The Gift That Backfired
by Specs4ever (2005)
For the past 7 or 8 years I have been writing stories, fictional stories from my imagination about girls wearing glasses. Or, rather I should say girls wearing very high minus glasses, which I will call GWVHMG’s for short. Most of these stories are from my imagination, but for many of them the idea came from me seeing a girl wearing glasses. As an example the story I called "A Simple Tale" came to me when I ordered an ice cream cone from a girl wearing a pair of low minus glasses, and they actually slipped off her nose into the ice cream freezer. Of course, she was able to locate and retrieve them with no problem. The story "Too Proud To See" had it’s roots in an article I saw on the internet about a young lady who was considered retarded, and was in an orphanage until it was discovered at age 18 she was just very nearsighted. Once she was fitted with glasses, she went on to be a successful businesswoman.
But, every once in a while a story comes along that is the truth. How does a writer of fiction tell this true story? I cannot reveal my sources, because they would have a hard time living with it if I revealed too much. So, I must take this true story, and weave a thread of fiction around it. In my mind I have compared this tale with one from one of my favorite short story writer’s, O Henry, who wrote a story called " The Gift of the Magi." If you don’t know that tale, a very poor married couple had Christmas coming on, and neither one of them had money for a gift for the other. The girl, who had beautiful long hair that her husband loved, cut off her hair, to buy her husband a chain for his gold pocket watch – which he had pawned to buy her combs for her hair. This story reminds me of that. So, read on, for a true story that has only been changed to protect the identity of the participants.
I watched with interest that day 15 years ago when the moving van was unloading at the house 2 doors over. I wasn’t sure if it would be in good taste to drop by, and offer my assistance, or whether my casual dropping by might take the new neighbors away from their unpacking. So, I decided that I would first take our old Lab. for a walk. As I came around the block, I spotted a lady walking towards me in the tow of a German shepherd.
As she and the dog came closer I debated taking Bettsie, my Lab across the street, but I didn’t, and kept on walking. I think the main reason that I didn’t was that I had spotted the glasses the lady was wearing. And as she drew even closer I was pleased I hadn’t changed sides, as I could see that the lady, who was reasonably attractive, was wearing myodiscs. We exchanged greetings, and introduced our dogs.
I discovered that she was the lady who was moving into the house 2 doors down, so I offered my help if they needed any assistance. But she said that she and Karl were doing just fine, and that the movers had manhandled all the heavy stuff. So, I invited Annie and Karl over for coffee, and a snack after the movers had left. She accepted, and I knew I was in trouble. While Annie was only what I would call reasonably attractive, the myodiscs she wore placed her in a category far above any other women I had ever met. You see, I am attracted to girls wearing high minus glasses, and I had just found the top rung on the ladder.
During the next 10 years Karl and Annie and my wife Ann, and I did a lot of things together as couples. I liked Karl, who was a tool and die maker, as well as a pretty fair mechanic by trade. And, since I was an owner operator truck driver with my own truck to maintain, Karl would often come with me to the garage I rented on Saturday mornings to give me a hand to keep the old beast on the road for another week. Karl wouldn’t take any money in payment for his help; so often Saturday night would find the 4 of us at a restaurant, as my treat to thank Karl for his help.
Over the years, I found out more about Karl and Annie. Karl had come from Poland when he was 16, and had trained to be a tool and die maker. Annie also had emigrated, but from Scotland, with her parents when she was 4 or 5 years old. Their daughter Christine had no vision problems at all, so I tended to believe Annie when she told me that her poor eyesight was a result of a serious viral infection she had developed as a 2 year old in Scotland. She had rapidly become more and more myopic, until the time she and Karl had met and married, when she was around –22D. Her eyesight stabilized for a few years, until Christine was born, and then it started to decline more. First it went to –25D, then to –28D, and now she had been stable for a few years at –30D. Surprisingly though, her corrected vision was fairly good.
Of course, fairly good is relevant. When we went to a movie we would let Annie choose where we should sit. I never felt that it was uncomfortably close to the screen, but in retrospect, I suppose I would have chosen a seat further back. And, whenever we were out after dark, Karl would tenderly lead Annie everywhere they went. When it was time to order from the menu, I believe that Karl almost always read Annie the choices. I was jealous of Karl, as my wife Ann had perfect eyesight, and I would have given anything to trade places with him. And, of course, my wife never let me forget how tenderly Karl treated Annie. It got so that I now had to be a gentleman all the time as well.
