My mother and the blind guy

My mom once ditched a blind guy cuz he was scary.

When she was in college, she signed up to read books to him.

She didn’t know anything about him, save he had no sight, when she went to meet him in the university’s library.

He made a dramatic entrance.

He was large and tall, and he came in roaring and waving and banging his cane. He wore a big black cape and a spy hat. His arms were replaced by hooks at the elbow. His eyes were hollow sockets, but he had on one eyepatch. His facial skin had been mostly been blown apart.

I’ve always pictured one of those monsters Abbot and Costello met.

No way was she identifying herself, and how handy was this? She could just get up, and walk past him and out the door.

Naturally, she felt terrible. She had the back and forth of pity and justifications.

On one hand he didn’t have to dress and act that way. Surely he noticed the reactions, the women screaming.

But maybe he didn’t realize people don’t wear capes. And it was the ’60s. All the sighted people were expressing individuality. Didn’t he have the right to jump on the non-conformist bandwagon?

She made a new date, and saw it through.

It became a regular thing, and they became friends. She said he was interesting and smart.

He would tell her to highlight a sentence, then later when she was typing up his term paper, he would say, ‘In this spot insert the thing you underlined on page 43.” 

She learned that when he was 12 he was playing with a chemistry set and it exploded.

I respect that she gathered her courage to meet him again, prepared that go around for his frighteningness.

But I say as a rule, if you’re gonna make those kinds of choices in appearance, learn Braille.

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