I can see ghosts. Well, maybe I should clarify that. These days, as long as I have my glasses on, I can often see the ghosts of people that have departed this world. The first time I became aware of this gift was when I was a young girl of 5. My Nana came into my bedroom, and sat on the edge of my bed. I was very surprised to see Nana walking around, because Nana had been extremely ill, and had not been out of bed for a number of days.
“I am going to have to leave you now little one. I just want you to know that you are a very special girl, and that I will miss you very much.” Nana said.
“But, where are you going Nana? I thought you were very sick, and couldn’t go anywhere. And when will you be back?” I asked.
“I am going to a place where there is no pain, or suffering and I will no longer be sick. But little one, I will never come back.” Nana said.
“But Nana, I don’t want you to go.” I wailed.
“But I have to. Do not worry my child. I will always be with you. I love so you very much.” Nana said.
And with that conversation my Nana just disappeared. I got out of bed, and went to find my mother, but she wasn’t in her own bedroom, so I looked in Nana’s room. My mother and my father were sitting beside my Nana, who was now back lying in her own bed.
“She went the way she wanted to Joan. She has been gone for hours, because the body is cold, but she passed peacefully in her sleep.” Daddy said.
“I know Stan, but I just wasn’t ready to have her go so fast. I hadn’t finished saying goodbye.” Mommy sobbed quietly.
“Mommy, why is Nana lying there? She told me that she was going now. She seemed very happy.” I said.
“When was this Sheila?” Daddy asked.
“Just a little while ago. When I woke up Nana was sitting on my bed, and she told me that she had to go now, but she wanted to tell me that she loved me very much before she left.” I said.
“You have had a dream Sheila. Nana has passed away during the night, so she couldn’t possibly have been sitting by your bed this morning.” Daddy said.
“Can you call the doctor Stan? He will need to see her and sign the death certificate before they can take her to the funeral parlor. I just want to sit here with her for a while longer.” Mommy said to Daddy.
“Come with me then Sheila, and we will go downstairs for some pancakes.” Daddy said.
“I did so see Nana Mommy. She was right there in my room.” I said.
“Hush child, you were dreaming.” Mommy said.
Daddy and I went downstairs, and Daddy used the telephone while he was making me my pancakes. I guess I knew better than to press the issue about having seen Nana that morning, because I didn’t utter another word about it. But while we were at the funeral parlor I met a whole bunch of people, and when I told my Mommy that I wanted to play downstairs in the playroom with one of them, a little girl, my Mommy couldn’t see the little girl I was pointing out to her. But she did let me go to the playroom, where I played with that little girl who was named Annilee, and another little boy named Tommy. When Daddy came down to get me he scolded me for talking to myself, and when I told him I had been talking to Tommy and Annilee a strange look came across his face. After the funeral I heard Mommy and Daddy talking.
“It is really strange. Sheila seems to be seeing people everywhere, and when I look for them there is no one there.” Daddy said to Mommy.
I wonder if she is having problems with her eyes Stan? Maybe we should have her eyes examined?” Mommy said.
“Well, she is almost 6 years old, and I suppose an eye examination wouldn’t hurt. I will try to make one for her within the next couple of days, so that you can take her while you are still off on bereavement leave. She is pretty young to have to wear glasses, but it won’t be the worst thing that ever happens to her.” Daddy said.
I heard the word glasses, and I was excited. I always crossed my eyes until I could see two of everything, and made everything all blurry. And lots of times I could make my eyes sort of pull back into my head, and everything would go blurry. I thought it would be nice to wear glasses. Then I could be just like my teacher, Ms Lindsey.
Daddy had gone back to work, so Mommy took me to the eye doctor. He asked Mommy a lot of questions, and then he took me into a room, where he sat me behind a funny machine. He moved the machine in front of my eyes. I heard a lot of clicks, and every once in a while the letters he was having me look at got a little blurry. But I could make them go clear just by pulling my eyes back into my head, like I often did, and then the letters were clear again. He asked me so many times which was better that I almost got dizzy. I didn’t know what to tell him.
“Sheila is quite nearsighted for her age Joan. She will probably want to wear her glasses all of the time,” said the doctor.
Mommy and I left the doctor’s office, and we went to the mall. We went into a store where I had never been before. On the wall of this store there were lots and lots of glasses frames. Some lady came and asked Mommy if she could help us, and Mommy showed her a white piece of paper. Mommy and the lady looked at a lot of frames, and every once in a while they tried the frame on me. Finally Mommy and the lady both liked the same frame, and Mommy asked me if I liked it. I looked in a mirror, and I told Mommy that I liked it, so we went to a table where the lady put little black dots on the lenses right in front of my eyes. I wondered how I would be able to see, with the little black dots there, but when I asked Mommy she told me that they would be putting special lenses without the dots in the frame that were just right for me.
Mommy and I went into the mall for a while, and Mommy bought a new dress. Then we had lunch, and after lunch we went back to the store. The same lady brought out my new glasses. She showed them to Mommy, and I remember what she said.
