The Nearsighted Pilot

by Specs4ever

Ever since I was a young boy I was interested in anything that could fly. I built my first paper planes at age 3 and by the age of ten I had built my first radio controlled model airplane. By the time I was in my early 20’s it seemed only logical that I should become a pilot. So, I became a pilot, and after a short time I ended up as a very skilled test pilot for a major airplane manufacturer. If there was anything that could fly I flew it, no matter if it had fixed wings or was a helicopter. Then one day I didn't pass the annual medical check up. It wasn't my fault. They must have mixed up my blood test with one of another person. And this person must have smoked a few joints that day. My license was revoked and I had no chance to protest these results because I was out of the States for a series of flight tests. So when I came back it was too late. My license was taken from me and I had to wait for another couple of months to be re-examined at another time.

Anyway the tests of the new jet were finished and I had still to take my last years vacation. So after consulting with him, my lawyer suggested that I could wait for the other exam to take place after I finished my holidays. My employer believed that it had to be a mistake on the part of the testing laboratory, and was more than willing to keep my job waiting, and to pay me until this little matter was settled.

So now I was here on this remote little airport close to the Canadian border waiting for the small amphibian plane to take to one of those nice lakes in the wilderness for fishing and a little hunting. The plane was a bit late but I didn’t care too much because I had all the time I needed. The small airfield appeared to be operated by a family and looked more or less like one of these old stations postal planes used to load mail they had to deliver. Finally a young woman in her mid twenties arrived, saying, “Hi, I’m Cathy, your pilot.”

Cathy was of medium height, with wonderful curves in all the right places. She had full-length blonde hair that she wore in a ponytail. Her eyes were of a light blue color and were very big. I mean the whole eyeball was big. It almost looked like the eyes wanted to pop out. I had seen this only once before in a very nearsighted young lady, when she had no glasses on. I was curious, but just kept being formal. I pushed the cart holding my luggage past a door she indicated to me. I moved past her and could get a closer look at her eyes. She wore contacts. I could spot rigid gas permeable contact lenses dancing on her corneas. She seemed to tolerate them well, because her eyes didn’t show any sign of redness. My luggage was inspected and weighted. Everything was in perfect order and Cathy informed me that she would check to see if the plane had been fueled correctly and that I could board in 5 minutes. Her dad loaded my luggage into the plane and I spotted strong prescription sunglasses on him. I wondered if he was so nearsighted how could his daughter, who probably had inherited his bad eyes pass the visual exam to fly an airplane. Maybe it was like in my case, someone else was grounded instead of her.

Finally it was time to go. Cathy had finished all the necessary pre flight checks. As I was the only passenger I sat next to her in the co pilot’s seat. She advised me not to touch anything and started the engines of the old Catalina amphibian plane. It was a wonderful experience to fly again. It was great to be sitting in a cockpit from the past not in my modern gizmos I was used to now. But yet it was all very familiar. It reminded me of my uncle who had let me fly his old Piper. After only a couple of hours flying I could handle his plane better than he ever could.

I looked at Cathy who was pulling the lever to retract the gear of our Catalina. It was nice to watch her maneuvering the plane. She nervously blinked her eyes. The air in the cockpit had become dry, because it was a cold day and we had already reached our cruising altitude of nearly 6500 feet. I opened my seatbelt and got up to get my rucksack, where I kept a thermos bottle of good hot coffee. I offered a mug to Cathy, which she gladly accepted.

We started talking about her job and the airfield. I learned that the third generation of her family ran it. Right now she was the only pilot. Her dad had been grounded two years ago, because he had developed glaucoma. This was not entirely correct I thought. They had probably grounded him because he had become way too myopic to fly a plane. Cathy also told me that they were desperately looking for another pilot to fly for the company, but had not found anyone willing to fly from such an old airfield. Cathy sounded a little bit sad as she told me all this.

Well I had no partner at the moment and I could imagine in my mind how nice it would be to stay. It would be even better if I could get together with a girl like Cathy, who seemed to share my passion of flying. And she wore contacts, which meant she had to wear glasses sometimes.

With the engines roaring and humming I dozed off.

Suddenly Cathy shook me. “Hold the controls,” she yelled at me.

“What’s the matter?” I asked her.

“Don’t ask stupid questions,” she told me, “just hold the controls straight and don’t move the stick forward. I have lost one of my contacts.”

I could see it. It was hanging on the eyelashes of her right lower eyelid. She must have also noticed where the lost lens was. Now or never I thought. When she tried to take the lens between her right index finger and thumb I moved the stick just a little bit forward causing the plane to dive a little. It was enough to make her lose the lens. I was rewarded by a shrill voice telling me that I was stupid and that I shouldn’t move the stick. By now the contact lens was gone.

“We’re in trouble now,” she told me. “I can’t fly this plane with only one eye seeing clearly.”

