The Non-existent Door

Local optometrist office
Local optometrist office

A sneak peak into my new book, Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Vision Loss.

When I entered the optometrist office, I tucked my cane under one arm. Then I tried to push the door open but my fingertips met only air. Where is that stupid handle? I know it’s around here somewhere! 

I could feel the eyes of the receptionist on me. I looked up and yes, as I figured, there she was, watching me. Or rather, my hands. Oh my gosh, she thinks I’m going to rip off the office somehow! She probably thinks I’m going to pocket … what? Maybe swipe a pair of glasses!  If I could only find the handle, then I could get through the door and tell her I have no intention of doing anything of the kind. I’m no thief! 

When I looked up again, I could plainly see the woman still staring–ready to catch me in the act, I’m sure.  Her face was too blurry to read her expression but the way she sat forward, it looked like I was going to be guilty until proven innocent.

I held up both hands, palms directed her way to show I’d never dream of stealing anything. I smiled for extra measure. 

Whoops! There went my cane.

I dropped my hands and bent over to pick it up. The woman’s eyes traveled to my cane. “May I help you?” she said kindly.

Her voice sounded close and … not on the other side of a door. A sneaky suspicion hit me and I took a stab in the dark. “There isn’t another door, is there?”

She shook her head. “No honey, there’s only one door into the office. And you’ve gone through it.”
I groaned. Not only did I totally jump to conclusions, I was pushing a non-existent door!

Busying myself with my cane, I swept it forward. The tip came up against something hard. “I’m at the front desk, aren’t I?” Again, I was caught off guard.

“Yes, you are.”

Great. Not exactly the impression I wanted to begin today’s sales pitch with. 

The phone rang at that moment. “I’m the receptionist,” the clerk added unnecessarily and turned to take the call.

Smoothing the cover of my book with my hand, I planned my spiel in my head and waited. The call was actually a good thing because it gave my eyes time to adjust to the interior lighting and objects, including the woman, came into better focus.  “…Thursday at 2:20. I’ve got you down.”

I heard the click of the receiver and cleared my throat. Let’s start over. 

I introduced myself and explained I was the author of the book I was holding. “Is the low vision specialist here today?”

“She’s with a patient now.”

I wet my lips. Who knew how long that would be? I had someone with limited time waiting for me in the car.

“Do you know how long…”

“No, ma’am.”

I launched into a quick Plan B. “How about if I leave my book with you to give to the …” I paused, unsure if I should refer to her as the optometrist, the optician or the ophthalmologist. “… specialist? I’ll write a note explaining the purpose of my visit.”

The receptionist handed me a paper and pen.

Did she think it odd that I pushed handles on doors that didn’t exit but could see to write a note even though I used a cane? 

RP had so many inconsistencies. What did she expect? Should I write it  slowly and painstakingly? Or just write it? 

I hate to admit it but every once in awhile, I put on a bit, as if I needed to somehow prove I was indeed vision-impaired.

Oh brother. I could see the paper just fine. 

I wrote my message, being sure to leave my contact information in it. Perhaps the good doctor would call this very afternoon to say, “Yes, I’d be thrilled to review your book and purchase a copy for my office.” In small towns, people helped each other.

I breathed a silent prayer and gave the woman my penned message.

“The door is straight ahead about six feet. The handle is on the left.”

“Got it!” I turned and walked across the office. This time when I pushed, my hand met with a solid handle and a real door swung open. I walked out, my head high and my cane in front.

As I swept my cane back and forth to reach my friend’s car, a revelation came to me. No one knows exactly where the doors are. We all have to push until we come up against one that really moves.

What did you like about my excerpt? What did it reveal about vision impairment and loss? Did you smile? Grimace? What a-ha moments have you experienced after embarrassing incidents? 

The Non-existent Door
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22 thoughts on “The Non-existent Door

  • July 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    Yeah, isn’t that cool?! You put it so succinctly. 🙂

  • July 27, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I can’t wait to read more.. you’ve got me hooked!