“Most girls of Sheila’s age who start with such a strong prescription end up needing even stronger lenses fairly soon. So we made these lenses in the less expensive regular plastic, but I had the lab technician make the front base flat, because Sheila will probably have to get used to that in a couple of years anyway.”
When the lady put my new glasses on my face I couldn’t see a thing. I had to really work at pulling my eyes back into my head before everything became clear. But everything did become quite clear, and when I was asked how well I could see, I honestly was able to say that I could see everything.
“With such a strong prescription she will probably want to wear her glasses all of the time anyway. But if she doesn’t that is all right. Don’t force her, and I expect she will just naturally wear them,” the lady told Mommy.
Mommy and I went home, and when Daddy came home that evening I proudly modeled my new glasses for him.
“You look like a princess darling.” Daddy said.
From that day on those glasses did not leave my face. The next day at school I proudly showed them to Ms Lindsey. Ms Lindsey was surprised that my glasses were so strong, but I could tell that hers were a lot stronger. Her glasses were flat in front like mine, but they stuck back behind the wire rim of her frame a lot more than mine did. And her glasses had a lot more rings in the lenses than mine did.
It was about 3 months since I had started wearing my glasses and school was over for the year. My best friend Ashley had her birthday 2 days after mine, so Mommy and Ashley’s mom decided that Ashley and I would have a pool party. Since we didn’t have a pool, and Ashley’s family did, our birthday party was at Ashley’s house. I put my bathing suit on, and I went to get into the pool, but Mommy suggested that I take my glasses off. I took them off, and everything was such a blur I told Mommy that I couldn’t see without them, and she let me put them back on. I heard her talking to Ashley’s mom.
“I hadn’t realized that Sheila’s eyesight was so poor that she couldn’t go without her glasses while she was swimming. I suppose we will have to buy her swimming goggles now.” Mommy said.
“I’m just happy that Ashley’s eyesight seems to be just fine so far. There are so many more young children wearing glasses now that wearing glasses seems normal.” Ashley’s mom said.
We had a fun time playing with all our friends. It was a really great birthday party. The only thing that bothered me was that this was the first time I realized I couldn’t see without glasses anymore. But I liked wearing glasses, so I really didn’t mind that I had to wear them.
I had my glasses for a year when Mommy announced to me that she had made me another appointment with the eye doctor, Apparently children are supposed to have annual eye exams, especially if they already wear glasses. The trip to the doctor’s office was about the same as the trip had been the year before. I had been practicing though. Now I really could pull my eyes back into my head a lot better than I could before. I think it was because I had to do that all the time for the first couple of months that I wore my new glasses. And when the doctor started to move the lenses in front of my eyes, I heard a lot of clicks before it reached a point where I had to tell him that the one before was better.
“Sheila’s prescription has increased another –4D Joan. I don’t think I have ever had a patient as young as Sheila with such a strong prescription,” said the doctor.
Mommy and I went back to the place in the mall where the store with all the frames was. And again we chose a new frame for me. But this time the store was having a half price sale as long as you bought 2 pairs of glasses. The sales lady talked my mom into buying me a second pair of glasses because she said my prescription was so strong I would be almost blind if I broke my glasses. So, I got to pick a second frame. And, because summer was coming and I was going to be spending a lot of time swimming, Mommy bought me a special pair of swim goggles that had my prescription in them.
When we picked up my new glasses a couple of hours later I again had a hard time seeing through the lenses at first, until my eyes became accustomed to forcing themselves to see. But it only took a minute or two, and when I looked in the mirror I was surprised. My glasses looked almost as thick as Ms. Lindsey’s.
“If her prescription gets any stronger next year we will have to do her lenses in a hi index material. We usually use hi index when the prescription goes over –6D, but Sheila’s frames have a fairly small eye size, so her –8.25D lenses don’t look that thick in the regular plastic,” the sales lady told us.
When I went to school the following day wearing my new glasses one of the first people I saw was Ms Lindsey, my last years kindergarten teacher.
“Hi Sheila. I see you have new glasses. They look very good on you, but from the looks of them, they are a lot stronger than your old ones. Do you know what your prescription is?” Ms Lindsey asked.
“No, I don’t remember Ms Lindsey.” I replied.
“Here, let me try them on Sheila. I will compare them to mine. And you can try mine on.” Ms Lindsey said.
We switched glasses. I could tell that Ms Lindsey’s were stronger than mine, because I couldn’t quite make my eyes focus through them.
“Well, yours are not quite as strong as mine are yet, but they are getting close. I bet yours are at least –8D. Mine are just over –10D.” Ms Lindsey said with a smile as we put our own glasses back on.
