I have an eight year old –
For many that is quite young. For others that’s a lifetime. For me, after the first year, I stopped counting. Except for, of course, now. I try not to count because upon too much thought I’ll start to hear the tic-toc of a kitchen timer. The timer phobia is not about a fear of commitment. Or a fear of relationships. Oh no. It’s a fear of time exposing more and more of my flaws.
“It’s only a matter of time before she realizes that she can’t stand you,” is what the little devil on my shoulder whispers to me. Luckily, that little devil is heavily sedated and only comes out to play twice a year.
A few days ago, however, he emerged – albeit only for a few hours while sitting at the ophthalmologist’ office. But there he was. On my shoulder. Heavier than normal. Larger than ever. I asked what had he been eating and he said I was the one making him fat. Can you believe the audacity of this guy?
I was sitting in the waiting room, with my devil, watching her get fitted for contacts from a distance.
“Contacts,” said the little devil as he munched down on some Fritos. “That’s pretty brave of you, no?”
I gave him a you-are-both-crazy-and-stupid-look and continued playing with my phone.
“Wow, you haven’t even thought of it, have you? For eight years she’s been taking off her glasses in bed, in the shower, at the beach and she doesn’t have to. She will have perfect 20/20 vision 24 hours a day 7 days a week for every activity, for every occasion.”
Oh my God. He was right. She had never seen me. Maybe this is why we have been together so long. This was the secret! For eight years I was a blur of potential and now I was about to become a clear disaster.
I ran into the consultation room. Now, this isn’t where the doctor sees you, this is where the technician, who by the way had his hands all over her face, was teaching her, unsuccessfully I might add, how to stick a foreign object in her eye.
She looked up at me with one, blood-shot, teary eye missing an inordinate amount of eyelashes and a furry eyebrow that now looked like an awning. I gave the technician a dirty look and he gave us the room. On the brink of tears she told me that she was ready to give up. Now, to the amateur this seems like a win-win, right? Pack it up, we’re leaving, we’re done. Not so much. This is where sexpertise, psychology and chutzpah come in, as I was about to insinuate my disappointment. Of course. You can’t just say OK and leave, she’ll just return the next day and before you know she’ll have two contacts in and say things like, “Is that a third nipple?”
In a record time of 15 seconds, the fireworks exploded. She was so angry at my lack of support and my I-don’t-care-you’ve-lost-your-eyelashes-attitude. But nothing was better than the clincher, when out of my mouth comes, “We can do this.” It was more spectacular than the Fourth of July in Hialeah. She stammered the word we so many times that it would’ve been a Nintendo commercial in French. Ah, Fantastique.
We left without contacts and I quickly patched things up by refocusing on finding new, cool, expensive glasses. A few hours later we were giddy over her new pair, ready in a few days. We discussed the ordeal over a romantic Thai dinner and laughed. Feeling confident, I confessed that I was not too thrilled about her contacts, as she would now see in places and during activities where she would normally have to take them off.
And then it happened. She gave me the look. That look she gives me when she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry or leave or call my mother or call hers.
“Honey, I’m near-sighted. I see just fine up close.”