I wasn’t sure if Karl had ever noticed that I was always staring at Annie’s glasses. I hoped he hadn’t, but I couldn’t help myself. I was fascinated by the strong minus correction, and the tiny circles that she had to see out of. I loved looking at her eyes, minified behind the strong lens, looking like they were set way back in her head. Oh, if only I could have gotten a pair of those glasses for my collection. But, I didn’t dare ask. No one could know that I was obsessed with strong minus glasses, and their female wearers.
I suppose it had been around 10 years since Karl and Annie had moved into the neighborhood. I don’t know if they had purchased a new stove when they moved, but one Saturday morning Karl asked to borrow my pickup. He and Annie had bought a new stove, and Karl wanted to pick it up himself to save the delivery charges. I had just upgraded the old clunker that I drove delivering trailers around the city for a local cartage company, and the new truck required a heck of a lot less fixing, so I happened to have the day free. I suggested I would go with Karl, and he accepted. We got the stove loaded, and started home. I was hungry, so I decided we would stop at the local mall, and go into the food court for fish and chips.
I had been to the fish and chips store before, and I had noticed the tall thin good-looking lady who ran the store. When we stepped up to the counter though, a young girl came through the swinging door from the kitchen. I knew I was staring at this young lady, and I glanced at Karl. He too was transfixed. I was then pretty sure that Karl and I shared the love of the same thing. This young lady, who couldn’t have yet been 16 years old, was wearing a pair of glasses with the most gorgeous thick lenses I had seen on a 15 year old in a long time. She had to have –13D or better in those frames. We ordered our fish and chips, and when I went to pay for them the young lady couldn’t get the cash drawer open. So, she called for her mother, who came out to assist. Turned out she spoke to the girl in Polish, and Karl and the lady had a conversation. I knew it was about the daughter, and her glasses, and I was dying to know what had transpired.
When Karl and I went to be seated, I knew without a doubt that Karl was a glasses affectionado. I was glad he was, because he was married to number one in my books. But, darn it all, did he have to fight me for the best seat to watch this young lady from? We solved the problem by both of us turning our chairs sideways, so we could eat and watch. Karl kindly filled me in on the information he had gotten from the mother. Seems that the daughter had first gotten glasses as a preschooler, and her lenses had gotten stronger and stronger every year or so. Her new prescription was almost –14D, and she had just turned 16. Her doctor had just ordered her contact lenses, because she couldn’t see well enough to get her drivers license with her glasses.
This incident began a new, closer friendship between Karl and I. On Saturday mornings, when we were supposed to be working on my truck, we were often examining various glasses from my collection. And Karl now added a couple of pairs of Annie’s as well. I had gotten myself some plus contact lenses of various powers, and Karl was amazed at how well I could see through some of the various glasses. He didn’t totally understand at first, but I explained that since I didn’t have my own GWVHMG at home, I had to do it this way. So, he finally accepted it. And, I found out that he had known for quite some time that I couldn’t keep my eyes off Annie’s glasses.
Another 3 years went by. I knew Annie wasn’t happy being so nearsighted, as my wife Ann had taken her to a couple of specialists to see if anything could be done for her extreme myopia. But the answer was always the same. "Too dangerous." "We could only cut –10D off your myopia, and you would be in danger of a retinal detachment."
