Going Blind in Hawaii by Melisa Quigley
As soon as we arrived at The Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort in Hawaii we changed into our bikinis and went down to the beach. My boss warned me before we left that I could get burnt in the most unusual places. He had vacationed in Hawaii the year before us and was burnt on the soles of his feet and behind his ears and told me to apply lots of sunscreen.
It was mid-morning and the beach was already crowded. We placed our towels down close to one another and I put suntan oil on and walked to the shore while Angela and Tina lay on their towels. I put my foot in the water and decided to sit on my towel for a while and admire the scenery. Bodies of all shapes and sizes walked in and around us looking for their own piece of paradise. Some people were golden brown while others were as white and pasty looking as us.
We’d had nothing to eat or drink since we’d been on the plane and I volunteered to buy drinks at a makeshift stand we’d seen earlier. I didn’t realise how far we’d walked along the beach and hadn’t bothered to take my thongs. My feet were cemented in the hot sand while I stood in the queue waiting to be served when the strangest thing happened. I lost my sight. I closed my eyes and opened them again but all I could see was darkness. Since I was a child I was told never to talk to strangers. How was I going to find my friends? A hand touched my shoulder and my body trembled.
‘Who is it?’ I said.
It was Angela. She decided she wanted an ice cream instead of a drink. I’ve never been grateful about someone changing their mind.
My voice sounded shrill. ‘I can’t see.’
My hands reached out to touch her.
‘Come on, now you’re having me on.’
‘I’mmmm nottttt. I caaaan’t.
She took hold of my hands and clasped them in hers.
‘I don’tttt know.’
The doctor came to the resort and told me I had sun stroke and to draw the curtains and lie down and close my eyes. Tina and Angela were bored so I told them to go out and enjoy themselves. I wasn’t religious but I lay on the bed and closed my eyes praying for my sight to return wanting to think positive but could only think negative. Who would want to marry me if I was blind? What would my parents say when they saw me? I’d have to resign from work. Would I remember the way people looked as well as my surroundings? I’d have to sell my car. There were too many things for me to contemplate at once. My chest ached and tears streamed down the side of my face. I must’ve fallen asleep and woke five hours later. Angela and Tina were watching television with the volume down low.
‘I can see,’ I said.
‘Thank God for that,’ said Tina. ‘I’m starving. Let’s go out and get something to eat.’
We went out to restaurant to celebrate and I vowed never to take anything for granted again.
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