I didn't have to see my mother's face to know she was aggravated. I could feel her repetitive breaths as she drove the car.
"That was the first and only time I will ever be letting you give an uplifting speech on something so traumatic and horrible," she started.
"It's not that bad, Mom," I said.
"Addison, darling, I don't want you accepting that this will be your life. We are going to get this fixed. You are going to be able to look in a mirror and see what color your hair is."
"You've been saying that for 10 years, Mom. I figure if nothing happened in 10 years, nothing is going to-"
My sentence was cut off when my mother slammed her hand against the steering wheel. I tried again.
"My story is one of the worst out there. If I share it, it'll make others feel better. That's all I was trying to do. If the organization contacts me again, I won't accept their invitation. I don't want to be blind forever, but it's not as horrible as it used to be. That's all I meant."
I pulled the drawstrings of my hoodie closed and shut my eyes, not that it did anything. I could perfectly remember the last night I could see.
Edith and Asher arrived to the party in coordinated outfits, like most twins do. I quickly ran over to them and touched the sparkles on the flag on Edith's shirt. We walked past the grownups who were hugging and eating, with mentions of the word kindergarten in the air. Our trio found themselves near the large shed in the backyard. A little boy stood in the door of the shed that we didn't know. Each of the grownups going into the shed exited with large colorful boxes in their hands and murmured "Scoot, Harry" when passing the boy.
"You see those boxes in there?" The boy named Harry asked us. We shook our heads yes. "Those are fireworks!"
An empty colorful box was laying on its side a few feet from the shed, and I peered inside. How did the sparkly light stay in these boxes without shining through?
"Are they twins?" Harry asked me, pointing to the other two.
"Yeah. The girl is Edith and the boy is Asher. I'm Addie."
A sudden explosion erupted in the air above us. "Fireworks!" Harry screamed. Asher quickly ran back to his mom, but Harry ran forward, toward the source of the noise.
Edith went with Asher. I went with Harry.
This is the part that always makes my chest hurt. What if I hadn't gone with Harry? Why did I go with Harry?
Both of us took a front row seat, close enough to see the shapes of the containers the fireworks were stored in. Close enough to hear the conversations between the people lighting them.
Way too close.
I was completely mesmerized by the little rocket containers that somehow fit all of the fireworks that exploded into the sky. I could hear little Harry's noises of amazement escaping from his mouth. Two red fireworks exploded at the same time, doubling both the noise and the awe.
One of the men started walking towards me and Harry. Oh no, I thought, we were going to have to leave. I stood up to walk back. "No!" yelled Harry, putting his hand on my shoe and trying to keep my feet from moving backward.
It turned out the man was only going to light a firework, not to tell us two 5 year olds to leave. But oh, how I wish he had.
The man bent down to light the firework stationed closest to Harry and me. I followed the little rocket up,up,up,up,UP until it exploded so close to me that I had to tilt my head back to see it; so close that there was no delay between the explosion and the sound. I saw a great explosion of blue light so intense it hurt my eyes to keep them open.
One of the blue lights fell on the grass in front of Harry. Then another. Then another. Each time we would try to catch them, but each time we would merely miss and observe them turning into black sprinkles of ash. Harry pushed his brown hair out of his eyes to see. "Look at them all!" I said to Harry, pointing up at the sky where still millions more were falling.
One was falling directly onto me. I'm gonna catch this one, I thought. It was a big one. But as it got closer I realized how fast it was falling, and how many more were falling with it, and before I could put my hands on my head I felt the wonderful blue light touch my eyes.
The light wasn't so wonderful anymore.
Harry ran to get his father. I frantically ran in the direction I thought my mother was, tripping over bumps in the grass because I couldn't see. I hand't heard any more fireworks since I had started running and crying.
I wasn't born blind. I don't have some rare form of eye cancer. I'm blind because of a stupid childhood decision I made during one 4th of July. If I have to live out the rest of my life being blind, I would rather have been born with it or suffered some type of disease than to get it this way. And now my mother acts like God himself trying to find a miraculous way to get me an entire eye transplant, which is impossible, and to get me my vision back, which we were told is impossible.
When I hear the names Asher and Edith, the only people that come to mind are the 6 year olds who were a hell of a lot smarter than me. Probably because this was the last time I ever saw them. Not only because of the blindness, but because of my mother. Harry, too. Even though I only saw that little cutie once.
I felt the car stop and immediately got out. I walked up the familiar 4 steps to the front door, grasped the knob on the first try, and walked forward 17 steps until I turned to the right and sat down on the couch. I know the layout of my house better than I know myself.
"Without even tripping once! I'm impressed, Tucker," I heard a voice from across the room say.
"Dammit, Dana! This is one thing I'm not going to miss!" I yelled. A pillow hit my face.
"I HIT IT! Finally, on your last day being my only blind acquaintance, I hit your face with a freaking pillow! I should go try out for softball or something, I've really stepped up my game!"
Life without Dana was going to suck. She was the only person in my life I loved, besides my mother. Dana was born blind; therefore, she was much more skilled at living life than I was. If you were born blind, you don't know any other life, so it's easier. At least, that's what she tells me.
"Sorry Dana, but we have to get going if we want to get to D.C. on time. Say your goodbyes, but if everything works out alright for Addison we should be in contact with you again about the procedure. Just think: you two will finally see each other's gorgeous faces!" My mother called from the front door. I could hear the wheels of a suitcase rolling down the stairs.
"Or ugly faces," Dana whispered. "Isn't it sad that I've never seen my mother's face?"
"She could be 80 years old," I said.
"Nah, her voice sounds kind of young," Dana said. "But not younger than your mother's." I had a very limited picture in my mind of what my mother looks like now. Everyone's faces in my head are the same faces they had over 10 years ago.
"You better go," Dana said. "What time is your flight?"
"No idea," I replied, "but yeah, I better go." I gave her a hug. "When I get back, I promise I'll be able to tell you exactly what you look like." Dana didn't allow anyone to tell her any of her physical characteristics because she said she liked to imagine it herself. The only thing anyone had ever slipped to her was that she had dark hair. "I'm disappointed I can't be a blonde bombshell then," she would always say.
"Fuck you," she said. I laughed and let my mom help me walk down the steps, wanting those two words to be the last between Dana and me. The car door shut, and we were off.