Annie’s father had died recently, leaving Annie’s mom some money, which she had decided to spend to help her daughter fix her eyesight if at all possible. At first Karl and his mother in law argued over the possibility of Annie having her eyes fixed in a friendly manner. Karl tried to tell Annie and her mom that he had chosen Annie to be his wife knowing full well that Annie had extremely poor corrected vision. He had realized right from the start that there was no likelihood that Annie would ever be able to get anything more than a poor paying job, so Karl had been prepared to be the wage earner for the family. And, neither Annie, nor her mom could find any fault with the care Karl had provided. But, as time went on, the burning desire to fix Annie’s eyes seemed to become an obsession with her mom. I don’t know if Annie’s mom felt that it was her fault for the high fever and viral infection that had possibly ruined Annie’s eyesight, or if she was just disappointed that she had created a less than perfect child. The more Karl tried to tell Annie that he loved her just as she was, the more Annie’s mom told Annie that Karl was a dictator, that he wanted Annie to remain almost blind, so that he could keep her under his thumb. I hadn’t noticed that Karl seemed to be that much of a control person, but I did know that Karl was always the one who was in charge of the family. It seemed natural to me. Annie couldn’t see well enough to drive, so Karl did all the driving. And I suppose that he might have had the say in the destination they drove to. Annie seemed to have all the freedom that she wanted. She often would come over and visit with Ann after Ann was home from work. And Karl always asked Annie when they were going out what she wanted to do. Annie liked to dance, as she didn’t require good eyesight when she was in Karl’s arms, so they went to a lot of dances, even though I knew that Karl would rather have done something else. But the more that Karl tried to tell Annie to forget about having her eyes fixed, the more his mother in law tried to undermine him. Finally it reached a point where Karl and his mother in law were barely civil to each other. I suggested the only solution would be to have Annie’s mom done away with, but Karl couldn’t bring himself to finance such a drastic solution
I don’t know how they did it, but somewhere Ann, Annie, and her mom located a specialist in Russia who felt he could fix Annie’s eyesight. Karl and I both argued against it. We felt the risk wasn’t worth it. And I know that Annie and Karl had some really serious fights over it. I think Karl even told Annie that if she got her eyes fixed he would leave her, because my Ann was a bit incredulous that Karl felt that way. And, unfortunately, I couldn’t really explain to my wife that I sided with Karl 100%. Annie, with her strong glasses, was one lady in a million, a very special person. Without her glasses she was a middle aged lady, who was about 30 or 40 pounds overweight, not all that good looking, and undistinguishable from all the other middle aged ladies out there.
And, I suppose that Karl really liked the fact that Annie was so dependant on his assistance. Although, never once had he shown any form of cruelty towards Annie, either with words, or actions. He had always been tender, and loving, and very helpful.
But, the ladies couldn’t be stopped. The correction was going to require 2 visits to Russia. My wife was going to go with Annie for the first month. The first operation would see one eye corrected significantly, and then a week later, if the first eye went well, the other one would be done. This would then leave Annie somewhere between –15D and –18D. Plane flights were booked, plans were made, and finally the day came when they left.
A month later they were back. Annie had on a pair of glasses that both Karl and I thought were great. They were between –17D and –18D, and must have been made from regular old plastic, because they were thick, slightly biconcave, and shaved off a little at the rear to allow the temples to close. Karl and I talked, and while he didn’t feel that he wanted to accept it, he was willing to live with the fact that Annie had much better eyesight now. I believe that Karl, during this period, tried to tell Annie again how he felt about her glasses. But how do you really tell a woman that without the glasses she is wearing she is just another plain middle-aged overweight woman.
Anyway the 6 months between the first series of operations, and the second series were soon up. Annie and her Mom flew to Russia together this time, and a month later when they returned Annie was still wearing glasses, but these glasses were wafer thin compared to the special glasses she used to wear. She no longer held any attraction for me, and I could imagine how Karl felt. Her new glasses were around –5D, just a common everyday prescription.
I have to give Karl credit; he tried to stick it out. But, one day, about 6 months after Annie returned from Russia the second time he dropped by to tell me he was moving out. His words to me were that there was no more physical feeling, and he had to move on.
My wife spent quite a few of the following days trying to console Annie. Neither of them could understand how Karl could have turned against Annie so fast. And neither of them could believe that it had been Annie’s special glasses, and her poor eyesight that kept Karl loving her so much.
In the past 6 months Annie’s eyesight has changed a little. She now needs glasses that are more like –8D. Apparently the doctor told her this might occur. She has lost that extra 40 or 50 pounds, and she is looking darned good. Karl has been by to see Christine, who is also really ticked off at him for moving out, but she is 18, and she too will soon be leaving. I have talked to Karl, and he hasn’t been able to find anyone else with strong glasses to date, but he tells me he is finished with Annie. He feels he just can’t look at her without her special glasses.
To my friend "Special K"
Specs4ever, August 2004