By the time school was out for the summer I had gotten completely adjusted to the strength of my new glasses. Now when I took them off everything was terribly blurred. I liked taking them off, because when I had my glasses off the ghosts disappeared. I had tried to tell people about all the ghosts I saw, but no one believed me, so I soon learned to keep my mouth shut. But they were there. There were 2 kids that were at my school, another kid at church, and a couple more that were at the playground every day. And there were grown up ghosts everywhere. Once in a while, if there were no one else anywhere nearby I would talk to a ghost. Most of them seemed to be searching for something, something to set them free so they could pass on to the hereafter. But I was just a child. I could not help any of them. It was easier if I took my glasses off, and pretended I couldn’t see them.
The next year, when I was in grade 2, I read a lot. I often read my books in my room, wearing my new glasses, with my old first glasses over top of them. I could easily see to read this way. But I couldn’t put my second pair of new glasses on over the other pair. They were just too strong to read with. I could see things off in the distance wearing both pairs of my new glasses though.
Finally it was time for my annual eye exam. It was pretty easy to see through a whole lot of the lenses that the doctor clicked in front of me. I know I heard a lot more clicks before he reached a lens that I could no longer focus through. This time when I heard the doctor and my mom discussing my eyesight I got a little worried.
“Sheila needs a prescription of –13.50D this time Joan. It looks to me like she has a type of very progressive myopia, and if her eyesight continues getting worse at this rate she is soon going to reach a point where she will not have the visual acuity to be able to see 20/20 anymore. And, if she has another increase next year that is as large as this one was, she will need myodiscs or a very expensive hi index lens,” said the doctor.
“What are myodiscs doctor?” Mommy asked.
“They are pretty rare, so you might never have seen them Joan. They are a type of lens where the prescription is so strong that it has to be in a little circle in the middle of the lens. The outside areas of the lens have no prescription,” answered the doctor.
This worried me. I didn’t want my glasses to get so strong I couldn’t see properly, nor did I want to wear myodiscs. I didn’t like the sounds of that. So, I resolved to quit pulling my eyes back into my head, as well as to stop wearing my first glasses over top of my new ones. I was soon going to be 8 years old, and I didn’t want to be wearing myodiscs.
I went to the glasses store with mom again. This time when the saleslady saw the prescription slip she told us that my new glasses would have to be ordered, and would take about a week, because the prescription in the lenses was so strong. And, she also told Mommy that this time I had to get hi index lenses. Mommy was upset when she found out how expensive my new glasses were going to be. But, we selected a new frame, and we ordered my glasses.
This time I couldn’t show Ms Lindsey my new glasses. She had gotten married the past summer, and now her name was Mrs. Barber. She had taught until just a couple of weeks ago but she was pregnant, and had taken an early maternity leave. I really would have liked to see what her reaction to my new glasses would be.
My mom and dad couldn’t afford a new pair of prescription swim goggles for me this year. And the pair that I had from the year before was almost useless to me now. So, I had to wear a head strap to hold my expensive new glasses on whenever I wanted to go swimming in Ashley’s pool.
That summer I spent a lot of time at the library. I loved to read, and there was a summer program that allowed kids to stay at the library as long as they behaved themselves. That was the summer I met Millie. I was walking quietly amongst the tables in the reading room on the top floor of the library when I saw a lady ghost sitting at a table reading. This lady was dressed in a way that made her look a little old fashioned, as if she was from the 60’s or 70’s. As I came closer I saw that she wore glasses, and from the side I could tell that her glasses had very thick lenses. The glasses threw me off a little. I had never noticed a ghost with glasses before. I sat down next to her, and she totally ignored me. I suppose she figured I couldn’t see her.
‘Hi, my name is Sheila. What’s yours?” I whispered.
I could tell I had startled her. “You can see me?” she asked quietly.
“Yes, I can see you.” I replied.
“But you are not supposed to be able to see me. No one else has ever been able to see me. Oh well, since you can see me, my name is Millie.” Millie said.
“Why have you not gone on to the other side Millie?” I asked.
“Why, I haven’t read all of these books yet. I can’t go until I read all of the books.” Millie replied.
“Every book in the whole library? That would take forever.” I said.
“I have been here for 36 years now, and I am getting close to being finished. But they keep bringing in new books every day.” Millie told me.
“How many books do you read in a day Millie?” I asked.
“I read most books in about 2 hours. So I can usually read about 12 books every day.” Millie replied.
“Wow, if you always read so much I guess that is why your glasses are so thick. Don’t you ever sleep?” I asked.
“Oh no, ghosts don’t need sleep. And your own glasses look pretty strong Sheila. Do you read a lot?” Millie asked.
“I read quite a bit of the time. Not nearly as much as you do though.” I replied.
I had gotten a really good look at Millie’s glasses. They were in a big plastic frame, and were really dished in at the front. The sides of the lenses had to be at least an inch thick. If my glasses had to be this thick I think I would have wanted those myodisc lenses that the doctor had been telling my mom about.
“Why don’t you have myodisc lenses Millie?” I asked.
