The Blue-Eyed Man
His entire life was set out before his eyes. Everything was perfectly choreographed and so beautifully written in black and white that others referred to it as being etched into stone. Instead of making daily choices that could jeopardize his future, everything was already conveniently planned out at the mere age of twelve when both parents died. The perfect organization wasn't necessarily a bad thing–they often gave comfort and security on days when setbacks happened. On more serene days, however, he wished that things could be a little more slack.
The clock tower hand struck and bells rang thirteen. The soft music caused a fairly young man to put down the coiled notebook he had been writing in and break away from his desk to stretch his legs. In a swift movement, he took his dark framed glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Doing so always got rid of some of the stress he felt. When he felt a little better, he put the glasses back on and looked out his office window. He felt the upmost tranquility as he watched the world pass at the same pace it did everyday.
"It's time to go." He told himself as he grabbed his leather briefcase and headed for the door.
In less than five minutes, he sat at the head of a long mahogany table along with fifteen other men. Sunlight poured through the many windows of the room making the expensive lights installed in the ceiling the autumn before seem overrated.
"Always precisely on time." An older than usual man complimented the way he did every week. It had become a routine for more than five years now.
"I tend to be." He replied casually while going through a series of papers.
The meeting held that morning was the same as any other. A complete mirror image of last week's meeting to be exact. It consisted of the typical, I want these reports on my desk by Monday and Keep up the good work. Nobody complained about the routine. After all, it was merely clockwork compared to other companies. Nothing changed and that was the way everyone liked it.
"Will you be leaving?" A woman of her late twenties asked. Her long blonde hair was tried fashionably into a braid that sat across her left shoulder while her eyes watched him. When she received no reply automatically, she pushed her gold-framed glasses to the furthest ridge on her nose and waited.
"Yes. I'll be back, however." He replied stoically as he packed the files into his briefcase alphabetically. Wrinkles formed slightly on his forehead and he tried to imagine why she would ask him such a trivial question. Everyone in the company from CEO to cleaning staff knew that on the first day of every month he had to leave work for an hour or so. "Thank you for your hard work Mrs.Yamanaka. You're fired."
His mind was scrambled with worry by the time he reached the elevator. The loss of the secretary that had been working for him for two weeks had created the type of unexpected setback he hated. Where could be possibly find a secretary by the next day on such short notice? Why couldn't he find a secretary that didn't ask him questions that had obvious answers? He noted that now, of all times, probably would not have been the proper time to be thinking of such things. Right now he had other things to worry about.
He waited until he was alone in his car before he
began to think more in depth. Despite the company knowing every morbid
detail about his life, there was one secret he was keeping from
everyone. He couldn't afford telling even his best friend what it was
even if he had one.
The only exception he made was with his fiancee.
His fiancee wasn't of his choosing, but the decision of the corporation. Ever since he had become heir to the company after both parents died, a marriage meeting was arranged to be held when he turned twenty and by the time he turned twenty-five, he was to be wed to the woman who was seen as fit.
Only she knew his eyesight was leaving him.
"I'm too young to be going blind." He'd tell her sometimes at four in the morning. His mind would prevent him from sleeping and he often woke her up, even though he knew the out come of that.
"You won't go blind." She would say in an attempt to comfort him. Her reply was so constant and typical that it didn't effect him in the slightest. It merely became a routine similar to his work. Hell, even his eyesight was disintegrating at a certain rate.
"The optometrist told me I don't have much time." He would answer in a monotone voice. He waited two seconds before the usual question came from her lips.
"What are you so afraid of?"
At first, the question took him by complete surprise and he decided to pretend he didn't hear what she said. "What?"
And like clockwork, she would tell him, "Nothing."
He drove in silence as he watched the conversation happen again in his mind. He watched what seemed to be a black and white movie replay over and over again and had seen it hundreds of times. Each time was no different from any other; the words didn't change in the slightest.
After searching for a parking space for quite a while, he found a one in a downtown basement building. He closed his eyes to relax, then opened them after emitting a sigh. He then opened his car door and began to walk briskly towards his optometrists. The walk wasn't more than two blocks away, but to him it seemed like four. The noise of people gave him a headache and irritated him to no end.
How could people live their lives without an outline? He wondered bitingly. How could they get by a day without having anything planned ahead of time?
When he reached the optometrist's he pulled open the glass door in a swift movement and went inside. The interior of the store was still the same from last month; displays of glasses from left to right, the lighting not to dim or too bright.
"How may I help you?" A more cheerful-than-usual voice asked, interrupting the analysis he did every month.
He strolled towards the front desk and a hand down. "I'm here to pick up my new prescription."
"Name?" the man behind the counter asked innocently.
His eyes narrowed and he leaned his face in, "You're new here, aren't you?" His onyx eyes held a threatening gaze and he stared deep into the other man's blue eyes.
"Yes," the blonde replied calmly.
"I'd like to see the manager."
Without pressing on in the argument, the blonde left to the backroom and in a few seconds, the manager came out. He looked the exact same from last month and he felt instantly relieved. Finally things were getting back to normal.
The moment manager rested eyes on him, he apologized panic-stricken and rushed off to get the new prescription. In response, he merely tipped his glasses to the blonde and watched as he gave him a questioning look.
"So you're the one that always comes here every month?" the blonde asked quietly. He kept a good distance from what he thought was a frightening man.
