My vision loss causes chaos in my life, aka “adventure.” My brain and body are constantly on-the-move but my eyes are a step or two behind or they miss an essential detail. When the two do not collaborate, I never know what will result. Boy, does that tire me out!
I held the three poems I planned to read for the Open Mic Poetry Night securely in my manila folder while I raced for the stairs to enter the building. “I’ll meet you up there,” I said before closing the car door. My brother had to park. I needed to get myself sorted out before the poetry reading began.
I took the first step and then another. But my right foot caught on the cement and I crashed, landing on my ankle. “Aggh! Serves me right.”
“Did you fall? Are you all right?” called my brother as he locked the car.
“Yeah, ah! Just nicked my ankle. I’ll be fine.” I wondered how my cane missed the step. Well, I guess it depends on the skill of the cane user. I smiled and put it out of my mind.
The Poetry Reading
To my surprise, I was listed as the first speaker with my first two poems and again, after the intermission, I was slated to speak first.
I was the only vision-impaired reader … and they placed me first? Not once but twice? Whoah! That put me in the unique position to set the mood for the evening.
I can do it!
Honeymoon in Luxor
I had never read poetry at an open mic event before but I recalled the confidence in which the poets I knew recited their work. Although I didn’t wear any hats – the sign of a cool poet — or even memorize my original poetry — another cool attribute — when they called my name, I scrambled to the stage, adjusted the mic and launched into my first piece.
“…Camera dangling, camel breath sigh …
Rejuvenated by a glass of cool karkaday, [hibiscus tea] I cry, ‘On to Karnak!’”
My narrative poem about the legendary phaoronic temple of Karnak and the magnificent light show sounded powerful to my ears but how did the audience perceive it?
Silence. The room was so quiet when I finished, I was afraid I put them to sleep.
Did I turn them into statues? Did I cast a spell over them? Did I read something to which they couldn’t relate?
Change of Heart
No time to wonder. I swung into my second poem, Change of Heart. This chronicled how my lovable, enthusiastic, short-legged black lab, Buddy, helped me adjust to snow my first year home after living in the tropics for ten years. As I read the words, the image of my dear four-legged companion running in the snow with abandon carried me through the reading.
That met with (to my ears) thunderous applause! With my heart crashing in my chest, I made my way back to my seat to listen to the other poetry readers.
Several members of the audience came over to me and mentioned how much they enjoyed both poems. Their praise lit up the room for me and I stepped into the wonderful glow of acceptance in my new role as poet.
The last poem, too, went well and I left the event bathed in confidence.
Ow, Ow! What Happened?
That evening when I went to bed, I suddenly noticed how my right leg throbbed. What did I do? I hadn’t run so there was no strain from overusing my muscles. Ow, ow, ow, ow! It was only my right leg. I tried to flex it. I switched positions. No matter what I did, it hurt.
I went downstairs to tell my brother. Why must I feel the need to share my pain? Are we all like that? I missed my mom, who I’d have gone to at once. But my brother would do. I needed someone to acknowledge my pain.
“You must have hurt yourself when you fell,” my brother saId.
“Fall? When did I fall?” I paused, trying to sort out the day’s events. Finally, I remembered something about the stairs. I had put so little emphasis on the fall I had actually forgot,
Ice Will Numb the Spot!
Following someone’s advice on Facebook, I iced it. It helped enough to let me sleep. I thought that was the last of it but on Sunday morning, I woke up to throbbing pain again. In the evening, I couldn’t stand it anymore. So I went to UrgiCare. The doctor on duty said I sprained my ankle and she wrapped it up tightly. Thank goodness for this Urgent Care Center.
Duel My Dual Nature
In all my falls, I never broke a bone. But I had gotten stitches several times and once, I put out my knee. So I guess with as many falls as I’ve had I couldn’t complain. Tell my brain that though. It refused to listen to reason, and screamed, “Charge!” as it challenged my dual nature –moving fast, slow eyes — to a ferocious duel.
Before my brain created any more injury in its bravado, I gathered up the swords and cast them aside with a reprimand. Then I rushed off to my family practitioner.
Of course, it wasn’t an ordinary sprain. It was the kind “front and center” that football players sometimes get that keep them out for part of the season. “It’s a high sprain,” my doctor explained “I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait it out.”
Outside, I looked serene. Inside, I had to fight to keep my brain from creating havoc again. “You are grounded,” I hissed. “No more swords. No more duals. If you’re nice, I’ll get you some ice,” I lectured.
Time and Laughter
I made it through that aching, exhausting period by relying heavily on my sense of humor and focusing on the absurd. In time, my ankle healed and life sped on. That was April and it’s now June. I’m back in the game!
My eyes are working overtime to keep up. They are not keen on responding to any more duels but I’ve warned them in advance, “One mis-step and I can’t guarantee your safety.” A lot of blinks later and they’re still in-sync!
Have you ever been frustrated by an out-of-sync body or suffered an injury where you’ve had to ‘wait it out’?
You have just read “Out-of-Sync Seeing and Moving” by Amy L. Bovaird. © June 6, 2018. Don’t forget to leave a comment or share my post with a friend if you’ve enjoyed it.