Through the eyes and wings of love
Through The Eyes And Wings Of Love
Some roads a man must travel alone. The road of incurable eye diseases was one of those. John recalled that, thinking upon Joseph Frosts', "The road not taken", as his doctor consoled him. Few words the doc uttered ever made any sense, but it was more due to the fact that he was utterly destroyed; a wreck of human flesh.
The doctor told John he had three years tops.
To see the world.
After that day, John tried to live his life normally, to think that his physician was wrong; that a mistake had been made. Two months after that, it started. Oh, it was certainly slow in onset, giving him warning of the diseases' progress. His eyes blurred some days, not alot, just enough that he could tell that something was definitely wrong. His entire field of vision looked like a fish-eye lens at times, others, everything looked like colorful moving blobs. For now, these weren't permanent, and his vision usually corrected within the day, but by the time he had worked for half a year, the blurring stayed with him longer, the corrections fewer between.
John could no longer work.
Whenever he had his eyes back perfect, he would race for the computer, cramming as many images into his head as he could, hoping these would ease the horror of his situation, when his sight finally left him behind. John couldn't imagine being blind for the rest of his life.
But he was quickly learning.
Soon, he'd need to learn Braille and how to use a cane.
He denied the truth. He shit on it.
John was listening to music in his home. With blurry vision, that was about all he was good for. The doctor called him. John hoped the doctor made a mistake or had a cure for his difficulty. He had a taxi take him to the clinic, his heart beating with excitement. This was it; there was something he could do!
Inside the office, he smelled peroxide, bleach, and new paper rolled over the examination bench. Farther away, he heard someone on the other side of a window throw a plastic garbage bag full of glass vials into the back of a truck, the truck was still running with the loud distinctive diesel engine, the driver probably impatient to go to the next medical refuge site.
"John, here, sit over here." The doctor grabbed his arm, sat him in a fabric upholstered chair by the door.
John felt the undertone of bad tidings in that voice. He probably wouldn't have noticed if he had the use of his eyes.
"John...I brought you here for some good news among the bad. You're insurance company has agreed to foot the bill for a caretaker-I mean, at least until you can adapt to living without sight."
"FUCK! Caretaker?! I want my fucking eyes!" John screams.
"I understand how you feel, John."
"Up yours! You don't know shit about how I feel!"
A great heaving sigh. A ruffle of the white blob's coat. A jingle of his stethoscope.
"Okay, John. You're right; I don't know. But it's not about what I think you feel. You have to prepare for this disability."
John pointed at the doctor, a blurry image, with a vicious thrust of his finger.
"Fuck you! I'm getting outta here. Maybe someone in Germany or Switzerland can fix this."
He felt the heavy presence of a hand on his shoulder. John shrugged it rudely off, sighing loudly with a vicious grunt of frustration.
"John, you don't need a pipe dream. Let's just get you settled in at home with the aide who will be helping out."
John stood to leave.
"Wait!" The doc has a wrist on his arm, stopping him, as John used one hand to guide himself drunkenly to the open door of the office.
John turns to stare coldly at the doctor, his rheumy white clouded eyes cold, his voice like poison-dripping ice.
"You're not my doctor. You're fired, and no one is welcome at my house who is affiliated with this hospital, or I will call the police."
Pain cascaded through him. Pain of betrayal, hopelessness, and of vulnerability. They felt horrid like a grimy descent into an unused, disgusting smelling well.
The well into hell.
He almost felt useless, and when he lost his eyes completely, he would be afraid. Afraid of what he'd be missing. Afraid of what he'd do if he could not see. He'd kill himself, there was no way around it. I'll die. Let me die. Let me never wake up to a world of darkness and uncertainly.
John managed to get home, using his hand to rub along the surface of the door to find the knob, along the knob to find the keyhole, but when he tried to take out his keys, he was immediately distraught!
As blobs, they looked and felt almost exactly the same!
Through guess, and accident, it took him no less than ten minutes to find the right key for his own house! Then he realized something else; he forgot to get the mail-and on top of that thought; how the fuck was he supposed to READ his mail?!
Bill me in Braille, the newest trend. Fuck.
This realization almost made him break down, right there at the open door of his house. John throws the ring of keys hard against the fence of his house, crashing with a metallic thump to land in the grass, filing clumsily on his knees over the red champagne carpet toward the couch-and his CD player, loaded with some of his favorite songs. Using his arms to lift himself up, he collapsed heavily against the cushions with a muted thump. Something soft jumped into his lap, licking his face, a soft tail continually whacked his wrist with soft furred taps.