“I didn’t want myodiscs when I got these glasses Sheila. My prescription was right at –20D in each eye, and they told me that I had to have myodiscs. But I got them to make these the same as my other glasses, just with a little more minus curvature in the front. But if I hadn’t been killed when I was 26 I know I would have had to get myodiscs in my next pair. Actually, I probably should have gotten 2 or 3 pairs of myodiscs, because my eyes got quite a bit worse when I was wearing contact lenses for a few years. How strong are your glasses Sheila?” Millie asked.
“Mine are –13.50D. But I don’t think I want them to get any stronger.” I replied.
“They probably will, whether you want them to or not. That is what always seems to happen.” Millie replied.
“Mine won’t. I have been pulling my eyes back into my head every time I have had my eyes tested. I am not going to do that anymore.” I told her.
“Oh, I used to do that too. I didn’t even start to wear glasses until I was 12 years old, and by the time I was 20 I had gotten up to –20D. But you really aren’t pulling your eyes back into your head. What you are doing is you are forcing your cilliary muscles to contract around your eyeball, and this makes your eyeball longer. When your eyes are tested like this you appear to be a whole lot more myopic than you really are. Then, once you start wearing the stronger glasses, at your age your eyeball grows longer to match the power of the lenses. But most people can’t do this. Most people have to focus on something up close to have their cilliary muscles contract.” Millie said.
“Well, I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t think I want my eyes to get any worse.” I replied.
“There is no one else up here Sheila. Lets trade glasses for a minute.” Millie suggested.
“Ok.” I replied and I took mine off and handed them to Millie.
Millie handed me her glasses and I put them on. I couldn’t actually see the glasses, but I could see well enough through the strong lenses to see that they were a lot too strong for me. Millie suggested I pull them away from my eyes, and I did. I looked at Millie, and I almost laughed. A ghost has a shimmering almost ethereal quality, but my glasses looked very bold on Millie’s face. We traded back, and I was happy to have my own glasses back.
“How do you make the books disappear so that other people can’t see you reading them Millie?” I asked.
“During the day, when the library is open, I sit on a book for about an hour or so before I start reading it. If a material object is in a ghost’s possession for an hour or more it goes into the spirit world, and becomes invisible to normal people. When I am finished with it, I place it back on the shelf, and in another hour or so it becomes visible again.” Millie replied.
“That would be neat. I wish I could make things do that.” I answered.
“That will happen far too soon for you to wish for it. The library is closing now. You had better go.” Millie told me.
That night I went home filled with a lot more knowledge than I had before. Now when I went into a store, and I saw a ghost sitting on a piece of clothing I knew that she was going to sit on it for at least an hour, and then she would be able to put it on, and it would be invisible. And, when the store took inventory they would chalk the loss up to shoplifters. No wonder most of the female ghosts I saw looked to be fairly well dressed. Now if I could only get Millie to come shopping for some decent modern clothing.
That next year, the year that I was 10, going on 11, I watched the ghosts I saw with a fresh point of view. I often stopped by the library, and had long conversations with Millie when we were certain we were alone. It was Millie that suggested to me that since so many people in today’s world wore contact lenses, possibly some of the ghosts I saw walking around with blank looks on their faces might actually be very nearsighted ghosts that hadn’t been able to bring their glasses, or contacts with them when they died.
So, from then on, whenever I saw a ghost I looked very closely at their expression. If they appeared to be walking head down, peering very intently at the sidewalk ahead of them, I surmised that this was a myopic ghost. And, one of the girl ghosts I met and talked to every once in a while even admitted to me that she couldn’t see properly. I let her try my glasses on, but they were far too strong for her. So the next time we met, I had my first glasses with me for her to try. They worked perfectly for her, and now that she was able to see she was able to resolve the issues that had left her here. One day she came running over to me, and excitedly wanted me to walk with her to the other side of the park.
“What for?” I asked.
“I am going now, but I want to give you your glasses back. I won’t need them anymore, but it was so nice of you to let me wear them. I just need to wear them for a few more minutes so I can see where I am going properly,” she told me.
So, we walked together to the far side of the park, and she gave me back my glasses, and then disappeared. After she was gone I walked back to the area we had left, and I saw another ghost, a young girl about my age, standing there as if she were waiting for me.
“Can I have them now? Stephanie told me that you would probably let me wear them after she was gone.”
“Do they work for you also?” I asked.
“They were not really strong enough for me. My eyes are really bad, but they helped a lot. Gina wants them after I am finished with them too. She says they are perfect for her.”
I had been carrying my old –8.25D glasses around with me, just in case I found a ghost who could wear them. This might just be the ghost that needed them. I pulled them out from my backpack, and gave them to the girl, who then put them on.
“Oh, these are almost perfect. Can I give your other ones to Gina now?”
“I’d like to meet Gina, but I will certainly let her wear them. However we can’t go to find Gina with you wearing those glasses. People will think they have gone crazy when they see a pair of glasses walking around by themselves.” I replied.
“Oh, I forgot. It takes a little bit of time before the glasses will disappear doesn’t it.”
