I remember my parents’ worried faces when I first got engaged to Edi in spite of the fact that she was blind. They did not support our engagement. Their opposition was based on the belief that she would be so dependent on me that sooner or later, I would resent it. Despite these setbacks, we got married two month later. My parents and members of my immediate family did not attend our wedding ceremony. However, things worked according to plan, and it was a success.
Edi had been blind for many years before meeting me. In fact, much difficulty did not arise for her blindness. She quickly got used to finding her way around our new home. As for being dependent on me, I almost forgot the idea. She was more independent than any sighted person I knew. She had been blind for many years, and before we got married, she had been trained to look after herself independently.
Nearly a year after our marriage, a consultation was arranged with Dr. Ben – a brilliant surgeon, to operate on Edi’s eyes. But before meeting Dr. Ben, there had been a good number of quality brilliant surgeons who could not work miracles. Then one day Edi had gone alone to see Dr. Ben. It was getting late! She had promised to come home immediately after the consultation. I walked to the window and glanced outside but there was no sign of her anywhere. I should really have insisted on going with her, but she was sensitive about being “shepherd around” as she always put it.
I was beginning to wish this further consultation had not been arranged at all. Then, a key grated in the lock. I felt tense and not bear to see the despair I would see in her face. I opened the door and went into her arms.
Edi’s had good news to tell me! She said that Dr. Ben said the operation would be successful.
At this blissful declaration, I was excited and promptly looked forward to seeing my wife whom I had loved with every fiber of my being, regain her sight. Edi was equally blissful. She told me, while clutching my fingers, that she would finally see what she had been feeling with her hands! That was, to see how handsome I was for the first time since our marriage.
During the days that followed, Edi seemed confident that the operation was going to be a success. I prayed for her to recover her sight. One night, I was thinking about it, an icy thought caught through my heart. She would see me for the first time! My heart was wandering in a land of awful mysteries. Slowly I slumped into a sofa.
Perspiration took over me. I was nervous. I wasn’t handsome, I knew. And on top of that, I was dwarfish with heavy upper lip-coupled with my pot belly. My nose was rather short and broad. My eyes were set too wide apart. My hair was brownish. I wasn’t anything a woman would desire of a man. No designs of fashion could fit me. I was like a harassed clown! But Edi had always insisted that I was handsome! She had always laughed at my protests, my different efforts to refute her claims. When she see how I really looked – what then? She must have seen so many handsome men before she lost her sight! I was living on the edge of great anxiety. My position as a husband was threatened. I gabbled at my prayers and tumbled into bed and slept fitfully till daybreak.
The operation was scheduled at eleven on a Friday morning. The surgeon had strictly warned me not to ring the hospital before noon that day. The waiting was like hell! Seconds became minutes and minutes appeared to be hours. And when the clock struck twelve – I scrambled to where the telephone box was kept, I picked up the receiver to call the hospital, but there was no dialling tone! It had gone dead! I rushed out of the quiet apartment and ran to nearby telephone booth. Luckily, it was functioning. I put a call to the hospital and waited breathlessly until Dr. Ben came on the line. The pounding of my heart against my chest almost made it impossible for me to hear him.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Yes – successful, it was a success. The bandage will be checked and possibly removed next Friday,” he said.
I went to the hospital thrice daily to see how my wife was faring and on Thursday, I was there to see her. She was in agony of anticipation – “when you come tomorrow, my darling, I shall be able to see you. Do you know what that means to me? I shall be here and watch you walk into the room for the first time in my life. I will see you as you really are – my handsome husband,”
I hardly knew when I got home. I spent the night tossing feverishly between the sheets, aware that a sleepless night would do little to remove my ugly looks and replace them with beautiful ones.
Slowly, I dozed off. In the morning, I woke up with a severe headache. A look at my gloomy self in the mirror made me recoil. I surveyed myself with almost shrewd resignation. Finally, I picked a red shirt from my wardrobe and put it on. I was having problems with matching accessories. I had no matching accessories.
Reluctantly, I left for the hospital. Getting there, I walked along the corridor to my wife’s room. I stood for a moment with my hand on the door knob. My heart pounded in my chest and I felt weak and sick. Slowly, I opened the door and went inside. Edi was sitting up in bed, her eyes fixed unwavering on me as I walked across the room and sank into a chair beside her. I noticed that I was trembling feverishly. This was it! I thought.
As I raised my eyes and looked full into Edi; she looked at me with an expression of wonder on her face.
For a moment, neither of us spoke: then she whispered “you are extremely handsome!”
“There is no need is no need to pretend any longer” – now you have seen how I am, tell the truth, I countered sharply
To my despair, I saw tears tricking down my cheeks. I fumbled and dabbed at my eyes. “You have always imagined I was handsome, but I am not even cute!”
“Now give me your attention for a moment. There is no need to tell you what I think. I had no intention of relying on my imagination. I wanted a true picture of you in my mind and my mother told me that: “yes Edi, he is handsome! He’s not a type that looks glamorous, but his face portrays everything that a woman needs in a man, and you are exactly as I pictured you. ”
He looked at me with obvious love in her eyes. And as I went into her already outstretched hands – I knew how a handsome man feels when he is loved by the woman who matters.
I am still in married to the woman I loved with all my heart.
Love, really is blind!
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