"Hey, Sparks. You're the only one welcome in this house. That doctor is a fuck-up. He can't help me; no one fucking can." John replies, holding the little Pomeranian to him, using one hand to lift headphones over his ears, starting the player up easily because he usually used his fingers to feel where the button was, when he was busy working on something else.
The first song that plays was done by Korn, and it makes him cry with it's cruel reverence.
"...I'm so bliiind!...Blind, blind..."
Blind, by Korn.
"...I can see, I can see, I'm going blind..."
"...I can see, I can see, I'm going blind..."
"...I'm Blind...I'm Blind...I'm Blind-"
"I'm BLIND!!!" John roars angrily, taking something from around him randomly, and throws it to shatter against the far wall of his living room.
"I'm BLIND fucking dammit!!!" John screams. The dog whines and shakes in response.
Sparky was a real pussy for a dog, not an aggressive bone in his furred body.
When the next song started, John didn't bother to hesitate, when he turned it up to the loudest setting; Slipknot, My plague (new abuse remix), letting the music fuel his hate, his fury at this hopelessness.
John was in a deep pit, and he fucking hated it.
Suddenly, John cringes in disbelief, as the headphones are suddenly yanked from his head, someone slapping him hard across the face.
"What the fuck are you doing?! You're going to need your ears!" Some woman screams at him, looming over him, a standing white blur.
John rubs his swollen cheek, setting his dog aside gently, before rising to confront this bitch who broke into his house.
"What the fuck are you doing here? Did the hospital send you?" John snarls.
"You're damn right, the hospital sent me!" She snarls back, equally as vicious.
Her perfume wafts over him; Roses, Jasmine, Cinnamon, and something earthy-a little musky-sweet, pungent, almost familiar. Her clothes smell of fabric softener and bleach; she just had that uniform cleaned.
Something rises in him; anger, hatred, something malicious; uncoiling like a viper from a woven basket.
"You are not welcome in my house. Nobody is-except Sparks." John said, motioning toward his dog, now just a golden hair ball of unfocused light to him.
"Well, are you going to call the police?" She wryly mused. There was something cruel about that tone.
"Good idea-except-" John falters, unsure, as he guides his hand around, trying to look for his cell phone.
"What?" She teases petulantly.
"I can't find my phone."
She laughs, going off somewhere, returning, placing something plastic and sharp and jagged in his outstretched palm.
"Here, I think this is it."
John feels along the frayed broken edges incredulously, at the holes where buttons were missing, at pieces of circuit board absurdly chipped off. He was holding a broken pile of shit in his hand.
"There's your cell phone; I think you got carried away in your little tantrum." She mused.
"Tantrum?!" His heart thuds heavily, blood coursing through his ears like drums at the belittlement of his issues.
"Yep. Nothing but a big baby."
"Fuck off!" John snarls, shoving the loud music back over his ears.
She seizes it quickly off his head.
"No more of that, maybe we can get you some Carpenters or Beatles." She scolds.
John lunges at her out of focus form, for his headphones.
"They suck!" John growls viciously.
"Apparently not, considering they still sell CD's." She reasoned.
She had him, there.
"But, that's not my music! I like Korn, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, maybe some Daft Punk or Chemical Brothers!"
"You need to think about preserving your other senses."
"Bullshit! I don't even want to live! Now, get the fuck out of my house, and keep your gay Carpenters and outdated Beatles to yourself, you nosy, domineering, stupid, fucking, BITCH!!!! I don't want your help, I don't need it; go away"
"John, I'll be back. When the dog and darkness are your only friends, I'll be back."
And then she left his life and house as quickly as she had entered, leaving him in the blurry destitute of his fading world; like a reverie of the past he had tried hard to remember but could not succeed at.
She came back a month later, when the dark and the presence of Sparky were all he had left, and he had eaten sparingly, and he had cleaned not at all, and he had not shaved in forever, and he had a loaded gun under the cushion of the sofa he sat upon, and a bottle of whiskey he had paid some neighbor to get for him.
"Jesus! You look horrible!" She stammered out.
John turned his blindfolded eyes toward the sound of her voice, and he could hear her shoulders shiver from the very idea that he looked like the living version of a vampire, with his house in darkness, but not as dark as the shroud over John's soul.
"Thank you. I try not to keep up with appearances when I wanna fucking DIE!!!"
"And you stink! I should help you take a bath!" She declared.
"Why should I care how I smell? I'm not leaving this house! Not, when I can't see jack shit!"
And the very idea of a stranger coming into his house to bathe him made him angry, because it was humiliating, and he was so fiercely proud and independent. He never needed help, not like this!
Perhaps it made him so angry because it revealed how vulnerable he truly was, and to someone he did not know, as well!
"I'm not taking a bath. I don't need one."
