Helena sat in front of the computer, not believing what her eyes had seen. She removed her strong glasses, and the words disappeared into a white blur. She rubbed her eyes, and returned her glasses to their familiar place on her nose. She looked again, and the words were still there.
The name Susan P. Desmaraise had been what she searched for, not believing for an instance that Suzie could actually be found this way. But there it was, the name and possibly current address of her old friend. From her home in Milpitas it would only be a 4-hour drive south to where her old friend now lived. But, first of all, she would have to determine that this person was in fact the Susan that she once knew.
Thoughts and memories kept running through Helena’s mind. She flashed back to their first day in Junior High, where the 2 girls met. Yes, there were hundreds of new girls at this school, but Suzie and Helena were different from the others. They both wore very thick glasses. Helena had never met anyone else her age that wore glasses with lenses as thick as hers were, and it turned out that Suzie had the same lack of experience. It was almost exciting for Helena the day that she and Suzie switched glasses, and they found out that they could each see reasonably well through each others lenses.
The two girls were best of friends throughout their years at junior high. Both of them seemed to require updates of a similar magnitude in their prescriptions around the same time each year. But, during the last year of junior high Suzie, who by this time had turned into a pretty, well-built brunette of medium height, got contact lenses. Helena, who was not as well developed as Suzzie, and was in fact a bit heavier than she should have been for her height, really had no interest in boys yet, and didn’t see any reason why she should get contact lenses. She had watched Suzie go through the agony, and the torture in putting those 2 little pieces of plastic into her eyes, and Helena felt that she wanted no part of that.
Helena wasn’t sure if it was the contact lenses that put the damper on their friendship, or if it was the fact that Suzie was now boy crazy. When they both went to Senior High the following year Suzie was always too busy with her boyfriend to have any time for Helena, and gradually they drifted apart. At first this hurt Helena, but she had her heart set on getting a university scholarship, so Helena spent all of her spare time studying. The time spent studying paid off, as she was given a scholarship to Berkley, and she graduated near the top of her class.
As she thought about the days that she spent at university, her mind flashed back to when she met Dan, her late husband. Helena had not noticed that she was no longer the chubby little girl that she had been, but had turned into a very pretty, well-formed tall blonde. All that she saw when she looked at herself in the mirror was her thick glasses with the strong biconcave lenses that seemed to cover most of her face. So, it surprised her when one of the boys that she had seen around the library at the university asked her out to dinner in the fall of her third year. After she had gone with Dan for a couple of months she began to think about getting contact lenses. Dan seemed to think she was quite attractive even with her wearing such thick glasses, so she felt that he would be even more attracted to her if she didn’t wear glasses. But, when she mentioned that she was thinking of getting contacts, Dan had surprised her.
“Don’t waste your money on contact lenses just for me Helena. I was attracted to you even with you wearing glasses, and I don’t feel that I would be any more attracted if you wore contacts. You are such a beautiful girl that I doubt that I would even have taken a chance on asking you to go out with me if you hadn’t worn glasses. I would have felt that you were beyond my reach. And since I have gotten to know you, I don’t even see your glasses. I just see you, and you are gorgeous.” Dan told her.
Helena had been totally blown away by this. She realized that she had a real catch in Dan, as he liked her for what she was, and how she looked. Her poor eyesight didn’t seem to be an issue. So, Helena shelved the idea of contact lenses for the time being.
Dan was studying to be a vet, and he was almost ready to graduate when he asked Helena to marry him. She agreed, and the following summer they were married. Dan had to intern for while, so he accepted a position near Marysville. Helena, who had graduated as an English major, accepted a teaching position in the local high school.
Their life together had been wonderful. Dan had surprised her one night by picking up her glasses from the nightable, and wearing them when they made love that night. His explanation was that since she couldn’t see without her glasses, then he would wear them so that he also couldn’t see, and they would just have to make do with touching. This was fun, so they continued, and when Helena decided that she didn’t like having her frames bent out of shape when they were having too much fun, Dan suggested that she purchase new glasses, and she could have her old lenses put into a frame that suited a man a bit better than her existing ones did. So after that Dan wore his own glasses for lovemaking.
