The moment I was able to see the world again, all I saw was darkness.
Funny just how this irony wrapped my whole life. My friends say that I am so lucky, because not many people are given another chance to see the wonder of this world. But they don’t understand. And they never will.
It’s been more than two years since Clarence came into my life. He was this annoying prig who managed to capture my heart in just a glance. He gave meaning and color to my once dull and drab world. And I could say that I have been happier in the years that we were together compared to the years before he came into my life. Was it love? Maybe. Most probably. Yes.
Clarence loved capturing things – literary. He had a vintage camera that he always brought with him wherever we go. He’d capture a couple of trees and make them look like they were declaring love for each other. He’d capture the flowers and make them look like they were celebrating a birthday. He’d capture me – smiling, brows furrowed, sleeping even.
“You’re my most favorite subject to capture, Elise. Because your face brings a lot of emotions. Especially your eyes. I love them,” he once said.
I smiled and then I said. “You know why?” I went closer to him and touched his face. From his furry eyebrows to his adorable long lashes, his soulful eyes, long nose and supple lips. “This face make me feel all the emotions known to human – bliss, hope, love, triumph…” I continued touching his face and rested my palm on his cheek.
“I love you,” he whispered.
“And I love you more,” I whispered back.
We were always like that. Whenever I was with him, the moments felt like forever. The moments were endless.
Then something happened that changed my life forever.
Ever since I met Clarence, his photo obsession somehow brushed off on me, and so I was always invited to some photo-shoots for a website that one of my friends, Carol, was maintaining. And so went out of town, to where there are a lot of spots perfect for photo-shooting. Carol and I were both so excited about it, and we had a blast.
It was almost midnight when we drove back to town. We were both exhausted, but quite fulfilled. And since there were really no cars in sight, Carol just maintained a steady speed. I was dozing off. I bet Carol was too.
Because she didn’t notice the truck coming.
And before we both knew it, there was a sickening crash of metals, and a blinding light.
And then nothing.
When I came back to my senses, I felt someone’s hand clasped in mine. I knew it was Clarence’s, but I cannot see him.
“Clarence?” I called out.
“Yes, Elise. I’m here,” he whispered.
Panic rushed through me. I can feel him being with me, but I couldn’t see him. In fact, I couldn’t see anything. The only thing I saw was darkness.
I cried so hard when the doctor explained to me what happened. He said there were little shards of glass which managed to go through my eyes and damaged my irises. He said, I would still be able to see, but I would need a donor.
Clarence held me the whole time the doctor explained this to me. When I heard the door shut, meaning the doctor had finally left, Clarence held me as tight as he could.
“You’ll get through this. We will. I will never leave you,” he said. I didn’t know if I would cry or smile or be hopeful. I went physically blind, yet Clarence stayed with me. He took care of me, never allowing me to cross the room without him holding me, or supporting me.
Until the day came that we were waiting for. A good news has finally arrived.
They have finally found a donor for me. I didn’t get excited at first.
What if the operation failed? What if they find out that it can no longer be done and I’ll be a blind forever? But Clarence chased away my fears by his eternal words.
“Everything will be alright.”
Right before I went to the operating room, he went to me and whispered the same exact words. I had to smile now. He never left me for even one moment.
I ran my fingers through his face, just like I used to do, memorizing every curve and crease and edge of his face, the face of the man that had become my salvation here on earth.
“This is the face that I would like to see the first time my eyes open again,” I said. He kissed me on the forehead as I was wheeled away from him.
The day my bandages were about to be taken off, all of my family members and some dear friends were there, including Carol. No one was holding me, and I can’t even hear Clarence in the background. Maybe he was about to surprise me.
Slowly, I opened up my seemingly heavy eyelids. As my lashes fluttered, I looked around the room.
“Where’s Clarence?” were the words I said.
They just looked at each other and shrugged. My mom sat on the edge of my bed smiling.
“He just went out for some errands,” she said.
Whatever that errand Clarence took care of, it never let him come back to me.
It has been eight months since the first time my eyes were opened once again, but I can no longer find the color that has once been there. The color that I started to see when Clarence entered into my life.
Now I am here, at the park where we used to go and take pictures. As I walked through the grassy path, I thought of Clarence, his beautiful face and his soulful eyes.
At times when I look at the mirror, I can see him looking back at me. His words were still clear in my head, like he just whispered them to me this morning.
“Everything will be alright.”
But it was all a lie. How can I be alright when he’s nowhere beside me? How can everything be alright when he left me?
I continued to walk until I reached those trees that Clarence used to take pictures of. The two trees which appeared to be two people giving a vow of forever to each other in his camera. I walked closer to them, and I saw a man sitting under one of them.
My heart pounded. I knew that face. I’ve memorized its lines and curves. I walked closer to him, and noticed the unfamiliar blank expression in his eyes.
I wanted to be angry with him. I wanted to make him feel my pain too. The pain of being left alone, the pain of expecting for someone who never came, the pain of being lied to.
I took my steps closer to him. His face was still the same, but there was something odd and totally wrong in the way he looked at a distance.
I could hardly believe what I’m seeing. This is the man I loved. My Clarence. What ever happened to him when he left me? Then it hit me. The way I feel like he’s looking back at me when I look in the mirror. The way his eyes looked blank and lifeless.
Silent tears fell from me, as I reached out to touch his face again. I ran my fingers through every line, every crease, every edge – places I’ve learned to memorize during the last days when he should be the one memorizing mine.
“Elise…” was the only word he said, still looking far in the distance.