From Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause

A Little Blurry, That’s All

The more sand that has escaped from the hour-
glass of our life, the clearer we should see
through it.

Jean Paul

There wasn’t a dramatic difference from one day to another. Like a well-loved sweater or teddy bear showing its age, life had just become fuzzier. My usual eagle-eye vision had been replaced by squinting at street signs. Not that it matters, for in the small village where I live, I pretty much know my way around blind. I had no problem reading books or doing needlework, so I thought it must be allergies.

The lake road is my favorite place to walk with my dog, full of whispering pines and weaving roadways. It’s home to eagles and beagles, horses and hares, also the odd black bear and other critters that are a bit grumpy if you come within sight of them. So it was no surprise one day when I stopped dead in my tracks, sure that the black thing several paces away was a large black bear. I reached for the bear repellant, prepared to do battle, and started banging my stick and yelling to scare it away. My dog was a bit stunned by my reaction and pulled me on to what turned out was an abandoned tire by the roadside. So as not to hurt my feelings, she gave it a good “ruff.”

Luckily, dogs don’t talk; they keep the best secrets. I was sure that it was just a momentary thing, after all I was just forty-two and the only one in my family whose eyes were 20/20, something I was always quite proud of! I had problems only in the evening when my eyes were tired; after all, I had used them all day. So while watching a foreign film one evening, I was surprised that I could not read the movie subtitles. I asked my glass-clad lad of a husband to read them for me.

He put his paper down and sounding very tired, he read the following from the screen: “Greta says, ‘I love you, my handsome young cad, but what about Roland?’ Hans says, ‘Roland is a wimp and shall never hold a candle to me.’ ‘Never mind, Princess Leah, I shall defend you and the force with my highly attuned sight and intellect.’ Greta says, ‘But is that not Roland sneaking up behind you?’ Hans says, ‘Oh my love, my love, my love, I have been outdone by a don with spectacles.’”

My husband collapsed in laughter while I moved my chair closer to the screen to find out what the real dialogue was. It was then that I decided it was probably time to have my eyes checked. I made an appointment.

At my appointment, I sat in a darkened room and read from the large chart on the wall while the doctor made sure I didn’t peek or cheat. He then put drops in my eyes, which made me look like some deranged cartoon character with pupils as big as saucers. As he checked for problems deep within my eyes, I reflected on how glasses would change my life. Was I really ready for this? I thought. Am I admitting I’m growing old?

Off to the eyeglass shop with prescription in hand, I was thrilled to see glasses with titanium frames, Elton John frames, even the latest country look in rhinestones. There were frame colors that could bring out the highlights in my once clear eyes, sexy glasses, nerdy glasses, and even glasses to make you look smarter. I settled on those.

I tried on the glasses for the first time at home, sitting on the porch. The green of the leaves that had once looked like a moss-covered blanket now took on individual seams and sheens of green, gold, and jade. Every blade of grass stood up, unique and sharp as quills. Even the hair on the dog, that used to blend together, showed lustrous individual hairs of black, brown, and silver. I was in awe.

I have discovered that I am not blind to the latest fashion. Just as my daughter, who is years before me in the eye department, seeks out the latest music, I do my own shopping. As my excited voice filters from the mall’s eyeglass shop into the nearby CD shop, customers look up and wonder who that woman is raving about frames and gadgets and glass cases.

“Don’t worry,” my contact-wearing daughter sighed to the salesclerk, “it’s only my mom, making a spectacle of herself again.”

Nancy Bennett

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