“Don’t you have glasses?” I asked her.

Her face blushed. “Yes I have glasses, but the prescription is a little bit outdated.”

I started to enjoy this situation. We were in no danger as I could fly this plane. But Cathy didn’t know that.

“I’ll put the plane on autopilot and you can help me find my contact lens,” Cathy said.

She put the plane on autopilot and we started searching for her lost lens. After several minutes, that seemed endless I found her lens. I took a closer look at it and saw that it was terribly scratched all over. There was no way for her to ever use it again. She took the lens from my fingertip and inspected it herself.

She was silent. I knew that she couldn’t use this lens again. There was no way to use it without damaging the cornea of her eye.

“Shit, this means glasses,” Cathy said.

“Where do you have your glasses?” I asked her.

“Right here in one of the pockets of my overalls,” she said.

“OK, put them on and bring me to my destination.” I said.

“It looks like I have no other choice,” she said. “But first I have to remove my other contact lens.”

She took a contact lens case out of her overalls and put first the damaged lens in and then the other intact lens from her left eye.

“Right now I’m blind,” she said after finishing.

“That’s not good for a passenger to hear a pilot saying that,” I kidded her.

Again she blushed and I could see how embarrassed she was. She pulled a pair of small gold-rimmed glasses out of the breast pocket of her overalls and put them on.

“Now I can at least see well enough to bring the plane down,” she said.

She looked at me through her strong glasses.

They were the strongest glasses I had ever seen on a woman’s face. She must be blind without them, just as she said. Her face seemed to be shrunken behind the thick lenses. She was the person I had searched for so long. She squinted her eyes behind her glasses, telling me that she was correct, that her prescription was outdated.

“I didn’t know they would let you fly with such a strong correction,” I said.

“If they actually knew how strong my glasses had to be they wouldn’t let me,” she said with a bitter tone in her voice.

“You know the guy who does my annual medical exams has looked into my eyes and seen my contacts, but with my contacts in I can see his eye chart perfectly. So, there has never been any question as to how strong my prescription is. And if you don’t say anything to anybody, nobody will find out in the future. I’m the only one in our family who can continue flying. If my license should be revoked it would be our ruin.” Cathy said as she took back the controls of the Catalina from the autopilot.

“Did you not have to wear glasses when you were a little girl?” I asked.

“Oh, I wore glasses from before I was 2 years old. But my mom and I lived in the city, and my mom was a nurse at the hospital. My Grandpa was still alive, and my dad would leave, and come to the city to work as an airplane mechanic as soon as the snow flew. So, until Grandpa died, and we moved up here full time no one here ever saw me wearing glasses. And I got contacts when I was 12. My doctor thought it might stop my eyes from getting worse.” Cathy told me.

Her strong glasses kept sliding down her nose and it was a continuous struggle for her to keep adjusting her glasses. I observed all this with delight.

“It would be better if you let me adjust your glasses Cathy,” I said. “It’s not very comfortable for you to fly if you have to continuously push up your glasses.”

“You are probably right,” she said. She switched the plane back to autopilot and handed me her specs.

Now I could have a closer look at them. They were regular glass lenses and quite heavy for their relatively small size of 38-22. I estimated the power of her glasses to be well above -16 to -18 D. I bent them lightly at the bridge so that the arms of the frame would fit a little tighter. I also bent the plastic covering the earpieces slightly inward, to make them fit better behind her ears. I gave the lenses a good clean with a paper towel before I handed them back to Cathy.

“Thanks,” she said as she put them back on. “Now they will stay in place and you gave them a good cleaning as well.” She looked at me through her strong glasses and gave me a beautiful smile. “Will you keep my little secret for yourself?”

“How strong is your little secret?” I asked her with a grin.

She blushed again. “Well I don’t know exactly but it must be around -16.5D for my left eye and about -17.75D for my right eye. My contacts are -15 and -16.25D and with them I can see perfectly.”

“That is a pretty strong secret,” I replied.

Cathy was silent for now and concentrated on flying the Catalina. We had another hour of flight left and I saw some dark clouds ahead of us that I didn’t like too much. I asked Cathy what she thought about this. Due to her poor eyesight with glasses they didn’t look as alarming to her as they looked to me. They were right in front of us.

 

“It’ll get a little shaky but there should be no danger,” she said. “The lake where you are going is big enough for a safe landing.”

I wasn’t convinced but we would see when it was time. So as we approached our destination the turbulences were shaking and tossing the Catalina from left to right. There were also strong gusts of wind. One of those gusts hit us on the left tossing the plane to the right. Cathy was taken by surprise as the plane turned on its back. “Shit, my glasses!” I heard her exclaim. She had lost her glasses. I took a quick look around and saw that they had landed on the dashboard right in front of me. They seemed to be still in one piece. It was my turn now to fly the plane. I took the stick and moved it to the left and brought the plane around to an upright position. We were in quite a storm and it was absolutely no fun flying now.