They spent so much time making love that it was not a big surprise when Helena became pregnant. And after their son Robert was born, they resumed the pace. Within 2 years their daughter Barbara was born. They decided that 2 were enough, so the chance of another child was eliminated with a quick snip.
Shortly after Rob was born Helena had to have an increase in her prescription. Rather than sticking with biconcave lenses her doctor suggested that she try a pair of myodiscs. Her prescription was now just a bit higher than –20D, and the biconcave lenses would have looked like myodiscs anyway. So Helena chose the myodiscs, and Dan loved them. He liked them so much that he had her get a nice pair of unisex frames for him to wear with her new prescription in them.
One night when Dan came home from work he told Helena that he had purchased a pair of plus contact lenses, and that he was hoping that he would be able to wear them under his new glasses so that he could see clearly through her lenses. Helena thought that this was a bit weird, but when Dan put in the contact lenses, he was able to see everything quite well through her lenses. So, now when they made love, they both wore glasses, as Dan told her that she was so beautiful that he wanted to be able to see her, and he wanted her to be able to see him. Over time Helena noticed that Dan was putting in his contact lenses as soon as he got home from work. They would spend the evening together, both wearing glasses, and Dan would often remove his lenses just before they went to bed. And, as so often happens once children enter the picture, the pace of their lovemaking had diminished by this time.
As Robert was reaching school age, Helena and Dan discussed moving to an area with more advantages for children. Finally Dan sold his practice, and they moved to a new home in Milpitas, near San Jose. This area was rapidly growing, and Dan opened a new practice.
Helena was so used to Dan wearing his glasses by now that she really didn’t notice that most days he now wore them from the time that he got up until the time he went to bed. One day she questioned him about this, and his answer seemed really strange to her.
“I have gotten so accustomed to the way I see through my glasses, and contact lens combination that I just feel more comfortable when I am wearing them. No one in this area knows me, so it was a perfect time for me to decide to wear them all the time.” Dan replied.
Helena accepted that answer. She figured that if Dan liked to wear thick, strong-lensed glasses to be more like her it just meant that he loved her more than she had realized.
Robert began having problems with his eyesight when he was in grade one, so Helena took both children to a pediatric ophthalmologist. It was not too surprising when the doctor told Helena that Robert was a bit nearsighted, but it did shock her a bit when it was discovered that Barbara was very nearsighted as well. When the doctor gave her the prescription slips, Helena went directly to the one-hour optical store that she had found in a nearby mall. She helped both children pick their own frames, and then ordered the lenses. Within the hour, both children were wearing their own glasses. Barbara had a first prescription of –4D, and Robert’s was –2.50D, with a bit of astigmatism. But, both children seemed to like what they saw with their new glasses on, so it didn’t seem to be a problem for them to wear their glasses. Dan was a bit surprised to see Barbara wearing glasses as well, but he seemed almost pleased that both children now had better vision.
Helena had gone back to teaching full time when Barbara started grade one, so she was happy when Dan offered to take the morning off to take the kids in for their annual vision exam. Barbara had needed stronger lenses within 6 months of getting her first pair of glasses, and now after only 6 more months Helena had noticed Barbara squinting again. So, Dan took them both in for an examination, and probably new glasses. When she arrived home that night she was not surprised to see that both children had new frames with much stronger looking lenses.
“Robert has had his prescription increased to – 5.00D, but the doctor was a bit worried about Barbara. She has jumped to –7.50D, and the doctor has suggested that if she has another large jump we might want to consider putting her in bifocals.” Dan told her.
Helena hadn’t thought that –7.50D was all that strong. After all, her own prescription was now around –21D, and she could see just fine. But, when Barbara had another increase before the next year had passed, Helena decided to have Barbara try the bifocals.
