I’ve decided to give you all another little sample from my book.
I See What You Mean
Soon after we got back to school, I got called into the nurse’s office. She wanted to check my vision. I looked at charts with all sorts of letters, with one eye, then the other, then both. She asked me if I ever got headaches, did I have to squint a lot, and where did I sit in my classes? No on the headaches, yes on the squinting, sometimes, and in the back whenever possible were my replies.
“Drew, I am making a note for my records, and I am sending home a letter with you to your parents suggesting they take you to get glasses.” She smiled like she hadn’t just said every teenage girl’s nightmare was now happening to me.
“Glasses?” I tripped over the word, practically spitting it out, which would have been really embarrassing.
“Or contacts,” she added with a reassuring note. “That’s up to you and your parents. But you can’t keep ignoring the problem. Your eyes will just get worse.”
The funny thing was that I had never noticed I had a problem until that day. I never thought about how natural it felt to squint my eyes into the perfect slat to make the board visible, or the fact that I often dazed off when it came time to read overheads or watch videos. Everyone did that. At home, I usually planted myself on the floor with a pillow, so I was never extremely far away from the TV, and books were held closely anyway. Glasses. How could this be? After that day, all of these irritations became more noticeable to me, and I was getting frustrated, but would not give my parents the note from the nurse. I figured she would forget all about me. I was usually good at being forgotten by adults, being the quiet one and all. But I had a bad feeling when I got off the bus one afternoon. Usually I had the bad feeling when I got on the bus, so I knew there had to be a problem.
“Drew,” my mother greeted me at the door that day. Unusual. “Has anything interesting come up at school over the last few weeks?” I thought for a long while. I knew I was making mostly B’s in my classes, so nothing there alarmed me. The bus rides, though dreaded, had been uneventful, and I had actually put the visit with the nurse in the back of my mind by then, as much as possible.
“No, not really. They started serving curly fries in the cafeteria,” I offered. I wasn’t trying to be funny, but Mom thought so.
“Young lady, vision impairment is a serious matter.” In my mind, everything came crashing down on me. The nurse must have called because the letter was so far lost in my locker, it would have taken the jaws-of-life to dig it out.
“Oh yeah, that. I forgot to tell you.” I was able to use my meager eyesight to focus in on a speck of dirt on the floor, avoiding eye contact with my mom.
“Just like you forgot to give me the letter the nurse sent home, right?”
“You know I always forget to give you notes and letters from school. Remember when I had to clean my room when we packed everything up to move? There were probably hundreds of notes under my bed and shoved in drawers. It’s kinda what I do,” I chanced a smile, remembering too late that vision impairment is serious.
“I called and made an appointment for Thursday with an optometrist. We’ll get your eyes tested, and then you can pick out some glasses.”
“Does it have to be glasses? Could I get contacts, please? I don’t want to look like a geek.”
“Drew, I don’t know about looking like a geek or dweeb or whatever. Your eyesight is important. We’ll have to see how much contacts cost. But the bottom line is that you need to be able to see the bottom line.” She seemed to smirk, realizing her play on words. I was not amused. My life was over.
If you like it, if you can relate to it, or if you know anyone else who can relate to this, or who is in middle school now, you can find the entire book, Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl by Terri Klaes Harper, on Amazon’s kindle store (btw- you can download a free kindle app onto pretty much any electronic device). If you love it, spread the word, rate it, and/or like my author page on Facebook.