absolutely fabulous she looked. The only thing that gave any indication of her poor eyesight were the dents in the sides of her nose where her heavy glasses sat.
Cheryl began to stir, and I watched as she rolled to her side of the bed and took her glasses from the bedside table. She opened the arms and slid them onto her face before she opened her eyes. She blinked for a second or two to bring things into focus, and then she looked at me. I could see the love in her eyes, peering through those strong lenses.
"Do you have to put your glasses on?" I asked.
"I canít see a thing without them Shayne. So, yes, I do have to put them on. If you canít accept them as part of me, then I guess you might as well leave." Cheryl replied.
"Oh, I can accept them as part of you. That isnít a problem. It is just that you are so beautiful without them I was hoping you wouldnít have to put them on until it was necessary for you to see something." I replied.
"You just donít realize that I need them to see anything. My vision without them is completely non existent. I am so nearsighted I can barely see as far as the lenses in my glasses. Even with my glasses I only have about 20/70 visual acuity." Cheryl replied.
"Then we have an unkind God, who has created such a gorgeous lady, and has given her such imperfect eyesight." I replied.
"Do you feel that it was an unkind God who took away the lower leg and foot of an otherwise perfect specimen of mankind?í Cheryl asked.
"I am not sure. Possibly it was Godís intention to make me imperfect so that I could find you." I replied.
With that Cheryl laughed, and drew me close to her. I kissed her, and we started petting again. Before long the petting was getting a lot more serious, and I was really becoming aroused. Cheryl asked me to take her nightgown off, and I did. Then she removed my underwear, and soon we were lying naked in each otherís arms. Soon we were involved in the final stages of lovemaking. As we were growing closer and closer to a climax I asked Cheryl if I could remove her glasses, and I felt her tighten up, but she said yes, and I slid them off, and put them on the side table. After we were finished, and while we were still lying in each otherís arms I reached back over for her glasses and placed them gently on her face. She then opened her eyes and looked at me.
"Thank you Shayne" Cheryl said.
"You donít have to thank me. I should thank you honey. That was wonderful." I replied.
"No, I really mean it Shayne. You are the first man I have been with, and you have made it a wonderful experience." Cheryl replied.
We got up and had a shower together. After we dressed and were having breakfast I pondered what Cheryl had said. Was I really the first man she had been to bed with?
"So what you are saying is that you have never done it with a man before?" I asked.
"Shayne, I have never even dated before. I have terrible eyesight and have had to wear these thick coke bottles ever since I was a baby, and no guy has ever wanted to take me out before, much less sleep with me." Cheryl replied.
"Well, that is their loss. If other guys were dumb enough to let a pair of glasses stand in their way then they have missed out on a beautiful woman, and left you for me." I replied.
Of course this experience created a change in our relationship. Once I had seen how beautiful Cheryl was without her glasses it didnít seem to bother me nearly as much that she had to wear such thick, ugly glasses. After all, the glasses could come off in bed. And, when she was wearing them it saved her from having other men hit on her, so now I started to accept them in a new way.
After we had dated for a couple of months I ended up giving up my apartment and I moved into Cherylís. We decided we were going to get married, but since my family was back in California, and since Cheryl didnít have many friends, and only her mom for family, we felt that a big wedding wasnít necessary. So, we got a license, and we got married in Cherylís church on a Friday night, with only Cherylís mom and a few close friends in attendance. My new carbon fiber foot and leg wasnít even visible when I was in my tux, and Cheryl had gotten new glasses that were of a higher index plastic for her lenses, so even though they were slightly stronger than her old prescription of -35D and -34D, no one could really tell that her prescription had increased to -37D and -36D. But still, Cherylís glasses gave away her handicap, while mine was fairly well hidden.
Now that we were married and living in a bigger apartment I sometimes let my thoughts run to how life turned out. I would never have selected Cheryl as my partner in marriage if I hadnít been handicapped by the loss of my lower leg and foot. And, I am afraid that no one who wasnít handicapped would have been able to overcome Cherylís visual handicap. Was our marriage ordained by a higher power? Iíd like to think so.