"But you smell like a goddamn animal!" She protests.
"So? Who's going to know what I smell like? I'm a hermit, now!"
Hermit! Hah! He was antisocial, irrational, a vicious invalid!
"But, John, you don't have to be."
"What point is there in traveling a world without sight?"
"Sight is the dominant sense, but there are others. Touch, smell, taste, HEARING?"
"Relax, dammit. I haven't listened to anything loud for awhile."
The presence sighs approvingly.
"Good. We can adjust you for travel through a sightless world."
"I'm better off here."
He did not want to say his obvious thought; I'm better off dead.
She grabs the whiskey bottle from his slack hand.
"Alcohol is fun, but it's not supposed to be used as an escape device for problems. It'll destroy you like that."
"Hey!" John demands.
"Relax, if you want some, just ask me. I just don't want you to O'd with a hangover."
John weaves a little heavily side to side, collapsing on the couch, almost to land on poor Sparky.
"Maybe I did have too much."
"That's another thing; when you're blind, it's harder to tell you're drunk."
"And it's harder to care about being sober!" John announces, a stupefied little shrieking laugh following.
He gets back up, his head leaning dizzily a little.
"How do you avoid YOUR problems?"
"I go to a quiet place to meditate. I'm not Buddhist, but I like the principle, and it REALLY does help."
"Meditate. You mean close your eyes and think? I do enough of that shit everyday."
In fact, almost all the time he spends in darkness is done thinking. Thinking of his death and the horror of his lost sight. Soon, he'd forget what anything looks like; fragmented visions of nothing but shit. A handful of shit like his busted cell phone.
"It just isn't fucking fair! I want to see! I want to be a part of the world!" John cries out.
Being surrounded by eternal night was always so lonely. It used to be downright scary as well, until he adjusted. Adjusted to walking around his house without managing to trip over anything or stub his feet on stuff, or fall down the stairs, or sit on the toilet because he couldn't do anymore sharpshooting with his fireman.
"But you are a part of the world. Just because your abilities have diminished somewhat, that does not mean your role has as well."
John elicited a cruel laugh, almost cynical.
"Haha. You should write greeting cards. That sounded cheesy enough to put on a 'get well soon' salutation."
The rage had left him some time ago. That rage that filled him with greater hatred than he'd ever felt in his life. Losing at video games never pissed him off that much. When he was confident in a game, and was killed despite his efforts-whew!-there was a furious violence within him. He would smash his head against his knees, punch his legs, maybe bite the skin of his wrists until he teared up from the pain, panting after such a vicious self-assault. Going blind, it made him want to kill something.
At first it did; now he was subdued, resigned to the hopelessness of his disabled position.
But for the days when his maliciousness surfaced, Sparky did not want to be near his master, and for good reason! When John was pissed off, not even John wanted to hang with John!
"I just might, after I inspire you to live."
"What's that supposed to mean?" She responds, her voice sincere, concerned.
"Here, let me show you."
In a drunk stupor, John takes the revolver from under the couch cushion, waving it sporadically.
"You're too late. I could off myself right here. Why not?"
She screams, all angelic and pretty as he puts the barrel under his chin.
"Jesus!" She exclaimed, disbelieving this scene before her.
"I think I'm gonna have t' bite the bullet on this one." John joked, cocking the hammer after feeling along the cold distant steel of the revolver's chrome chassis.
She goes toward him, but he backs up a little, pulling on the steel of the trigger a little.
"I might be blind, I might be drunk, I might even be depressed, but I am NOT stupid. I can still sense where you are. One of the few benefits of being blind as a bat; you adapt."
"Then I will not approach. I will talk. Heed my words, human, heed them before this decision removes you from all hope, all redemption!"
"What the fuck are you talking about?" John growls, annoyed by this pious sermon.
"You cannot see me, you have not touched me, you are too eager to assume I am like you; human."
"Then what are you?"
"I am the wings of light, the guardian of hope, the angel of the old gods."
"I am the friend to all mankind who have lost hope; lost their way."
"I am the inspiration of the poets, the conveyance of the lovers, the dream of the fanciful and forelorn, the mirage of destiny, the righteous courier of secrets long forgotten."
"In love, John. Please lower the gun. Let me sit by you. Let me embrace like a reunion of old friends."
She truly was insane!
"Fuck that! As soon as I give up the gun, I'll be in an institution faster than I can sneeze! Oh, and YOU belong in a psyche ward, too! I mean, what the fuck? Angel? You never call yourself that on your best day-unless it's Halloween or some shit."
"You think I lie, that I cannot be trusted at my word? I understand. If you saw me, it would be different. But while you think I'm some insane human, how can you trust what I have to say?"