The years flew by. Both children did well in school and both of them went on to university. Barbara’s eyesight had continued to worsen, and by graduation Barbara was wearing myodiscs that were around –30D, a good –5D stronger than Helena’s own glasses were. Robert had a fairly strong prescription as well, but his glasses were only around –15D. The previous year Dan had sold his practice, and Helena had applied for retirement. Dan had not been feeling well, and when he finally went to the doctor, they found that he had a rapidly advancing form of untreatable colon cancer. Fortunately he had not been bedridden for long, and the funeral had been one of the most heavily attended funerals Helena had ever seen. Helena had purchased a new pair of myodiscs for Dan just before he was too ill to wear them anymore, and she made sure that Dan was buried wearing them.
But, now Helena had to get on with her own life, so she had decided to try to track down Suzie. Helena hadn’t really had any other friends of her own since the days of her friendship with Suzie, and Helena knew that just talking to Suzie about their separate lives since they last saw each other would be good therapy for Helena. She dialed the number listed and the phone rang 4 times before it was answered.
“Hi, is this Suzie?” Helena asked.
“No, but I will get her.” The female voice at the other end replied.
“Hello, who is this calling?” asked Suzie.
“Hello Susan Patricia, this is Helena.”
“This is a joke, right. I haven’t heard from Helena for almost 40 years.” Suzie replied.
“More like 38, and this is no joke. If I have caught you at a bad time I can give you my number, and you can call me back at your convenience.” Helena told Suzie.
“No, this is as good a time as any. Why are you calling?” Suzie asked.
“Dan, my husband, passed away recently and I got to thinking about old times, and old friends. So I searched for you on the internet, and now I have found you.” Helena said. “I would really like to see you sometime in the near future.”
“I am not sure that I want to see you after such a long time.” Suzie replied.
Helena was hurt by this, but she knew that since she had initiated the contact there was a good chance that Suzie was just too surprised by her phone call to react the way Helena wanted her to.
“What harm would be done if we just had lunch together one day soon?” asked Helena.
Suzie agreed that maybe it would be nice for them to get together again, so they picked a date a week away. Suzie was making a reservation at the restaurant where they had agreed to meet. Helena left early in the morning for the drive into the Los Angeles area from her home, and checked into a motel, where she quickly freshened up. She made it to the restaurant with only a few minutes to spare. She announced her name to the hostess on duty, and was led to the rear of the restaurant.
She recognized Suzie immediately, but was a little disappointed not to see any flicker of recognition in Suzie’s expression. As she drew closer to the table she saw that Suzie was just sitting there with a blank look on her face. It was then that Helena realized that Suzie was blind.
“Hello Suzie, it’s good to see you. You look wonderful.” Helena said to her old friend.
“Well Helena, I only wish I could see you. Unfortunately I cannot see anything but light and dark anymore. My daughter brought me here, and I hope it will be all right with you if she joins us. If it wasn’t for her assistance I would be in real trouble.” Suzie replied as she stood up and the two old friends hugged each other.
Just then a very attractive well-proportioned young lady came from the washroom over to the table, and Suzie introduced Helena to her daughter Angela. Helena could see from the way that Angela was blinking that she was probably a contact lens wearer.
Helena and Suzie soon got past the initial reservations that Suzie had about seeing Helena again. Suzie had started to chastise Helena for not contacting her for almost 40 years.
“But Suzie, back in Senior High you are the one who left me behind. You were always with your boyfriends, and had no more time for me.” Helena said indignantly.
Suzie took a minute to reflect on what Helena had said, and she realized that this had been what happened.
“Oh Helena, you are right. I am so sorry. Actually I am even more sorry than you can imagine. Probably if I hadn’t gotten contact lenses and hadn’t become so boy crazy after that I might not have ended up blind, unable to see more than light or dark.” Suzie said.
“Why, what happened?” Helena asked.
