I rummaged through my handbag and dug out my old sunglasses. Looking at them closely I could see all the tiny scratches and signs of wear and tear on them. I haven't used them in years, it's a wonder I never threw them out in the first place. I quickly crammed my glasses onto my face, poking the insides of my ears and tangling my hair in the process.

The difference was incredible. I no longer squinted my eyes to shield my pupils from the harsh blinding light of the sun. Everything looked clearer, and somewhat paradoxically, brighter and more vivid.

My first instinct was to gaze up at the sky. The sun was so bright that everything, ground and sky, seemed a bright white but now with these sunglasses on I could see how brilliantly blue the sky was. I took a moment to marvel at the formation of the clouds, and if I looked hard enough I could even see the greyed shadows in parts that were a bit denser than others. My eyes scanned the sky and I noticed small wisps of cloud drifting in between the larger formations. It was a fine, sunny day, and yet if I looked long enough, I could see the clouds moving, the smaller wisps moving ever so slightly faster than the larger clouds. It was as if these wisps were small children chasing after their parents, reaching out their tendrils as if wanting to hold their parents' hands.

I spent a few moments wondering how big those clouds would be. They looked small enough for me to wrap my hands around, but they were thousands of metres away. I wondered how big the sky was, and how much further beyond that you'd have to go to reach the sun, a mere dot that I could blot out with my hand. Remembering that I was heading out to buy some milk, everything suddenly seemed so very small.

I kept walking, this time a bit faster. It was easier to see where I was going without the ground reflecting the bright sunlight.

I felt the sun's warmth on my skin, and smiled at what a beautiful day it was.

I passed by a low-hanging branch, and stopped to admire its leaves. There was nothing particularly unique about these leaves, but they looked so green and bright that if the tree wasn't coming out of the ground itself, I would have thought the leaves were fake.

I reached out with my hands and touched the leaves. I could feel the smooth, glossy surface with my thumb, and the coarse, gritty underside with my index and third fingers. I closed my eyes and I could feel even more: the small specks of dirt or imperfections in the leaf, the individual veins pumping this leaf with all the nutrients it needed to maintain its deep green lustre, the jagged edges that seemed so round and perfect when I first saw the leaf.

I opened my eyes. Now I could see everything I felt: the specks of dirt, the veins, the jagged edges. It's funny how little we see with our eyes.

I looked above once more to the tree and took in a deep, slow breath as I tried to examine each leaf in turn. There were too many, but I noticed how the sunlight almost seemed to shimmer through the gaps in between the leaves, and how some leaves looked darker than others depending on how I tilted my head.

I laughed to myself at how spoilt I was. I felt a giddiness take over me and I looked around me. Everything around me screamed normality: the normal houses, with their typical lawns and ordinary trees. The sky was a standard blue sky, and the sun shone plainly through it.

Yet, this was not normal.

This was not my normal.

For years I had been living in darkness. Relying on my senses of touch, smell, and hearing to grope my way through the world. I spent years learning how things felt. I ended up forgetting what the world even looked like, and I would only get brief reminders through dreams. Or, rather, the small bits of dreams that I was lucky enough to clutch on to, when everything else vanished and was forgotten the moment of waking.

This colour was new to me. I hadn't seen colour since many years before I went blind. And even after the operation that helped me regain my sight, I had to be kept inside with the curtains shut to avoid the sun's light damaging my new retinas.

Finally, I worked up the ability to stare outside my window at our back garden without my eyes hurting too much.

Running out of milk was a convenient excuse for me to step outside.

I kept walking. I smiled at a neighbour pruning a hedge, as he lifted a gloved hand and smiled at me.

"Nice day for a stroll, hey?" He called out to me.

I let out a small laugh, and I felt my eyes strain a bit as tears started filling them up.

"It's a lovely day," I replied.

I walked past a park full of new mothers pushing their prams or playing with their children in the playground. I heard their screams of joy as they tried to run up the slide but ended up tripping over and falling down the slide instead. I saw dogs run after tennis balls, and I couldn't help but notice their wagging tails and lolling tongues. I saw joggers struggling as their sweat-drenched shirts clung to their bodies. I saw birds circling the water fountains.

I saw things I never would have noticed if I were relying on my touch, my smell, and my hearing.

I kept walking towards the shops.

I descended the flight of stairs slowly. There were only a few steps, and I knew how to walk down them if I closed my eyes, but my eyes were not used to the uniformed lines and quick depth changes, so I took it slow.

I arrived at the entrance to the corner store.

The door said "PUSH" so I pushed it open. I walked past the aisles, and saw a sign above aisle two:




I walked past the breads, and I walked past the jams and spreads. At the very end of the aisle, I opened the refrigerator door and pulled out a bottle. I held it in my hand, and saw that the label clearly said:



I told myself I would never take my eyes for granted, ever again.

March 04, 2020 04:43

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14:02 Mar 19, 2020

I love the sentiment of this story and the little details you infuse. The wisp of clouds, the leaves on the tree, the park and the people in it. There are places your sentence structure could be a little tighter. A little more active. For example: "My first instinct was to gaze up at the sky" could be tightened and then expanded. "My eyes instinctually darted towards the ((sky descriptors here)). My favorite writing advice is where can you turn your linking verbs into action verbs. Hope that helps!


Chloe Lim
22:09 Mar 19, 2020

Ah thanks so much! I have hear about the active vs passive voice and it always goes out of my brain once I start writing. That's a great example you gave, thanks for the advice :)


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