"I don't care if you're a goddamn eight-hundred pound gorilla, you ain't getting my gun!"
"The cold iron of that weapon is not the safety you should seek. Come to me, where the warmness of my flesh, the hotness of my breath will share a tender rapport upon you. The gun is distant, apathetic. It will remove you from the troubles of life, but it will not care for you as I do."
"Can you take me from the discomfort of this world? Can you do for me what the doctor cannot?"
"I cannot lie; neither of those are within my power. But my purpose is to teach you; to help you come to be a part of life once again. You take the road less traveled by, but that does not mean it is the wrong path. I will help you walk this path, for the third one the revolver leads you to-it goes nowhere."
"How do you know?"
"I traveled the third path with a lover many years ago; he called it Meifu Mado, Japanese for the dark road into hell. He lived by the sword, you see, and died by the sword. There is nothing wrong with being a Samurai or Ronin, but what WAS wrong, was that he traveled the path to hell for reasons of revenge, and I, immature with the ways of men, even so many years after I was born, was swayed by this passion and resolve. I followed him as closely as I could, but when he finally reached the pits of the domain for the wicked for his misdeeds, his violent actions in life, I could no longer join his quest, for Meifu Mado is a path one takes by themselves. Your path need not be lonely, for I will be eager to accompany wherever you go."
John sighs, lowering the gun.
"Hell. I thought a life without eyes WAS hell."
"This isn't hell, but you can see it from here."
"Yes I can, and that is a sobering thought. Literally."
She slowly takes the gun from him, drops it to the floor, and seizes him to the pillowy soft hotness of her chest, breath billowing sweetly on his unshaven face like a jubilant rapture of touch; like an angel's kiss.
"It felt horrible. To be alone. To be desperately hopeless."
"Yes." She said, rocking him.
"And it was like a candle in my soul had died in the breeze."
John begins to cry.
That was all she said; all she needed to say, as the blindfold became sodden with his tears, as he tore it from his face, as he felt her body against his; soft and slightly furred like a shaved dog, something on her back ruffled. Feathers. Lots of feathers. Like wings. His cataracted eyes stared in wonder toward the sound of her mouth, towards her face.
"You truly are-an-an-"
"Yes." She continued to gently coo. Like a dove. Like a playful jest of love.
The words died in his mouth when the great wings flapped, gusting wind over his embraced form with the heavenly scent of sun-bleached skin and feathers.
"A guardian angel." He finished.
The woman was strangely silent.
Did he offend her? Did he say something wrong. She shifts slightly, picking him up off his feet, going toward the door. He could never imagine she was this big! The way she had him, she was at least six foot something and built like a bodybuilder!
He hears something on the concrete of the porch; a sound like hollow coconut shells being softly stamped.
"John, it's time to follow your new path. It's time to leave the nest."
The giant wings billow behind, spreading, wind whistling between the gaps of the feathers. The soft velvety warmness of an oddly shaped nose rubs his face affectionately, the woman gives an odd not quite human sound-more like a nicker, as she lifts his body to hers, and flaps her great wings, dust floated to his nose, making him sneeze.
And as he felt her muscles tense, as he felt her leap, as he felt himself held right under her as she glided through the air.
He was flying.
"What is your name, angel? Who rescues me from a pathetic depressing existence? Who now carries me to the heavens so I may touch the clouds? May I know of you, so I can cherish such a title forever?"
She hugs him, rubs her elongated velvety face against his, as the sun warmed his skin, as the breeze tousled his hair playfully, as he felt the weightlessness of flight.
Oh, to the joy of flight! Few men can say they ever knew what it was to truly fly like a bird. And, because he was blind, he was not distracted by an unpleasant view of things hundreds of miles below, did not know to fear heights if he could not see how high he was. Because he was blind, he could fully experience the thing that was flight.
"John, you know my name already, you just don't realize it."
"Remind me angel. Tell me the name I already know."
"Pegasus." She breathes with a teasing whisper of breath into his ear, the very sound of her name sacred.
"Oh, yes. I DO know. How you inspire me with your wings, of greater things than sight alone. How the very smell of you drives hope into the discarded flesh of thy being. How could I ever have forgotten? Carry me, Pegasus. Carry me so high into the heavens that sight will not matter. That I will be so high, depression will never drag me down the well of despair again. Be my eyes. Share my heart. Let us travel my path together."
"Travel the path together, through the eyes and wings of love." She finished, licking John with affection, carrying him farther into the sky than even his dreams dared take him, for the mare Pegasus was beyond the scope of one man's dreams alone.
Dedicated to all those who lose their way among the many paths of life, in hope they will rejoin the world and all things they had come to cherish,