“Yes, it does. It will take about an hour. So, if you put my other glasses back on, and we walk along with these glasses in your hand, and I put my hand over your hand it will appear to others that I am just carrying a pair of glasses.” I told her.
So, off we went to find Gina. This ghost told me that her name was Lynn, and that she had just turned 11 when she had died. She told me that she had started wearing glasses when she was 4 years old. It took us about 30 minutes to locate Gina, and Lynn handed the –4.25D glasses to Gina, who appeared to have been about 14 or 15 when she died. Gina was thrilled to have a pair of glasses.
“I have one more pair of my old glasses for anyone they might help. If either of you know, or find someone who can see fairly well through the glasses I have given Lynn, go to the top floor of the library. There is a lady ghost there named Millie who wears very thick glasses, and I go to visit her all the time. If you tell Millie that you have found someone who needs those glasses, she will pass the word on to me.” I told Lynn and Gina.
“We will, and thanks Sheila.” Lynn and Gina replied.
It didn’t take long before Millie told me that Lynn and Gina were looking for me. So, I went off to the park to find them. When I did, Lynn told me that there was a 17-year-old ghost who needed much stronger glasses than the ones I had given Lynn, however those glasses helped her quite a lot. So, we went off to find Tracey.
Tracey was an absolutely gorgeous ghost. She had been a model, I am sure of it. She was with Nick, who was helping her find her way around. We sat and talked for a while, and I let Tracey try my good, -13.50D glasses on. They were not even strong enough for her, and she told me that her prescription when she died had been –15.50D. I left her with my old –8.25D glasses, and she said they helped a little.
I had promised myself I wasn’t going to do this, but I felt really sorry for Tracey. It had been about 10 months since my last eye exam, and I wasn’t due to go for my next one for another couple of months. But that night when I got home I told mom that I was having trouble reading what the teacher had written on the board at school.
“But Sheila, it has only been 10 months since we spent $500.00 on those glasses for you.” Mom replied.
“I know mom, but I can’t see well anymore. And I have found a place online where we can buy glasses that are a lot cheaper than these were.” I replied.
“Well, I guess we had best have your eyes looked at again, and then we can decide what to do about new glasses.” Mom replied with a sigh.
I certainly wasn’t intending to do this again. And the way I pull my cillary muscles tight to increase my prescription isn’t an exact science. I knew if I pulled them as hard as I could it could give me as much as it did the last time. Then I had increased –5.25D, and I didn’t want that, because that would have meant I would now be –18.75D. I just wanted around –15.50, so I could help Tracey out. So, it was with a great deal of relief that I heard the doctor tell my mom that I had only jumped another –2.50D. That put me right at –16D.
“When is it going to stop Robert?” I heard mom ask the doctor.
“If I could answer that question Joan, I would be able to make a fortune. What does worry me is that Sheila is so extremely myopic now, and she hasn’t even reached her teen years. Those are the years during which myopia usually has the most progression.” Robert, the doctor answered.
“Well, you were right about needing stronger glasses Sheila. I talked it over with your dad last night, and he said that if you were happy to try ordering glasses from an online supplier, then we could give it a try. But if they come in, and they don’t feel right for you, we will go to the other store again.” Mom said as we drove home.
I had already picked my frames. They had 3 different lens options, a 1.57 index, a 1.61 index, and a 1.67 index. The 1.61 was a lens called polycarbonate, and I had heard that this was a terrible lens for people with strong prescriptions. So, I selected a rectangular black plastic frame with the wide temples for one pair, and then I selected the same frame in red. Then I asked mom if I could order sunglasses as well, so when I placed the order I ordered a second black frame. With the 1.57 lenses, the anti reflective coating on 2 pairs, and the dark sunglass tint on the other pair, I had 3 pairs of glasses on order for under $75.00. My parents couldn’t believe it, and actually, neither could I.
But, 3 weeks later my new glasses arrived. I tried them all on, and they were all fine. As it was every other time, it took a little bit of time before I could really see well through the stronger lenses, but I was young, and my eyes were very malleable, as I had proven a number of times previously. Since all of the frames were identical, I was able to switch the sunglass lenses in the other black frame to the red frame, and now I had 2 identical pairs of –16.00D glasses. Then I went off to find Tracey. I saw Lynn first, so I had Lynn hold onto the glasses, and we walked together with my hand over hers, as we had done when I gave her my other glasses. It took almost an hour before we found Tracey. She was at the library with Millie, reading. Apparently Tracey could see well enough to read with my glasses, as long as she brought the book very close to her eyes. Millie immediately noticed my new glasses.
“Oh no Sheila. Have you done it again?” Millie asked.
“Just so I could help Tracey Millie. I won’t do it any more.” I replied.
Hearing her name made Tracey look up. It was so obvious that my old glasses were not suitable for her poor weak ghostly eyes. She tried to squint, but gave up immediately. Lynn silently handed Tracey the new glasses. Tracey put them on, and we had to refrain her from shouting out with joy over being able to see again. We left Millie behind in the library and Tracey, Lynn, and I went outside. Tracey looked just beautiful, her long blond hair framing the heavy black frames. The only thing was that the glasses looked pretty thick, and there was considerable cut in on each side of her face.
