Retinitis Pigmentosa
Who Can See it?

RP Masquerades

35-Day Author Blog Challenge – Day 2 

I don’t know why it bothered me so much more to be thought of as drunk than clumsy. I guess I’d gotten used to names like clutzy, clumsy, ding-a-ling; those words had lost their sting years earlier. I’m sure I believed them myself.

One evening on Saint Patrick’s Day when the city of San Antonio dyed the river  green, some friends and I strolled along the Riverwalk. I lost my balance and nearly fell into the water. Miraculously, I caught myself. We’d laughed at my fancy footwork and the save. 

Suddenly, I heard a whisper nearby.

“Look at that drunk laughing away! You’d think she’d know when she’s had enough.  She can’t even stand up straight!” 

I was too stunned to respond. 

That was the first time I remember hearing that about myself and I didn’t like it at all. 

Fast forward to my 30th high school reunion.  Read my excerpt from the first chapter of Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith


After dinner I stayed close to the picnic tables, which were lit up. Only when I needed to use the restroom did I venture away from them. I excused myself and made my way over to the port-a-johns at the far end of the property. I fixed my eyes on the dim light, which kept wavering as it slipped in and out of my field of vision. It was like seeing a mirage.

You think it’s real. You hope it’s real. But you don’t know until you get there if it’s really what you think it is.

I prayed.  What would I do? What would I say? Flickering lights often played tricks on my eyes. What if this light turned out to be the horseshoe pits?

My gaze shifted to the uneven ground.  One leg caught on something and buckled.  I stumbled and rolled.t’s a…bush.

 I jumped up and brushed off my clothing. I hoped no one saw that. Would I ever find this toilet?

An arm came out of nowhere to steady me. “It’s me, Patty. Let me help you.”

Thank you, Lord, I thought fervently, You sent someone to guide me in the darkness.

“Just a little further.” My classmate linked arms with me, almost as if … she knew. “I need to use it, anyway.” She stopped and pointed. “That’s the Women’s. You can go first.”


I took a deep breath. Nothing happened, I told myself firmly. I hadn’t embarrassed myself. I wasn’t lost. I needed to take it easy.

Ten minutes later, we made our way back to the picnic tables. I continued to reminisce about our school days. Too soon the long-awaited night was over, and we headed home.

I clasped my hands together. “Everything was perfect. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this one.”

That’s when I learned my stumble in the dark had classmates buzzing, and not in a good way.

“I can’t believe Pastor Tom, I guess that’s what he goes by now, really thought I was drunk.” The heat rushed to my face as I sank back in my seat, covering my eyes with both hands. If only I could block out the words as easily as that.  “He must have seen me stumble around in the dark and just assumed….”

“Appearances aren’t everything,” Carol consoled from the back seat.

“Besides, I told them you had an eye problem and couldn’t see in the dark,” Lorraine said, “so don’t let them ruin your evening.”

But for me, the evening was ruined. Even after thirty years, I still cared what my classmates thought about me. “I shouldn’t have come—”

I didn’t know which was worse–mistakenly being thought of  as drunk or Lorraine’s disclosure of my vision problems. I’d guarded that secret for so long. If only I could go back to simply being clumsy!


Hurry for a chance to win: Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith. Click here:

You have just read “Retinitis Pigmentosa: Who Can See It?” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright September 14, 2015.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Who Can See It?
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