Author's Note: And this is the first piece I've ever written for Covert Affairs, so do keep that in mind, if you please, while reading. Reviews are much appreciated, thanks.
It's hard to slice fruit when you're blind.
People ask, once they've gotten used to me, or, more accurately, my blindness, what I miss most about being able to see, and I always deflect the question with a joke. They laugh along with me, a little uneasily, perhaps, and usually with a bit of pity for me, and they assume I joke because I don't want to talk about what I don't have anymore. What I can't see anymore.
True, it can be difficult to talk about all the things I used to be able to see that I no longer can, or the things I used to be able to do that I can't anymore. Sometimes it can be really depressing to think I'll never actually see another sunrise, or the faces of the people I care about. Sometimes it can be frustrating to admit that I don't know the faces of some of the people I work with. That I'll never know what they look like.
Yes, it can be frustrating, depressing, and even terrifying to admit to the fact that you're blind, and that you aren't just like everyone else at work, or the bar, or wherever you happen to be.
But that's not why I have trouble giving an honest answer.
The fact is, I don't really know how to answer that question. True, I'll never see the sun, or the sky, or even grass again. I'll never see the faces of my family again, and it's true that the pictures on the shelf in my apartment are just for show, should someone actually come over.
But CIA training is great that way. I may no longer be able to see, but I haven't forgotten what things look like. My memory wasn't affected by the accident, nor have years of darkness been able to dull the scenes of the past, especially not when I've made an effort not to forget.
I can still see in my dreams. That helps too.
But regarding the question, I miss different things more at different times.
When I first wake up, and the lingering memories of my dreams still remain, I miss just being able to open my eyes and see color.
When I'm talking to the people I've gotten familiar with at work, I miss being able to see the faces of those around me.
I miss being able to see Joan glare at me when she isn't happy with something I've said or done.
I do miss being a field agent. Frequently. The only time I don't really miss it, surprisingly enough, is when Annie's out there. Then I'm glad it's me sitting in the chair instead of someone else. I'm not sure I'd trust someone else to make sure she gets back.
I think what I miss most, however, are the little things. The things I took for granted when I could see. The things it wouldn't occur to you to appreciate until suddenly you can't do them anymore.
Like slicing up a cantaloupe, or honeydew, or watermelon. Or chopping vegetables. I miss that. I used to be able to cut a watermelon in half in one slice. Now I just buy it pre-sliced and packaged at the grocery store.
I miss running. I don't run as much anymore, except on a treadmill, but even that is really uncomfortable when you can't see where you're going.
I miss just being able to go for a walk and let my thoughts wander where they wished instead of having to pay close attention to where I'm walking.
I miss a hundred and one other little things as well. Sometimes enough to try them again, one more time, just to see if they're as difficult as I remember them being the last time I tried. I mean, how can something that was once so easy be so difficult now?
The other tech ops are great. They've been around for a while, enough that the blindness is no longer really much of a factor. We've stumbled our way through enough awkward situations that we've just about felt everything out.
They don't feel sorry for me, possibly because I actually spent time as a field agent, which is more than they did. Actually, sometimes I get the feeling they envy me in that area.
They're used to the blind jokes by now. They even make their own jokes on occasion, but usually only when there's no one else around to give them that horrified I-can't-believe-you-just-made-fun-of-a-handicapped-person look.
Not that I've ever seen it myself, but I've heard it's pretty bad.
Another nice thing about the guys I work with, they don't ask how I cut my thumb open, or what I ran into that left a bruise on my face, or any other questions about what stupid thing I was trying to attempt the night before that, while simple enough for someone who can see, would probably not be a good idea for someone who can't.
Annie will probably notice the bandage, and will probably worry. I wonder how she'll react to the admission that I was trying to slice a cantaloupe. I remember when Joan asked; she wanted to know if slicing up a piece of fruit was important enough to risk losing my thumb over.
That was the boss in her talking, of course. I can deal with callousness, though. What I hate is when she tries to be understanding.
And anyway, it's not the slicing that's the hard part. It's the peeling.
Disclaimer: Covert Affairs does not belong to me.