“I am sorry they are so thick Tracey, but I needed to get the least expensive lenses so I could order an extra pair.” I said.
“Sweetie, I can’t believe this. You made your eyes worse just do you could get me a pair of glasses? And I can’t complain about the thickness of the lenses when you are wearing the same thick lenses. You are a treasure.” Tracey hugged me and kissed me.
I asked Lynn and Tracey if they had found anyone else who might be able to wear my old –8.25D glasses now that Tracey no longer needed them.
“Yes, we have a couple of candidates in mind. And what about your old –13.50D glasses? We know a lady who we are pretty sure can use them.” Lynn replied.
“Well, lets go and find these people. By the way, where is Gina today?” I asked.
“Oh, she passed through a couple of days ago. But don’t worry because Carla is wearing your old glasses. We will meet her in a few minutes. I told Gina that you wouldn’t mind.” Lynn replied.
We found Sharon, a young mother with a baby who had both died in a car accident.
“We are waiting for my husband to die so we can go on as a family. He is not expected to live. I had a very expensive pair of glasses with glass lenses, and they were shattered in the accident.” Sharon told me.
My old glasses were not perfect for Sharon, because she had a lot of astigmatism. However, they were much better than her trying to go around with no glasses at all with a –13.50D prescription. So she was very grateful. Lynn than introduced me to Carla, who was also extremely thankful that I was allowing her to wear my old glasses. I thought to myself that it was a good thing that I had a fairly large head so that all of these older, bigger people could wear my glasses.
When I went back to school in the fall Mrs. Barber was my teacher. She was back from maternity leave, and had requested a change from teaching kindergarten. She had gotten new glasses, and they looked lovely on her face. I thought they might have been a little stronger, but I wasn’t sure. Of course she noticed my new glasses as well.
“Sheila, it is so good to see you again. And, you have also gotten new glasses. So have I, but I see that yours are stronger than mine are now.” Mrs. Barber said.
“This is my second prescription change since you went on leave. I am now –16D. What is your new prescription?” I asked.
“I increased from –10.50 up to –12D when I was pregnant. My doctor told me that this happens a lot.” Mrs. Barber said.
“What do you do with your old glasses? We give my old ones to a special charity that gives them to poor people.” I asked.
“Oh, I just have all of my old ones in a drawer at home. I can bring them in if you want to give them to the same organization.” Mrs. Barber said.
“That would be wonderful.” I replied.
The following day Mrs. Barber brought in 10 pairs of her old glasses. Some of them hardly looked worn, and when I commented on that she told me that she had worn contact lenses for years, and very seldom ever wore glasses. She even had brought in a pair of her newest prescription, and when I asked about them she told me that her husband had chosen the frame and he really liked it, but when the glasses came in she hated how they looked on her.
With the help of Lynn and Tracey it took no time at all before all of Mrs. Barber’s old glasses found homes. Apparently ghosts were coming from all over to get a chance to be next in line for a pair of glasses. I couldn’t figure out why none of these ghosts had not still been able to wear contact lenses, but Tracey, who had been a contact lens wearer, explained it to me.
“There is no moisture in a ghost Sheila. And to wear contact lenses, you need moisture. I was wearing mine when I died, and as soon as I became a ghost they just dried out and shriveled up. When I was alive I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a pair of glasses.” Tracey told me.
While I was at school Tracey and Lynn would go around and check all of the thrift stores. A few of them still had a bin of old glasses, although most people were donating their old eyewear to charity. Whenever they found a decent pair that they thought would be suitable they took me to the store after school, so I could buy them for only a dollar or so. We had discovered that –4D or greater were the ones that were in most demand. Anyone under –4D could function fairly well without glasses.
I had been visiting Millie, and Tracey was there as well. After my visit Tracey wanted to leave as well, so we went outside together.
“We should get Millie to leave that library, and go shopping for some new, more modern clothing Tracey. She is such a nice person I hate to see her sitting in that library reading all the time.” I said.
“Millie has never told you?” Tracey asked.
“Told me what?” I queried.
“Millie was wearing contact lenses when she died. She was walking across the bathroom with her glasses in her hand to put them in their case when there was a gas explosion. That was the day she was supposed to be getting married later that afternoon. She had not worn those glasses for anything other than going from the bed to the bathroom for about 5 years, and they were quite a bit too weak for her. For her to be able to see with glasses, she would need glasses that are about –6D stronger. She sits in the library and reads because she can’t see well enough to go out anywhere. All she can do is read.” Tracey told me.
“That would mean that she needs –26D glasses. That is –10D stronger than you and I are wearing. Oh no, I am not going to do it. Not even for Millie.” I said.
