Thursday, August 18, 2011

Driving While Blind

Driving While Blind

I’m driving along a mountain road late in the night. My heart is flying, exhilarated by the steep rises and falls. I see the black sky with so many spots of lights for stars twinkling down at me. It is a most beautiful sight. I hold onto it and long for the g-force of the next rise. I could not be any happier than I am at this moment.

Something in the back of my mind tells me this isn’t right. Then it occurs to me, I’m looking at those spots of light, but I’m going downhill. I blink several times, trying to clear my vision, but nothing changes. I turn my head to the left, and then to the right. All I see is the blackness, with little spots of light, mocking me. How long have I been driving like this? Where am I?

I am now aware I’m driving a straight road but still have the sight of the light spots, and nothing else. I attempt to rationalize away the problem. I convince myself my eyes are closed, and I simply have to open them.

The speed at which I’m traveling is beyond frightening, but I tell myself not to panic, ‘just open your eyes’!

Try as I may, my eyes will not open. I lift my brows until they reach my hairline. I force the muscles in my lids to pull up. Then I have to blink to relieve the dryness. To my disappointment, I accept my eyes are open. I am blind.

The situation I find myself in suddenly registers. So caught up in the fear of my blindness, I haven’t done anything to control my forward velocity. If I don’t stop this car, I will die!

I take my foot off of the accelerator, and I feel the car begin to slow. My palms are sweating and my heart is racing. My breath is coming short and shallow to the point of nearly holding it. The only sight before me is a multitude of spots of light on black.

I know I’m blind, but I cannot allow my fear to control me. I will not panic, at least not yet. I turn my right signal on to show whoever might be near me I am getting off the road to the shoulder. Slowly pressing the brake pedal, I ease the car over. It occurs to me there may not have been a shoulder, but I know I must stop the car and get off this road.

To my great relief, the car comes to a stop without collision. It is now that I allow all of the emotions held at bay loose. Collapsing onto the steering wheel, I sob with gratitude, mixed with fear. Then a deep terror sinks in--I am blind! The light spots still haunt me as I cry.

Two sharp taps on the window jolt me out of my pool of tears and angst. Turning my head toward the raps, I open my eyes, and there is a police officer staring in at me.

Wait. I can see! I can see daylight, I can see the construction site I somehow managed to maneuver my car onto without hitting any of the barricades. I can see the ‘End of Road’ sign on the pavement to the left of me. And, I can see the cliff I might have driven off of if I had not realized my blindness. I begin to laugh uncontrollably with the relief of life granted and sight returned.

I put down the window. In the instant of seeing this man’s face, I realize how odd I must appear. With eyes and cheeks wet from tears falling, snot running out of my nose, my face must be red, yet I’m still laughing. I suppress the laughter as best I can, but I am smiling ear to ear with the joy of restored sight! I wipe my nose with the back of my hand and laughingly ask, “Yes, officer?”

“What are you doing here?” he asked with a stern voice.

“Um...I’m not really sure. Uh, I was blind for a short while and then, then my sight returned.”

“Uh huh. You were blind?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And now you see?”

“Yes, sir!”

“License and registration, please.”

Then I woke up in my own bed.

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