“Can you see my glasses anywhere? Oh please find them. I must be able to see to bring us down,” said Cathy.

“I will look for them when we have landed,” I said to Cathy.

“Do you know how to fly a Catalina?” she asked.

“I can fly anything that will fly,” I said.

Thankfully the old Catalina had a GPS receiver on board. I could see that the wind had brought us a little bit off course. I flew a nice right turn and we were on the correct heading.

“You should radio your airfield and tell them that you won’t come back today,” I said to Cathy. “There’s just no way for you to fly back today with these lousy weather conditions.”

Just in front of us I spotted the lake where I was going to land. Right now just under the clouds the wind had calmed. The Catalina was in position and I began to reduce airspeed and adjusted our descent rate to a steady 120 feet per minute. The heading was correct and I could see the log cabin on the southern shore of the lake where I was going to spend the next few weeks. The water on the lake appeared to be a little rough, but the Catalina was built for landing on rough waters. I made an almost perfect landing, with the almost perfect meaning that the Catalina bounced off the water two times, just like a pebble you throw in a flat angle on the water. I taxied the Catalina to the shore and cut the engines.

“Can you find my glasses now?” came Cathy’s voice through the now silent cabin.

“Yes, here they are,” I said and gave them to her. She put them on and looked at me.

“How does it happen to be that you can fly a plane better than anybody else I have seen so far?” she asked me.

I told her my story and she remained silent. I had given her a few hints during my tale, that I was still single and still looking for a person that shared my passion for flying. We secured the plane on the shore and brought all my stuff to the hut that was to be my base for the coming weeks. When we were sitting in the hut and a nice fire was burning in the fire place, Cathy again asked me, the fire reflecting from the flat fronts of her strong glasses, if I would keep her secret. I decided not to let her off the hook so easy and said to her that she had to find a better way to make me keep her powerful secret. She was silent but I could see a smile playing around her lips.

“You seem to have a lot of interest in my strong glasses,” she said.

This time I felt that I was the one who was blushing.

“Do you want to try them on just to see how strong they are?” she asked me.

“They are too small for me and I don’t want to damage them.” I said.

She had moved closer to me and brought her face close to mine. She took off her glasses and placed them on my face. I couldn’t see anything out of her glasses.

“Now you must be blind like me, without my glasses,” Cathy said.

I took them off and placed them back on her nose. “But I like it better when you are wearing your glasses Cathy.”

As we lay there holding each other tightly on the bearskin rug in front of the fire I realized that I was now living in my dreams. For years I had often dreamed of lying naked in front of a roaring fire together with a beautiful blonde lady wearing nothing but a pair of very strong glasses.

“Do you believe in dreams Cathy?” I asked.

When she asked why, I told her of the dream that I had so often had. She didn’t respond for a minute, but then started to remove her clothing. I took mine off as well, and soon we were reliving my dream. We kissed and hugged, and I was very careful not to smear or dislodge her glasses.

That night Cathy and I shared a bed. After the lights went out, she removed her glasses, and we had a great time. Even though it was the first time for both of us, she was a fantastic partner.

The weather broke the following day, and Cathy was ready to leave bright and early. I would have loved it if she could have stayed, but she had a business to run, and she had to get back to get herself a replacement contact lens before anyone spotted her wearing her glasses. She told me that she did have replacement lenses at her house, so that wasn’t going to be a problem. I wanted her to get home safely, so I looked in my tackle box. I had an expensive pair of fishing sunglasses that I had purchased one of those straps that hold them tightly on your head. I removed the strap, took Cathy’s glasses off, and put the strap on her glasses. Then I placed her glasses carefully back on her head, and fastened the strap.

“Thanks, that should help keep them on. What are you going to do with yourself until I return?” Cathy asked me.

“Well, I am going to fish, and relax, and just have a good time here, unless a very nearsighted, very beautiful lady pilot I know decides to come back for another overnight visit.” I said.

Cathy blushed, and said, “Does this mean I am invited back before it is time to pick you up?”

“I don’t know if I should tell you this now, but I feel that you are the girl I have been searching for. I would love to have you spend every night for the rest of my life with me.” I told her.

“You know I can’t leave my family with no one to fly the plane.” Cathy said.

“Cathy, be honest with yourself. With your eyesight deteriorating how much longer will they allow you to fly passengers for hire? Your dad’s prescription is much lower than yours, and they grounded him.” I replied.

“I know that what you are saying is probably correct. But, I can’t leave them until we find another pilot.” Cathy responded.

“What if I were to come back and fly the plane after I get my license reinstated? Would you marry me, and be happy here with me?” I asked.

“Would you do that just to be with me?” Cathy asked.

“Yes!”

Specs4ever, Jan 2005, from a story by Andy

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