• It’s funny. When you feel that hopelessness; your overwhelming desperation. The warmness that creeps into your eyes: you close them, trying to keep calm. You think it through, or you don’t think at all. Just let it be. And as that warmness leaves your eyes, it trickles. Cooling as they glide down your skin. But then you stop – you ask why? Why is it that your eyes glimmer with tears? Is it self-pity? Or perhaps it is mourning lost time. In my case, I see with my own sightless eyes, my stupidity. My mistake. The one that cost me my freedom; my means of surviving. Everything had changed. It felt different. And as my arms cling to those who can see for me, I walk on dependent; useless, towards my home that was and will continue to be open for those who have no home given the goodwill of my late parents. But I know, that I must face toward the eternal darkness so that I am not left behind. So that I am not abandoned by hope itself.

    There was a room left for three long weeks. Cobwebs ebbed within the corners, dim lights concealing the beauty it once had. Shhh; my arms open wide - the coarse, cool walls at my finger-tips, guiding me to my destination. The carpet soft and comforting beneath my feet. My toes softly sink into their warmth as I walk. One. Two. Three. I stop, shifting my weight to the right. My hands outstretched - seeking the definite smoothness of timber, tracing the fine grooves of engravings and forward I go through those creaking doors, slowly; cautiously. I count once again, whispering; calculating. My feet halt as my fingers move in front, feeling for an icy cold mirror. They make contact: the warmth of my body spreading across. I imagine my face looking back at me but all I can remember is fragments: wisps of my dark brown hair, my hazel eyes, my thick coloured lips. I turn away – my body reacting to these useless thoughts. I move on, to explore my room in silence – experiencing all the different senses that were numbed by my previous sight. To reach my haven, I estimate two more steps forward, then three steps to the right. Then I am there, standing on the front line. Behind the thin, red barrier that concealed my presence. It would shield me, but it also contained me. I both loved it and hated it. And as I fingered the edges, I took a moment. With one decisive movement, I threw them open as I did in the past. The old light flooded the room, specks of dust interrupted from their long and lonely sleep. They rushed past my face to their limited freedom. They would glitter through the warm light, timelessly drifting down until once again they would become stuck. But being in the light for a moment was good enough. And they were my companions. We could not move. We were dependent.

    I leaned forward, feeling for the red velvet cushions that rested upon the window bay. My numb fingers fumbled for the window latch; and alas felt the cold metal in my grasp. I carefully unlocked them and pushed the windows out to breath in the cool, clean air. And as the windowsill supported me, the wind caressed my cheek and brushed my hair. It had a mind of its own. It was free and dignified, the very things I will never again be. My haven was here. I leaned back, facing toward what would be the ceiling. My mind weary; my eyelids closed and so I lulled to sleep. Captured by faded images of the past: the blurry photographs merging together to create a memory.

    I concealed my presence behind the thick red curtain to explore the world of fiction; away from the world’s worries. I sat in my sanctuary. I looked toward my worn leather bound book. It waited patiently along the window sill, yearning for its crisp pages to be turned and embraced. So I did as it wished. I pulled it toward me, its weight perfect and familiar. The pages crackled as I found my place: the magnificent sun shone brightly on its yellowing pages. Their beautiful words encapsulated my mind. I laid there oblivious to the outside alone and ignorant; hour to hour on end until the day turned to night.

    And then I woke; or so I think I did. It is hard to tell. The air had gone cooler – I suppose night has fallen. The tingling shiver crept to my neck as I felt for the window latch, still allowing the autumn air to flow in. The window slammed shut: I had misjudged the degree to which it was open. I lay back into the cushions, still warm from my afternoon rest. My thoughts lingered on my recent dream, happiness spoiled with a slight bitterness. The carpet rustled as I stood up from my perch. Slightly unbalanced, I reached for something to stabilise my feet. But that something never came and so I fell down toward the carpeted floor with a heavy thump. I grovelled across the room I once was so connected with. It had become different, but had not changed. I shifted my body slowly and cautiously to reach anything that could direct me to the direction out. And I did eventually find the entrance I had previously walked through with some dignity. From there, through my mind’s eye and touch I directed myself down the hallway and into the foyer where strangers, surprised at my arrival, rushed by my side and offered me help. Once they had me seated, they waited for my meal to come, continuing on with their previous discussions talking of the beautiful weather they had today; of the unusual but magnificent artworks of Picasso visible only for a limited time. I had nothing to volunteer. I could not say anything. I had been contained in my own realm for too long, waiting for some kind soul to bring me out – to guide me around the gardens and feel the elements of this world rather than see. I wanted to experience it, so that someday I may too know the gardens so well I can wander by myself. But I guess that is not so.