“You did it!” – Mary exclaimed and hugged me tightly as I inserted the last piece into its place.
I smiled, slightly uncomfortable with her enthusiasm. After all, Mary would never be able to comprehend what that accomplishment meant to me.
“Excuse me for a moment” – I said to her and quickly retreated into my room to process things.
As I closed the door behind me, I held my breath and pinched my arm just to make sure I was not dreaming. Since I did not wake up in bed after that, I proceeded to sit down at my desk. Next, I powered on the computer and listened to the soft hum of the computer fan that filled the room. Waiting for the computer to boot up, I tapped my fingers against the wooden desk.
Tap, tap, tap…
While the computer searched for the journal entry from December 31st of last year, my right leg started bouncing up and down, adding to the orchestra comprised of the computer fan and my fingers. Since the file was found within seconds, I thought that my limbs were going to relax. Instead, they stiffened, paralyzed by a cocktail of fear and excitement when a familiar, yet strange-sounding voice came through the speakers.
“Does it sound more or less mature than now?” – I wondered to myself, unable to decide.
Scientists say that it’s normal not to like your own voice or to think that it sounds weird. To me, the man from the recording seemed somewhat less experienced, but I might have been slightly biased, given my latest achievement. The majority of the monologue was a reflection on the prior year, so I skipped ahead because it was not what I was looking for.
“Ah, here it is” – I said to myself when I heard my past self announce that it was time for New Year’s resolutions.
“Build a Lego City next year” – I could be heard saying in an excited tone.
That was the part I was looking for. Even though I was hopeful about achieving that goal back then, I could also hear a tinge of doubt in my recorded voice. Building a complex Lego structure had been on my bucket list ever since I was a kid, but it was only last year that I finally decided to commit to crossing it off that list.
I rewinded the recording a couple of times. Every time I heard the New Year’s resolution, my heart beat as fast as it did the first time.
“Build a Lego City…”
This year, at the age of 35, I was finally able to make it happen. I have accomplished my oldest of dreams. For a moment, I sat tall in my chair, listening to the humming of the fan, trying to grasp the gravity of the situation.
“This is HUGE!” – I thought to myself.
With a sense of utmost pride, I stood up, grabbed my white cane and walked back into the living room.
“Would you like to go on a celebratory walk?” – I asked Mary in hopes that she would forgive my antics from earlier.
I imagine she smiled at me gently.
She handed me my jacket and grabbed my arm.
“Let’s go” – she said, leading me out the door.
We walked in silence for a while.
“Thank you” – I finally said to Mary.
She did not say a word. Instead, she cupped my hand with hers.
“They want to do an interview with you” – Mary announced quietly.
She knew that I did not like publicity. All I ever wanted was to lead a normal life and for people to see past the “blind” label. But she managed to convince me. The mention of potentially helping others like me was all that I needed to hear to agree to that press interview.
Kevin Wolf is a bit of a late bloomer. Unable to play with LEGOs as a kid, only now, at the age of 35, was he finally able to use Lego City to construct a series of buildings.
What you might not know about Kevin is that he was born blind and missed out on many things able people take for granted every single day. He could not look at the box to see how the building should look. Nor could he read the instructions for the construction.
However, just this past month, Kevin achieved the impossible – he built a city block with the help of his girlfriend – Mary. She had been his cheerleader for over three years. It was her that reached out to LEGO’s headquarters to request instructions in Braille. Shocked to hear that nothing like that had ever been developed, she volunteered her services to help create a manual for the blind, so that they, too, could build LEGOs.
Kevin and Mary are currently working with LEGO, trying to bring the joy of toys to every kid.
I put down the magazine, turned towards Mary, and got down on one knee.
“Will you marry me now?” – I asked in a trembling voice.
“Why ‘now?’ I would have married you years ago” – Mary replied with curiosity.
“Because I finally do not think of myself as less of a human” – I said, surprised at the words that came out of my mouth.
“For the longest of times, I have been lying to myself. I blamed others for slapping the ‘blind’ label on me and for not treating me as they would treat those whose eyes work as intended. This whole time I have been hiding behind these people in sweet denial. Only recently, I recently realized that what hurt the most was not them, but me holding tightly to the ‘blind’ label” – I added.
“I am ready to let go off it now, and I would like you to join me on this beautiful journey called life” – I concluded.
Mary squeezed my hands as she usually did when she got emotional.
“Yes” – Mary replied and hugged me tightly.
This time, I hugged her back.