“I don’t think Millie wants you to do it Sheila. I didn’t know that you were going to make your eyes worse just so you could get glasses that were strong enough for me, and if you had told me I would not have wanted you to do it.” Tracey replied.
“Do you know why Millie is still here Tracey?” I asked.
“I think she is waiting for the man she was going to marry to die. He wasn’t killed in the blast because he was out playing golf. But he has never married either, so Millie is hoping that he is also still in love with her, and that they can eventually be together again.” Tracey told me.
After that I headed home. It had only been a few months since I got my –16D glasses. There is no way I was ready for any sort of an increase. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The most increase I had been able to manage was –5.25D. If I could do that twice I could have Millie a proper pair of glasses in about 2 years. But that would mean that at age 14 I would then have to wear a prescription of –26.50D for the rest of my life. No, I just couldn’t do that.
Time passed quickly, and before I knew it I had to go for my annual eye exam. I hadn’t thought too much about Millie’s problem, but when I went to the doctor I was determined not to push my prescription any higher. So, this time when he did the clicks of the lenses I didn’t strain to see the letters on the chart at all. I was sure that I would not need much of an increase, if in fact I needed one at all. I was shocked when the doctor told me that I only needed a –3.00D increase this time, but I wasn’t happy. This was even more of an increase than I had the last time.
My parents let me order the more expensive hi index lenses this time. When I got them I was surprised that they actually looked a bit like a myodisc lens, since the edges close to the temples were shaved off, and flat. I had told Tracey that I was getting new glasses again, so she had located a lady who needed my old glasses. There were so many pairs of glasses out there in ghostland that I didn’t even know how many pairs there were, or who was wearing what pair now. But Tracey and Lynn were doing a great job of looking after the other myopic ghosts. So many of the original ones had gone on, and I was wondering why Lynn and Tracey were sticking around for such a long time.
“Hey Lynn. How come you and Tracey are sticking around here for such a long time?” I asked Lynn the following day.
“Tracey and I were just discussing that. I think that we are still here because you need someone to help you. There is no way any one person could distribute all the pairs of glasses we have out now. Heck, Tracey and I aren’t even sure who has what pair anymore.” Lynn replied.
Lynn did go on during that year. Shelly, who had badly needed my old –13.50D glasses, was now helping Tracey. We seemed to have an extremely high proportion of very myopic ghosts, and I wondered if the entire population of the world had become more myopic, or if we were just seeing so many because this is where the glasses were. Shelly felt that it was a combination of both things. Shelly was from Taiwan, and she told Tracey and myself that many of the girls her age there were wearing glasses stronger than her –13.50D.
Time just flew by that year. Nothing much changed. Tracey and Shelly were doing a fine job helping all the myopic ghosts. But I was getting worried. For the first time in my life I actually felt that my own glasses were too weak, and it wasn’t quite time for my annual eye exam yet. When it was time for my exam, I was able to tell that my glasses were considerably weaker than I needed. I was prepared for a really big increase, and when the doctor told me I needed –3.50D more for my prescription I was almost happy that it wasn’t as much as I thought it might have been.
This time I got 3 new pairs of glasses. When they arrived they were myodiscs, with the front surface dished in a little bit, like Millie’s glasses. I was sure that –22.50 wouldn’t really help Millie all that much, but that was the best I could do. I walked over to the library to give Millie the pair I had ordered for her.
“New glasses again Sheila? I hope you didn’t make your eyes worse again.” Millie said.
“No Millie, I didn’t. The last time I did that was for Tracey. These new glasses are –22.50D, so I ordered a pair for you in that prescription as well. Would you like to try them?’ I asked.
“Well, they still won’t be strong enough for me, but they will only be about –3.50D less than I really need. So I will try them, and thank you very much for thinking of me Sheila.” Millie said.
Once she was wearing glasses that were a little closer to the prescription she required it was possible for us to talk Millie into leaving the library once in a while. Millie got some new clothing, and with the more modern style of glasses she now wore she looked quite good, for a ghost that is. Millie tried to suggest to me that I shouldn’t try to make my eyesight any worse than it had already become. When I told her that I hadn’t been doing anything other than pick the lens that gave me the best, clearest vision, she told me that it was probably already too late.
“What do you mean too late Millie?” I asked.
“When we first met I told you I had done the same thing as you had. I was able to tighten up my cilliary muscles enough to make my eyes seem to be quite nearsighted. I could easily wear glasses that were very strong, and for a while before I got my first pair of glasses when I was 12, I had worn an old pair of my best friends glasses that were almost –5D a lot of the time. When I went for my first eye exam I ended up with a –4.50D prescription, because I had trained my eyes to see through that power. Then I managed to get stronger and stronger glasses, until by the time I was age 20, I was wearing –20D glasses. But then I stopped doing it, and my eyes continued to get worse anyway, much like yours are doing now. I am not sure what my glasses prescription was when I died, but my contact lenses were –19.50D. I had a vertex distance of 11mm, so this probably made my glasses around –27.50D. And, I think I had trained my eyeball so well to keep elongating, that if I had lived I probably would have continued to become more myopic every year.” Millie said.
