Sitting in the plush theater seats, my friend informs me,
“There’s a girl with a cane over there.” And now that I know,
I can’t help but hear the determined tapping as she walks
down the poorly-planned aisle stair. At first I ignore her,
convinced I don’t care, and then I begin to theorize. What
is her story? Where is she from? I crave the details of her life.
The thought of her plagues me all through the concert,
surfacing during preludes and rags. I can’t stop the wondering,
hoping I’ll meet her—we’ll connect! And revel in some
great narrative exchange. I’ll learn how she lives a full
successful life; she’ll give me tips on how to exist. We will
resonate and complete some part of each other.
And then I meet her and all my dreams are dashed. She
lives in a world of clinical questions and medical glossaries.
She talks diagnosis and she talks loss—”What did you do
before you lost your sight?” I want to tell her, I was in the womb,
baby. I was swirling around, kicking my tiny infant feet,
driving my mama crazy. I’ve never known that world of
darkness that you’re drawing on my space.
I think – I wish – I hadn’t met the other blind girl. She brought
me down and made me think – there’s not just one of her.
If she’s not before me, she’s inside me, mocking what I’ve been.
She’s the phantom in the corner, the darkness in the darkness—
holding a mirror up to me and sneering, “That cane, those shades,
they’re all others see.” I’ve got to keep her quiet, because I’ve got
to believe — she won’t be right unless I let her win.