He looked away and swatted some imaginary hair from his eyes. "Yeah."
"Do you mind if I ask why?"
He froze when he heard the question and the second it took to recover seemed like an eternity. His eyes watched the completely different blue eyes. He didn't know why, but he felt compelled to tell him. He could regret it later. Maybe it was the power of his bright blue eyes.
"I'm going blind."
The silence between them was heavy and both waited for the other to say something. Nothing was said until the manager came back with the new prescription in a look-alike case.
"Maybe in another life we would've been friends." He mocked before he took a step to leave the store.
Time passed and every first day of the past three months he would return to visit the blonde. Although he wasn't sure why, he came to the conclusion that it was the carefree innocence that attracted him. It was something that he never had, or had lost long ago. Of course, he also returned to the optometrist to acquire the new prescription.
Sometimes they would meet at night to talk when the other felt like saying something. He found the blonde's views to be refreshing and completely different from his own and felt himself conforming to think that way.
He began to see the world from his eyes and felt comfort and a sense of security as he talked to him. He shared stories and told things that no one else knew. Even his fiancee.
The blue-eyed man was the only person that knew he didn't have much time to live.
"Do you ever get scared...of dying?" He asked once.
Although the question made him uncomfortable, he couldn't bring himself to look away. If he was going to go blind, then he might as well have watched and taken in everything he could have.
"No," he replied quietly. His voice was so hushed that it was almost hard to make out what he was saying. "I'm not afraid of dying, I'm more afraid of going blind." "Why are you more afraid of going blind?"
"Why are you more afraid of going blind?"He asked in a light tone. The question he never had an answer for was once again asked.
He hesitated for a moment, then looked to the sky. "I used to think that I was afraid of not being able to work. I was afraid that everything would become hectic and I wouldn't be able to live my life how I used to. Now, I think that I'm afraid of not being able to see you. I won't be able to sit out here and enjoy talking to you while looking at the stars like this."
"Maybe in another life, we'll still be friends." He tried to assure him with a smile. His bright blue eyes shone at him and sparkled in the moonlight and made him seem heaven-sent.
A month after that moment, he was blind.
"I'm still here." He said to comfort him. His hand rested on his and although they were sitting together, they seemed miles apart.
"I can't see you anymore," he said. "I won't be able to tell if you're still with me. I can't tell if I'm alone." He couldn't tell if his vision had blurred, but he felt the tears trail down his cheeks.
A week later, the option of surgery was brought to his attention. Surgery had always been an option, but an eye donor would have been necessary. To complicate things, they couldn't take the cornea of an already dead person.
"If the surgery next week goes well, your eyesight will come back." His fiancee said as they ate dinner at their kitchen table. "Wouldn't that be a good thing?"
"Yes." He replied nonchalantly. He deemed the operation worth the price at one last look at heaven.
The surgery underwent was successful and his vision had been restored. Three weeks slowly passed and each day his fiancee was at his side. She kept him company when he was feeling lonely when no one else was there. Even the blonde-haired man. She came an hour early on the day the bandages were to be removed.
"Is he here?" He asked as he lay in the hospital bed. He felt the presence of at least two other people with him. The one, he assumed, that was holding his hand was his fiancee.
She paused then answered, "He said he couldn't make it. You know, something came up."
The first bandage fell off with a snip and the
darkness became brighter. His heart beat like a drum as he realized
that he would be able to see the man's comforting blond hair and blue
eyes in only a few more days after waiting for such a long time.
When the last bandage fell, the world came into view.
He watched his fiancee and recognized when a look of relief spread across her face. A single tear streamed down her face and he couldn't tell if it was from joy or fear.
"Can you see me?" She asked. The hope in her voice was easily detected, but he wondered why she would care. Their engagement meant nothing and both of them knew that.
He nodded and watched as the doctor pulled a mirror from his pocket. She withdrew her hand from his and backed away as the doctor handed it to him upside down.
He took the mirror from the doctor and slowly angled it towards his face. The blinding lights of the hospital shown on his face and caused his eyes to squint. The moment the ways were gone, he was able to see himself.
His eyes were blue.
Instantly, he felt his heart drop into his stomach. His eyes widened and he changed his gaze to his fiancee immediately, hoping it wasn't what he thought it was. He watched in much horror as she began to cry. Even the doctor wore a solemn expression.
"He said he couldn't make it. You know, something came up."
"That's a lie...He just couldn't make it, right?" His fists clenched the mirror and his entire body began to tremble as he waited for an answer.
His fiancee wiped the tears from her eyes and tried to speak. "Honey, he..."
He threw the mirror to the ground causing it to shatter into a million shards. He felt just as broken as it as he shut his eyes and screamed. "He wouldn't kill himself like that, right?"
"He loved you, you know..." the manager said.
"I know that."
"He said you were afraid of being blind and if that was the case, he wanted you to be able to see again. He wanted you to see the world from his eyes."
He died from eye cancer less than a year later. Even though the surgery was successful, the cancer had spread into his body. Since he had no relatives, everything he acquired in life was given to his fiancee. She's having a hard time coping, but she'll persevere.
Everything she inherited from him is set out before her eyes and she enjoys the outlines she has to follow. Although on more serene days when the sky is an elegant blue and the clock tower bells ring thirteen, she breaks away from her desk to stretch her legs and to perhaps pay a visit to them.