Nancy looked at her face in the mirror. The redness was starting to turn a little purple. By tomorrow it would be a visible bruise. The police had taken digital pictures before they had taken Mitch away in the rear seat of the police car. Nancy felt a bit guilty. Mitch had never laid a hand on her ever before. She felt that it was probably her fault he had gotten so angry with her. This never would have happened if she hadn’t listened to Carl when he told her that for the sake of her eyesight she should leave her glasses on in the evening, and if she did so for a while Mitch would finally get accustomed to seeing her wearing glasses.
Nancy looked again at her reflection. Mitch hated to see her in her wide temple black-framed glasses with the red accents and their coke bottle lenses. Thank goodness her glasses were still intact, and were only a little bit out of shape. She could drop by the optical store and have them straightened tomorrow when she went to see a lawyer to see about a restraining order against Mitch. He had never hit her before in the 5 years they had been married, and she wasn’t going to give him another chance to use her as a punching bag. But, Nancy wondered, what will the kids and I use for money? The rent is paid up for the next 2 months. After that they could be out on the street.
When Nancy was 17 she had been dating Mitch, and after a moment of carelessness she found herself pregnant. She and Mitch got married at a very small ceremony at City Hall. Mitch’s parents wouldn’t come, and neither would Nancy’s mother, who was very disappointed in her daughter for allowing a boy to have sex with her. This rift had never healed, and Nancy’s mom had passed away just a year ago without ever seeing her 2 granddaughters. Nancy was very sad that her mom had never forgiven her.
This was one of the big mistakes Nancy had made. The other mistake was that she had never appeared in front of Mitch wearing glasses before she became pregnant. Sure, Mitch knew that she wore contact lenses, and she had told Mitch that she had very poor eyesight. But she never wore glasses around him. Nancy had gotten her first glasses when she was 8, and she had experienced regular prescription increases until she was 14, and had talked her mom into letting her get contact lenses. Her contact lens powers had also increased every year, and by the time Nancy was 17 and became pregnant by Mitch her contact lenses were –9.00D. Without contacts Nancy felt pretty helpless, so she wore them all her waking moments.
After Nancy and Mitch were married and had moved into their small apartment Nancy continued wearing contacts until the baby was about 8 months along. This is when Nancy got her first pair of glasses in 4 years, and that first night, when she tried to show Mitch her new glasses he was astonished at how thick the lenses were. He made some very nasty comments about Nancy being blind as a bat, and he finally told Nancy that she looked ugly wearing glasses, and he didn’t want her wearing them around him. After the birth of Celeste, Mitch had come home early one night and found Nancy breast-feeding Celeste while wearing her glasses. He threw a fit, and made her go and put in her contact lenses. From then on Nancy made sure that she had her contact lenses in the second she heard Mitch’s steps coming up the stairs.
Mitch had not wanted Nancy to work outside the home, and since his job in construction paid enough for them to live on, and even accumulate a meager amount of savings, Nancy didn’t fight to be allowed to go to work. After all, she reasoned, hiring someone to look after Celeste would probably cost almost as much as she could earn at a low paying no skills job. So, when Mitch wanted Nancy to have another child, she really didn’t feel that she could argue much. Mitch obviously wanted a son, which was evident in his disappointment when Miranda was born. But he really didn’t seem too unhappy about having 2 daughters, and family life was fairly good for a while.
Every year Nancy seemed to require new, stronger contact lenses and the appropriate changes in the lenses of her glasses. When Celeste was 4, and Nancy was 22, her prescription for her glasses was –18.00D. The lenses had been replaced 3 times in her other glasses, and this time a whole new frame was required. So, Nancy picked a rather bold black frame with red accents and very wide temples. She tried to show these glasses to Mitch, but his reaction was awful. He screamed at her, and told her to not ever wear them around him.
The following day when Nancy walked to the nearby grocery store pushing Miranda in the stroller and dragging Celeste along by the hand Nancy felt very depressed. She had looked at herself a number of times in the mirror after Mitch told her she was ugly wearing these glasses. She didn’t think she looked ugly. Yes, the sides of her face looked like the powerful lenses of the glasses sank them in a lot, and that looked a bit weird. But the glasses themselves didn’t look bad on her. She walked through the store picking up the few items that she had come after. Even with her new glasses Nancy didn’t have wonderful eyesight, and every once in a while she would take something off the shelf, and bring the box up close to her glasses so she could read the ingredients. She was struggling to reach the product on the top shelf when she heard a voice.