“So do you think that is going to happen to me Millie?” I asked.
“I think it already has Sheila. Could you see the smallest line clearly when you got these glasses?’ Millie asked.
“Yes, I could. My doctor was amazed that I could see so well with such a strong prescription.” I replied.
“I also could see extremely well. My doctor told me that I could easily end up around –45D before my progression stopped.” Millie said.
I didn’t like the sounds of that. Already at 13 years of age I was wearing glasses that were –22.50D. If this kept up I could end up wearing glasses that were twice as strong. I couldn’t imagine that. Already when I removed my glasses it was instant blur. I could see large objects if they were contrasting colors, but unless I brought an object right up to my nose I couldn’t see anything clearly. How could my eyes get twice as bad?
I almost envied my highly myopic ghost friends. They never needed stronger glasses. Once they died, their myopic progression came to a halt. As time drew closer for my annual visit to see Robert, my eye doctor I again could tell that distant objects were blurry. I sat in the chair, and the clicks started. “Oh well, what the heck?” I asked myself as I made my cilliary muscles contract what I hoped was just a little bit. I hoped I hadn’t done it too much.
“Well Joan, Sheila has had another large increase. Her prescription now will have to be –28D. When she turns 14 in a couple of months her prescription will be exactly double her age.” Robert told my mom.
“She can’t see a thing now. How strong can a person’s prescription get?” Mom asked.
“I had a 15 year old girl as a patient a few years ago who needed a prescription of –48D. What amazed me was that she could see quite well with such strong glasses. We didn’t have many options for her glasses though. She had to wear quite thick lenses called double myodiscs, and we had to put about –22D in the front of the lens, and –26D in the rear. There are better lenses available now, but lets hope Sheila doesn’t have to experiment with those options.” Robert told us.
It took almost 4 weeks for these new –28D glasses to arrive. Again I ordered 3 pairs. This time when that arrived I could tell that the myodisc circle was a lot smaller than my other ones. As soon as I could I slipped away and went to find Millie. I saw Tracey first, so I had Tracey hold onto the glasses, and we walked hand in hand as we had done before to make the glasses disappear into the ghost world.
“How strong are your new glasses Sheila?” Tracey asked.
“They are –28D now.” I replied.
“Did you?” Tracey asked.
“Just a tiny bit. I figured that I might as well get a pair strong enough that Millie can see well with. She has been going around half blind for over 40 years now.” I replied.
“That is very nice of you. I think if Millie can see properly again she might help me with the glasses program, and then Shelly can go on.” Tracey said.
“What about you Tracey. When are you going on?” I asked.
“I am in no rush. I wasn’t ready to die, and I am not yet ready to leave this world. I still go back and make my presence felt to my dad every once in a while. He took my death very hard, and he still needs me. I couldn’t have done this if you hadn’t gotten me glasses Sheila, so I am very much in your debt.” Tracey told me.
I knew that some ghosts were not is a rush to go on, but I hadn’t understood that some of them stayed to make their presence felt to their loved ones for a little while longer. I thought that Tracey must have loved her father very much for her to do that for him.
Now that Millie could see properly she and Tracey did take over the ghostly glasses distribution. My own glasses were now so very strong that none of the other ghosts other than Millie ever needed glasses that strong, so I was able to make sure that any further increases were exactly what I needed for my own eyes. And, as Millie had predicted, every year my eyes did continue to require stronger glasses. By the time I was 20, I was wearing –36D double myodiscs. I hadn’t even bothered to try for my drivers license, as my doctor had told me that my visual acuity would deteriorate as my glasses grew even stronger, and, while I could have passed with my –36D prescription, he felt I was borderline, so he didn’t want me to even try. I accepted his advice, and I rode the bus a lot.
Tracey was having a problem with her father. He was still taking her death very hard, and he had started drinking. So, I offered to go to see him, and take him a message from Tracey. Hopefully this would shock him, and get him away from the bottle. Tracey told me a couple of things that only she and her dad knew about, and I felt I could carry this off. So, I went to see Tracey’s dad, and as I predicted he almost threw me out of the house. But I left him with the message that Tracey wanted me to leave him with, and Tracey reported to me a few days later that after a great deal of thought, he had quit drinking, and wasn’t nearly as morose.
I felt that Tracey was soon going to be going on. She and Millie found a couple more girls to help out with the glasses for ghosts program, and they trained them. What surprised me the most was when Millie and her old boyfriend hooked up, and went on together before Tracey did. When Tracey left as well, I was a little lonely. I didn’t know any of these other ghosts as well as I had known Millie and Tracey. I gradually cut back on the time I was spending with ghosts, and I let the ghosts themselves handle the distribution of the glasses.
I still see the ghosts and when I want to have the ghosts disappear, I merely remove my glasses, which have not yet reached the –45D that my doctor predicted, but every year my prescription is still climbing.