Through Another’s Eyes
Fear pulsed through Jackson’s body. Please dear God don’t let me die. Please dear God let me see. He repeated this desperate prayer in his mind as the nurses pushed his gurney along the hospital’s corridors. The distance from his room to surgery seemed that of the Sahara. The overhead lights as bright and piercing as the desert sun. Please dear God don’t let me die. Please dear God let me see.
He was the first patient to have this new innovative eye-surgery; the first human that is. But Jackson wasn’t comforted by the successful eye transplants performed on cats and dogs. No it wasn’t the successful trials or proven studies that led him to Dr. Wright. It was desperation, hope, a last resort. Jackson would be blind in three months. The victim of a degenerative eye disease. Blindness terrified him. Darkness terrified him. He had no desire to relearn how to live in the world. He desired only for what he knew, what he had always known. Please dear God don’t let me die. Please dear God let me see.
“Jackson, how’re you feeling?” Dr. Wright spoke calmly, expertly. “Don’t be scared, now, just relax.” Dr. Wright covered Jackson’s nose and mouth with what looked like a jock’s crotch cup. “There you are.” He said, tightening the straps. “Now just breathe and count backwards from one hundred.” Jackson nodded. Please dear God don’tÃ¢Â?Â¦
Jackson lost all feeling. He fell into a world of dreams. A world deep with in his own mind, unaware of everything and everyone outside of him. For a while he was alone in this world. Exploring, running, jumping, leaping, and then as he began to cross a purple river he saw that he was not a lone. There was another. A man, a bit older than he, but the same build. The two could have been brothers if not for the color of their skin. One white, one black. They helped each other wade across the turbulent purple river. Jackson climbed up the riverbank and reached the orange meadow. He turned to the man, unsure which way to go. But the man was gone. Jackson as again alone. HE turned and turned looking in all directions for his new friend. Turning and looking until he was spinning. Spinning and twirling. Spinning and twirling. Spinning andÃ¢Â?Â¦Jackson fell to the ground exhausted. Vomiting from nausea. The bitter taste of bile pulled him like a passenger on a train slowly out of the world within himself and back into the world of men.
Pain, confusion, trepidation surrounded him, charged through him. “Jackson? Jackson, how are you feeling?” Whose voice? Disoriented. Whose touch? Nausea. “Jackson, it’s Dr. Wright. The surgery was flawless.” Dr. WrightÃ¢Â?Â¦Dr. WrightÃ¢Â?Â¦.SurgeryÃ¢Â?Â¦Dr. WrightÃ¢Â?Â¦
Slowly the fog released his mind. Please dear God don’t let me be dead. Please dear God let me see. “No you’re not dead” Dr. Wright assured him. “You will be nauseous for a few days, a bit weak, perhaps disoriented. And the bandages should stay on for two days.” Two days. Bandages. “But after that, you’ll be better than new.” Two days. Better than new.
Two days of gauzy darkness. Jackson wondered if this was how being blind felt. Aware and unaware at the same time. Afraid of what you used to trust, and trusting those you do not know.
At night, or was it day? When he slept he tried to dream of the man in the purple river. His almost twin. Was it God? Was it God who helped him across the river? Jackson tried to sleep deeply enough to find the man again. But he was gone. That world was gone. The only man Jackson ever saw was himself, staring back at him.
“Well, shall we?” The two days had passed. Dr. Wright was there to remove the bandages. Jackson sat up in the bed. Feeling the coolness of open air he blinked. Dr. Wright looked into his eyes, closely. Examining their every particle. He smiled. A mirror was placed in Jackson’s hand and he held it up to his face. Jackson could see but was scared of what he saw. In the mirror he saw the man from the purple river. Jackson looked again. His reflection was not his own. Jackson blinked and blinked and stared and fought to see himself, but all he could see was the man. His almost twin. The man from the purple river.
“The new eyes will take some getting used to, but your sight is fully restored. Congratulations Jackson. Now get some sleep and rest those eyes.” Eyes. New eyes. New sight. Seeing different. Seeing new. It came to him, the truth. Cold and hard it came to him in his sleep. I am the man now. The man is gone. It was his eyes. His eyes are now mine and I see what he saw. I will forever see the world as he saw the world. But how will the world see me? Tossing, fitfully in his sleep. Wrestling with the truth, his new existences. Sweaty he woke. He climbed out of bed. Rushing down the halls for someone, anyone, everyone. Asking all he passed, “What do you see? Do you see me? What do you see?”
“What do you see Jackson?” his therapist’s voice was smooth and articulate; that of an educated and refined woman.
“I see age. I see wrongs, injustice. I see regrets things he never did. He thought there was enough time. I see his failures and temptations. Pain he caused, pain he suffered. My mind is still my own. I know these are not mine. But I see them as though they were. Everyone stares at me. I get tired of their stares. I see his world. My world now. I live with his regrets but my time has become his time. And soon I will make right the burdens we now share.