“Let me get that for you Ms.” Carl said.
“Here you are. Say, I really like your glasses. They definitely suit a pretty girl like you. I bet your husband loves you wearing them.” Carl had said.
“I wish. He says he hates them, and tells me that I look ugly wearing them.” Nancy replied.
“Well then he is a fool. I think you are one of the most beautiful girls that I have seen wearing glasses in ages. I’m not sure I have ever seen a girl look as pretty as you do in a pair of glasses before.” Carl then told her.
Nancy and the girls left the market with her purchases. Nancy knew she wasn’t beautiful. She was a little too fat around the waist, and she had been promising herself that she was going to start walking to see if she could get rid of her rolls and her thunder thighs, as she called them. Mitch didn’t seem to care if she put on weight. Actually he seemed to want to fatten her up, as he had always told her that she looked like skin and bones before. But she knew she wasn’t bad looking, even when she wore glasses, so it was a nice boost to her ego to have someone tell her that she looked beautiful.
The next day Nancy asked Mrs. Dunwoody, the widow who owned the house their apartment was in, if she could watch the girls while she went over to the market. Mrs. Dunwoody, a kindly old widow agreed, and Nancy was going to bring her back some supplies from the market as well.
She walked up and down the aisles. Subconsciously she was looking for the guy who had complimented her on her glasses yesterday. Just then she spotted him walking down the aisle towards her. She looked directly at him and smiled at him. He smiled right back, and walked up to her. Nancy read from his nametag. “Carl Henderson asst. mgr.”
“Hi Carl. I’m Nancy Stevens. Thanks again for helping me out yesterday.” Nancy said, amazed that she had been so bold.
“You are quite welcome. You must live nearby. Do you come in everyday?” Carl asked.
“I have to walk about a mile to get here. But I am trying to loose weight, so I am going to walk it every day. My landlady is looking after the girls.” Nancy said.
“I’ll buy you a coffee. I am on break now.” Carl said.
“I shouldn’t. I am a married lady, but I will take you up on the offer as long as you realize that it is just a coffee.” Nancy boldly replied.
“I wish you weren’t married, but since you are, I can accept just the coffee with a pretty lady part.” Carl answered.
This started a routine. Nancy would leave the girls with Mrs. Dunwoody and would walk to the grocery store, where she would have a coffee with Carl, pick up a few supplies for Mrs. Dunwoody and herself, and then she would walk home. Carl didn’t know it, but often in the afternoon as she sat around the apartment reading, Nancy would fantasize about having a relationship with someone like Carl, a guy who would accept her wearing her glasses. And, Nancy didn’t know it, but at night after work Carl would also sit around his apartment doing a little fantasizing of his own.
Nancy was pleased to have someone to confide in. Mitch had kept her pretty much under his thumb. One day after walking back home Nancy went to put her contact lenses in. The right lens was painful, very painful, but Nancy kept it in until she went to bed. The following morning after Mitch had left for work Nancy looked at her eye, and it was all red and sore looking. She didn’t walk to the store to see Carl that morning, but instead got an emergency appointment with her eye doctor.
“You have had something in your eye that got under your contact lens and scratched your cornea. It will take a month, maybe longer before you can wear contact lenses again,” said the doctor.
Nancy was devastated. She didn’t know what to do. That afternoon she put in her left contact lens and tried to function. But she couldn’t adapt unless she kept her right eye closed. The blur from her right eye overpowered the clear vision from her left eye, and she had double blurred vision. It was awful. Fortunately she got through the night. The next morning she grabbed her glasses from the bedside table. It was funny. Mitch couldn’t stand to see her wearing them, but it didn’t seem to bother him that she kept her glasses right beside her bed, so she could grab them in the middle of the night, or when she got up in the morning after he had gone to work.
“Where were you yesterday?” Carl asked.
So, Nancy told Carl the story, and of how she went around the house the previous evening with one eye closed.
“Try an eye patch.” Carl suggested.
Nancy purchased a flesh colored eye patch, and that evening she wore it over her right eye. Mitch seemed to accept this, even when she told him it could be for a month or 2.
