This short story is one of my favorites, but it’s fourteen pages long, so I’ll be posting it in parts. Please let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy! Click here for Part I.
Silence. I could imagine him gaping at me. The silence only lasted about thirty seconds before he spoke. “That explains it.”
I was confused. “Explains what?”
“Explains why you weren’t making eye contact while we were talking.” I could hear the smile in his voice, and my jaw dropped. He must’ve notice the surprised look on my face. “What’s wrong?”
It’s just…” I hesitated. “Most people act totally different towards me when they find out that I’m blind. They either ignore me because they don’t know how to react, or they treat me like a little kid or like I’m made out of glass. But, you—you’re acting exactly the same!”
He laughed again. “”My cousin’s blind, so I’ve learned a lot about all of that. She hates it when people treat her different just because she’s blind. So I’ve gotten practice with treating her ‘normal’.” He paused. “It sounds like your mom could use a couple lessons in that.”
“Definitely,” I told him, and began telling him everything that had happened, up until he had sat on the bench.
“Whoa,” he said, interrupting me. “So your mom doesn’t know where you are?”
“Uh, no,” I admitted reluctantly.
“You’d better get home before your mom goes nuts. It’s already been about half an hour.”
“I guess so.” I sighed, standing up. I wasn’t looking forward to going home.
I heard him stand up, too. “I’ll walk you home.”
“I don’t need any help!” I snapped.
He laughed. “I know. But, from what you said, I think we live in the same neighborhood. I’m heading that way anyway.”
I could feel the heat rising on my face. “Oh,” was all I could say. I hesitated. “I’m sorry for snapping at you— wait, I don’t even know your name.”
“I’m John,” he told me. “I don’t know your name either.”
We walked back over towards my house. John was great, not trying to help me unless I asked him to. We talked on the way home, too, and found out that we had a lot in common, especially a love for books and reading.
“So, do you use audio books to read?” he asked as we strolled down the street. I nodded. There was a long pause, just the sound of our footsteps and the tap-tap of my long feeler-cane. He finally broke the silence.
“I was just wondering, and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but why are you blind?”
I’d never really talked to anyone about being blind or anything like that. This was new territory for me. But I realized that I didn’t mind opening up to John; it felt like we had known each other for ages. So I told him. “I was born blind.”
“So you’ve never been able to see?” he asked. I nodded. “Same with my cousin. What number is your house?” He changed the subject abruptly.
“368.” I had memorized it a long time ago.
“Then it’s this next house,” he told me. “I only live about four houses down. Do you have one of those scanners that reads books and things?” I nodded. “Then here’s my number. Call me later and let me know how it goes.” He pushed a slip of paper into my hand, and then I heard him jog ahead of me down the street. My cane thumped against the familiar wooden fence. I hoped I wouldn’t get in too much trouble.
As soon as I opened the front door, my mom was hugging me and crying into my hair. “Oh, Chloe,” she sobbed. “I was so worried. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, Mom. See, I’m fine,” I insisted.
“I know, but that was very irresponsible of you. What if something had happened to you? Why don’t you go to your room for a little while.” I nodded and went up to my room without any fuss.
I guess my mom doesn’t realize that my room is my favorite room in the whole house. I spend most of my time in it, and all of my gadgets are in there: my book scanner, talking computer (I named the voice ‘Bob’), and my Braille books. I read the Braille books sometimes, but other times I like to just listen to the books.
When I got into my room, I pulled out my book scanner and scanned John’s number into my computer. “Bob” read off the numbers to me, and I pressed them into the phone. I waited while it rang.
“Hello?” It sounded like him, but I figured that I should check.
“Hi, this is Chloe. Can I talk to John?”
“Oh, it’s me, Chloe. So…” He was waiting.
“It wasn’t too bad. She was super upset when I got home, so she sent me to my room as punishment, except it’s not a punishment for me.”
He laughed. “Yeah, I guess not. Do you spend most of your time in your room?”
“Yeah. All of my gadgets are in it.” I couldn’t figure out what to say next, and I guess John couldn’t either, because an awkward silence followed. I searched for something to say, but I couldn’t think of anything. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair.
“Okay, now that’s what I call an awkward silence,” he finally said. I laughed, relieved. “Did you ask about going to school again?”
“No. She was too upset. She would definitely not have reacted well.”
“Do you want to meet at the park tomorrow so we can try to figure out how to convince her?” he asked.
“Really? I mean, you’d help me?” I was surprised.
“Yes, of course. So, what time do you want to meet tomorrow?”