Saturday, December 20, 2008
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
I had an eye test last week when I was in Ireland, after which it was determined that my sight had significantly improved; partially fulfilling, I suppose, the prophecy of the doctor who told me when I was seven that by the time I turned forty I might not need glasses anymore.
During the procedure I was forced to gaze at my examiner, a pleasant, bespectacled fellow about my age, and he of course was equally obliged to focus on me.
There was something about his face, his head, his hair and his general appearance that unsettled me far more than the actual test did- and having air puffed into one's eyes and having a beam of brilliant light poured onto one's pupils ought to be sufficiently challenging.
Most disconcerting of all, to judge by his baffled expression he seemed somehow to be struck by the same peculiar thought about me; and as neither of us could look elsewhere for the duration, it was an odd encounter.
When the test was finished he left the room. I wiped my watering eye sockets and gathered my belongings.
I met Mater a few moments later and we exited the building after I carefully ensured with the receptionist that my new prescription would be available soon.
Only when we were outside did I notice Mater's own eyes, alight with curiosity and the same bewilderment I had witnessed earlier in my examiner.
"When you came out of the room," Mater gushed, "it was you, but then I saw it wasn't you. Then I looked again and you were wearing a suit and tie. But it wasn't you. The picture was all wrong."
I was aghast.
"Didn't you see it?" she asked. "The hair, the face, the eyes?"
She shivered, remembering.
To my great alarm, I found I understood exactly what Mater meant; and as I shivered a little myself I wondered if the identical other was trembling too.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 10:43 AM