Everything would have been fine. Nancy felt she could carry on like this. But Miranda developed pink eye before Nancy could go back to wearing contact lenses. Nancy knew she was in trouble when she woke up one morning and saw that her left eye was all red and inflamed. She took her usual walk down to see Carl and have coffee with him. That was when Carl told her to stand up to Mitch. She had rights too, and she had the right to be able to wear her glasses to see.
When Mitch arrived home that evening the trouble had started. Nancy tried to explain the problem, but Mitch did not seem to understand. He took his dinner and ate in front of the television. When Nancy put the girls to bed she noticed that Mitch had 3 empty beer bottles beside him, and he was working on his 4th. She was a little worried. Mitch wasn’t a passive drunk, and had gotten in a few scrapes when he was drinking. She came back into the living room.
“If you are going to sit with me take those ugly glasses off your face.” Mitch said threateningly.
“Mitch honey, I can’t. I am blind without them.” Nancy replied.
Mitch stood up and headed towards her. Nancy figured that she had better get out of here, and stood up as well. That is when Mitch caught her with the back of his hand, and knocked her across the room. Her glasses went flying, and she fell. As Nancy fell she knocked into the phone, and she grabbed it. She didn’t need her glasses to find the 911 buttons. Mitch saw what she was doing, and he grabbed the phone from her hand. She couldn’t see a thing, but she knew he had pushed “end”. Was he going to hit her again? Fortunately for Nancy he didn’t, but she couldn’t see anything except for smears of colors. She worried about where her glasses were and was afraid to move in case she stepped on them.
Mitch didn’t realize it, but when a 911 call is interrupted they have all the information that is required to pinpoint where the call came from. Nancy was still lying there when a knock came at the apartment door.
“Open up, this is the police,” the voice said.
Nancy couldn’t see what was going on, but she could hear Mitch arguing with the voice.
“Are you all right Ms?” a female voice asked.
“My glasses. He knocked off my glasses. I can’t see a thing without them.” Nancy replied.
“Here they are honey. My, I see what you mean. They are thick aren’t they,” said the voice.
Nancy tried to tell the police that she didn’t want to lay any charges. But the officer’s told her that it was no longer up to her. They found evidence that an act of violence had been committed, and they were going to have to charge Mitch. They would be booking him, and he would be in jail overnight.
Nancy was in a daze. She was so glad that her glasses were still safe, but she didn’t know what to do about Mitch. It was only 9:00 pm, so she called Mitch’s boss. She explained what had happened, and that Mitch would be in jail until he was bailed out. He said he would look after that in the morning, so Nancy went to bed, and slept fitfully. That night Nancy dreamt about Carl, and when she awoke the next morning her crotch was all wet.
First thing in the morning Nancy got Celeste ready for kindergarten. Then she asked Mrs. Dunwoody to look after Miranda.
“He knocked you around last night I see.” Mrs. Dunwoody said.
“He didn’t mean it. He had a couple of beers too many.” Nancy replied.
“Child, there is no excuse for a man to ever hit a woman. That guy of yours is trouble. This might be a good time to get rid of him.” Mrs. Dunwoody advised.
Nancy knew she had confided a little too much in Mrs. Dunwoody to argue the point.
“I need him. I have no money to pay the rent.” Nancy said.
“Forget the rent. I will let you and the girls live here free if I have to. You are a good girl, and you deserve better. But you best get on down to social assistance and file for some relief.” Mrs. Dunwoody said.
Nancy went to the bank first, where she closed out their joint savings account. She was pleasantly surprised with the amount they had saved. After she had dropped by the optician to have her glasses straightened, she went on to the battered woman’s shelter, where the girl advised her of her rights, and put her in contact with a lawyer who would help her. Nancy went to the lawyer, who arranged for a restraining order to be served on Mitch. A locksmith changed the locks on the apartment doors, and gave Nancy the new keys. Then later that afternoon Nancy walked over to the market.
“That’s quite a shiner. Did he do it?” Carl asked when he saw her face.
“He really hates me wearing glasses.” Nancy said.
“Dump the guy and I’ll take his place. I really love you wearing glasses.” Carl replied.
“Tempting, but I have to sort this through first.” Nancy told him.
“I will be waiting in the wings.” Carl said.
When Nancy arrived back at the apartment she collected the girls and went into the apartment. There was a message on the phone from Mitch, telling her he was sorry, and that he wanted to come home. She called his cell.