“Well, once I began wearing contact lenses I totally eliminated all thoughts of how bad my eyesight was from my mind. With contact lenses in my eyes I was able to forget the world you lived in, a world where everything you saw was through the thick lenses of your glasses. Unfortunately my first husband didn’t like me wearing glasses, so I continually wore my contact lenses. Then I had a retinal detachment, and I was almost too late getting myself to the doctor. They were able to fix my eye that time, but then a few months later my other retina detached. I went to the doctor immediately, but when they put my retina back in place it wouldn’t stay, and it detached again a few days later. When they finally succeeded in re attaching it I had lost almost all of my vision in that eye, and all I could distinguish was light and dark. Then a few years later my other eye had another detachment, and now I am completely blind in that eye. After that my husband left me, although fortunately he has continued to support me.” Suzie told her.
“Oh Suzie, I am so sorry. That must have been terrible.” Helena replied.
“It was devastating. But, that is enough about my sad story. Tell me about yourself and your family.” Suzie replied.
So Helena told Suzie about Dan, and how he loved her so much wearing her strong glasses that he got plus contact lenses and he wore exactly the same prescription in his glasses as she wore all the time. She told Suzie and Angela about Barbara and Robert, and how Barbara had a prescription that was about –5D stronger than Helena’s own –25D prescription. When she mentioned that Barbara required –30D myodisc lenses in her glasses Angela gasped.
“But that is exactly my prescription. Does Barbara wear contact lenses?” Angela asked.
“Yes, she does once in a while. But most of the time she wears glasses. When she was younger she worried that her glasses were so thick that she never would find a boyfriend, but Dan told her that there were a lot of men who found ladies who wore strong glasses especially attractive. So she has limited her wearing of contact lenses to special occasions. And Dan was right. Barbara has never had a problem finding a boyfriend.” Helena said.
“I wish I had the nerve to wear glasses. Actually I have worn contact lenses for so long that I find that I don’t see well wearing glasses.” Angela replied.
“Yes it is hard for a very high myope to change from contacts to glasses. But you should be wearing glasses for the health of your corneas.” Helena told Angela.
“I have been told that recently. I am going to make more of an effort to do just that.” Angela replied.
Helena and Suzie continued to talk about old times. Suzie still remained in contact with many of the friends they had in high school, and Helena was interested in knowing where they had ended up, and what they were doing now. Finally the reunion was over.
“Angela, do you drive?” Helena asked.
“Yes, why do you ask?” Angela replied.
“I was just wondering if you would like to bring your mom up to my place for a visit in the near future. I would love to have you meet my kids.” Helena said.
“Actually I am interested in meeting Barbara. I have never met anyone else that has as bad eyes as mine, other than mom of course. Let me talk this over with mom, and we will call you.” Angela replied.
A few days later Angela called Helena. They decided that Suzie and Angela would drive up for Thanksgiving and stay the weekend. Helena made sure that both Robert and Barbara would be home then as well.
When Angela and Suzie arrived, Helena guided Suzie to her room, and Angela carried the luggage.
“I took my doctor’s and your advice Helena.” Angela said.
“Oh, what was that?” Helena asked.
“I got a new pair of glasses, a pair that I don’t mind wearing. I still haven’t gotten used to them completely, but I have been wearing them a lot. Actually I think I will change into them now.” Angela replied.
Angela, Suzie and Helena were sitting in the living room talking when the front door opened. A tall, extremely good-looking dark haired man walked in. He glanced into the living room, saw the three of them, and walked in to the room.
“No ladies, don’t get up. I am Robert, and you must be Suzie and Angela. Mother told me that you were beautiful Angela, but she didn’t tell me that you were breathtakingly gorgeous. And, I love your glasses. They totally suit you.” Robert said.
Angela was stunned. Robert was a real hunk, and he had just told her that he loved her glasses. She had never worn her glasses in front of any guy she would have died to go out with, and she definitely was attracted to Robert. He wore glasses, and she really liked his glasses. They were rimless, and the light reflected from the lenses in a unique way. She had trouble finding the words to say, but finally she was able to speak.
