When I was young, I could read without them. Then I turned ten and I was caught borrowing Old Master Fowler’s glass once too often. No worries, of course. Young folk often had a little trouble in their teens and needed lenses to read. At RoyEl, they came fairly cheaply, and I thought I looked like a proper scholar. I got the ones with pink stones in the armature. Life went on.
New lenses became a way to mark years. I knew that there would always be replacement, and it was no real trouble. I had more important things to do, like earning my certificate and applying for masters. I invested in mirrored dwarf-craft lamps. I went on with living. I climbed outdoors and hung from rock-faces with glass tied firmly to my face.
I had dreams and goals, and I accomplished every last one. Even the hardest! Regular faculty… full time affiliation… dwarf-run, even! I had start-up funds and my own rooms to own. I dreamed of openings for my Nallo in geology and celebrated by going for my next set of lenses.
There was no next set.
It sounds now like I hadn’t been told. I had been, and years ago now. “May” and “might” were in the explanation, so I assumed that I’d be in whatever percentage didn’t end in blindness. I was, in a word, unscientific about it. There’s a study somewhere in that. I wrote up an abstract before this opportunity came to me. I took it, and I didn’t let myself think that it was partly to see Dol Amroth before I can’t ever see Dol Amroth. It was mostly to keep an eye on Nallo.
Interesting phrase, “to keep an eye on.” I wonder if it sounds as odd to other blind people.
Did I just refer to myself as blind? Not yet I’m not. I can see more than I can’t see, and after dark, Nallo’s there. I hope there aren’t any other red-wearing men around. I worry that one day, I’ll grab the wrong one.
I can’t read the book I just took off the shelf, but I can still see that it’s bound with leather and gold. It’s illustrated. That’s probably a dragon. Or perhaps a griffin. Or…
The hinge resists a little when I close the volume. My fingers find the gap where it goes, and I realize that I’ve been doing it this way for a while now. My feet don’t lift like they used to, and my staff… I carry it now like I’m an old woman who needs it. The day I step out into is muted into moonlight, but I hear the crier calling mid-day. My gut is twisting and…. pah! I’m scanning the crowd for red like a clinging ladyfriend.
Nallo is my last set of lenses, and soon, he’ll be gone too.
I’d best interview a few more locals before supper.