Mitch was angry. The restraining order had been served. “What is this shit?”
“Mitch, I tried to tell you last night. I have an eye infection and I can’t wear contact lenses anymore until it clears up. And, maybe I don’t want to wear contact lenses anymore. You can’t stand me wearing glasses. I have to wear glasses. The solution is for us to each go our own way.” Nancy told him.
“Can I at least come over to see you, and get my things? And, can I say goodbye to the girls?” Mitch asked.
“Sure, as long as there is another party present. I think Mrs. Dunwoody will come up while you are here.
So Mitch came over and got his belongings. Nancy was surprised when Mitch offered to keep the rent paid, but she realized that he knew that he had better keep things on good terms, or it would cost him in the long run.
Over the next few weeks Nancy filed for divorce. She didn’t see as much of Carl as she had previously, but now their time together was different. They were dating. The red and black glasses had never been quite right after Mitch had knocked them off her face, so Carl took Nancy for a new eye examination, and bought her another pretty pair of black framed glasses with blue accents in her new, slightly stronger prescription. Nancy asked Carl if she should get new contact lenses as well, but Carl told her not to waste her money.
A few months after the divorce was final Nancy and Carl were married. Nancy thought it was wonderful living with Carl. He would clean her glasses for her every morning before he placed them on her face. Carl wanted her to wear her glasses when they had sex, and Nancy liked this, because it meant that she could see the expression of pleasure on Carl’s face.
Nancy gave Carl the son that Mitch had wanted. Mitch still dropped by to visit his daughters, and Nancy was pleased about this. She had wondered if Mitch would stop seeing the girls when they both got glasses at the same time, but if he had a problem with the girls wearing glasses he kept it to himself.
The only problem Nancy had was with Carl. Carl couldn’t stop himself from buying Nancy new glasses. They had only been married 6 months when Carl insisted that Nancy have another eye exam. Sure enough, Nancy needed a slight increase, and Carl bought her new glasses. Then he had new lenses put into her other glasses so she had 2 pairs to choose from. Nancy couldn’t argue that it hadn’t been nice to have a choice between 2 pairs of –19.00D glasses. After all, since she quit wearing contact lenses she really needed to have a spare pair. But, when Carl took her back to the eye doctor in another 6 months, and Nancy saw that her prescription had jumped to –19.50D she was a little surprised when Carl had the lenses changed in the other 2 pairs. Now she had 3 pairs to choose from.
“What is your plan here honey? Are you going to buy me a pair for every day of the week?” Nancy asked.
“How about a pair for every day of the month? But first your prescription will have to stop climbing sweetheart.” Carl told her.
Finally after Carl had purchased her 6 pairs of glasses, and had brought the prescription of all of her old pairs up to her current –21.00D prescription Nancy put her foot down. Nancy suspected that rushing out to get a new prescription every 6 months had increased her myopia unnecessarily.
“No, I will not go for my 6 month eye exam Carl. I think having my eyes tested, and getting stronger glasses every 6 months is pushing my prescription higher and higher too soon. I’m only 28 years old and I am up to a –21.00D prescription. I can’t go much higher and still be able to see well. I think the girls and I should only go once a year from now on.” Nancy emphatically told Carl one day.
So, Carl backed off, and Nancy and the girls went to once a year eye exams from then on. But it seemed that Nancy still was experiencing prescription increases every year, and by the time she was 30 Nancy was wearing a prescription of –22.50D for both eyes. Carl changed the lenses in all of Nancy’s glasses, and now she had 8 pairs. Carl built a special display stand out of mirrored plastic, with holes for the temples to go through, and plastic pegs for the nose to rest on. The look of the glasses through the mirrored plastic was quite something. Some pairs were high index plastic, 3 pairs were myodiscs. Nancy had her favorite pairs to wear around during the day, but she switched to a different pair every evening to greet Carl at the door. And, unbeknown to Carl, Nancy had ordered a special pair of glasses to wear in bed. She requested regular old CR39 plastic for the lenses, and she selected a frame with a fairly large eye size. The temples were hinged well back from the face of the frame, and these glasses were extremely thick, Carl loved them from the first time he saw Nancy wearing them, and the signal that Nancy was in the mood was that she would put these glasses on while they were sitting around in the evening. Carl never failed to pick up on the signal.