“Thanks for the compliment. I just got these glasses, and I am trying to wear them a little more often than I wore my last pair. Your glasses look great on you as well.” Angela said.
“I like them a lot. But tell me, how much is more?” Robert asked.
“Well, actually these are the first pair of glasses I have ever worn out in public. My dad didn’t like people wearing glasses, so mom got me contact lenses when I was very young, and I always wore contacts.” Angela replied.
“Well, Barb and I were lucky. Our dad liked glasses so much he wouldn’t let mom get contact lenses. So Barb and I wore glasses a lot. We still had contacts, but both Barb and I like wearing glasses, so we wear them, and if any girl gives me a negative vibe about my glasses, I don’t bother with her again. And Barb feels the same way about guys. Actually she will be here in a few minutes. I hope you don’t mind mom, but Barb is bringing David.” Robert replied.
As the evening went on Robert stuck to Angela like glue. The following day was Thanksgiving, so the evening was already planned. But David and Barbara mentioned that they were going to an art gallery opening Friday, so Robert took the chance to ask Angela if she would like to go with him, and she agreed. That was the beginning, and for the next four months Robert was off to see Angela every weekend. One day Robert came to see me.
“Mom, how well did you get along with Suzie?” Robert asked.
“When we were in school we were inseparable. And now, I phone her every once a week, and she phones me once a week. I wish she still had her eyesight, because then we could e-mail, but she doesn’t so we have to call each other. But, I guess you could now call her my best friend.” I replied.
“Would you consider having her move into your house? She really looks after herself most of the time, and she can do almost everything for herself.” Robert said.
“You want to ask Angela to marry you, and you know she won’t leave her mother. Am I correct?” I asked.
“That is exactly it mom. Angela feels she owes it to her mom to look after her, but I know Suzie wants Angela to get out on her own.” Robert said.
“I’ll talk to Suzie. I will suggest that she move in with me, but Suzie still is pretty independent, so she might not agree. Also, we are 4 hours away from where she lives now. Maybe she still has friends she doesn’t want to leave.” I replied.
“Talk to her mom. I really like Angela and I want to marry her.” Robert said.
Robert had always been very casual about dating and marriage. He had gone with lots of girls, some extremely beautiful. But none of them had captivated his heart like Angela had. Was it possible that he had also inherited his father’s love for ladies who wore strong glasses? If he had, Angela was perfect for him.
I spoke to Suzie about this the following day. She had previously spoken with Angela about Angela moving on with her life, but Angela had refused to leave her. So when I suggested that Suzie could live with me, Suzie seemed quite willing to give it a try. The following week Angela drove Suzie up to my house, and left the two of us together.
Suzie was actually pretty good about getting around. I made sure that there were plenty of clear pathways through the house, and before long Suzie was navigating the house like she belonged there. It was nice to have Suzie around as company, and even though she was blind she was a very good cook. So soon we developed a routine where I did the cleaning and Suzie did the cooking.
Angela had remained behind in Suzie’s house. She had been working as a cashier for a grocery chain, and I wondered if Robert was going to be able to get Angela to leave the area she had grown up in. But all it took was a proposal of marriage, and Angela accepted.
Now Angela and Robert are married. They purchased a home not far away, and I see Angela almost every day. She drives over to have tea with Suzie and me. I know that she really shouldn’t do it, but she knows the route between our houses so well I don’t worry. Because she wore contact lenses so long, Angela doesn’t have quite as good vision with glasses as Barbara does, and really Angela shouldn’t be driving wearing her myodiscs, but she does drive to my house. She will probably stop once the baby is born though, and I will have to drive Suzie over to visit Angela and the baby.
Also, because of Suzie and her retinal detachments, Angela, Barbara, Robert and myself each have very thorough retinal exams every year. So far none of us have had a problem. All in all, I must say it has been a wonderful reunion.