  • July 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    This is a true story correct? I have bad vision but I can’t imagine what it’s like to be almost blind. I’m sure it’s a daily challenge. You’re right, we don’t know where the doors are but we have to keep trying to open them.

  • July 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Yes, Paulette, it’s a true story. 🙂 It’s challenging for sure but life is not boring.
    Hope you enjoyed it!

  • July 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you, Liz! Very encouraging feedback!

  • July 27, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I loved your scene, Amy. I felt your discomfort, your defensive criticism of her handing you paper, and then your sweep to the door having achieved your aim. So brave. I wouldn’t try to sell anyone my book and I can see quite well with my glasses. But then, I don’t live in a small town where everybody cares about each other.

  • July 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Oh, Amy, this is so well done. It’s personal, it’s real, but it’s lighthearted and winsome. This sneak peek is enough to know that your book won’t be a downer. There will be insights, but also friendship, in those pages because we will get to know you.

  • July 28, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Ha ha! Love your last line!
    Why not try to market your books, Francene? You can write query letters from home to various outlets and more importantly, you can query publishers! I think you’re very organized with your time. It would give you a great goal and there is nothing like receiving a letter back, even if you don’t find the right publisher immediately. If you keep at it, you’ll find a publisher. Try it with your favorite book…just take a chance.
    Amy xx

  • July 28, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Thanks, Laura! I was so motivated after reading your feedback. I finished another piece I’d been working on and will send both this one and the new one off to my editor tonight. The new one presents insights as well and reveals a little more about my character. 🙂 I like what you said about friendship.

  • July 28, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Hey Amy,

    I liked this scene very much. I remember reading something similar to this before that you had written. I know this a memoir, but I believe you are a novelist at heart. And the setting and the style in this passage show a lot about the protagonist: you. You must forgive me I’ve been reading one of my textbooks on analyzing fiction for my upcoming English Class. So I’m kind of in that mode right now. LOL

    You know the inconsistencies and “contradictions” that display themselves in RP I believe can at times be the most difficult psychological obstacles for us to overcome. You touched on it here: “Did she think it odd that I pushed handles on doors that didn’t exit but could see to write a note even though I used a cane?” I remember I used to be able to cut our lawn with a riding tractor but needed a cane to cross the street. It always bothered me what these 2 contradictory actions communicated to neighbors. For me, these moments left more scars than crashing into doors, unless of course they were invisible. LOL


  • July 29, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Hi Amy. I see you are posting exerpts of a new book here. I have wanted to write a memoir for years and haven’t known how to go about it. It’s coming up on twenty years since I got sick and I want to write it, but am planning to just do it in parts on my blog instead. Any tips for doing both, I would greatly appreciate. How do you manage to post bits of a book you are planning on writing, on our blog now, if they are to be included in the book later? Thanks.

  • July 29, 2015 at 11:02 am

    ha ha! I think I am going to hear a lot about what you’re reading in your fiction class, which I’m looking forward to! You might be thinking of “When One Door Opens…” That was a funny one! I seem to have a lot of run-ins with doors! LOL. Your sarcasm is much appreciated: “For me these moments left more scars than crashing into doors, unless of course they were invisible.” I love a humorous quip!

  • July 29, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Yes, Kerry. Definitely go for it! Don’t wait any longer to write that memoir!Start Chapter 1 as close to the problem as you can get. Within the first few paragraphs. That first line needs to be compelling so practice with a combination of beginnings. Feel free to email me for more information.
    The purpose of posting bits of a memoir (or any book) is to get readers on board BEFORE it comes out so that when it does, people are already invested in it and have become fans of your writing and the story, in particular. I also use their responses to help gauge if I’m on target with what i want the content to be. I try to post compelling bits of it, and to keep it short enough, just about 800 words.
    Congratulations again on your story coming out in the anthology! Moving ahead in your goals is a good feeling!

  • July 31, 2015 at 6:29 am

    You write well, and I look forward to reading more. I can feel you difficulty and challenge, yet your tone is encouraging and positive making it an enjoyable read. I smiled.

  • August 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Rhonda,
    Thank you! So glad it made you smile!
    How is your walking going? Are you still on target with your goals?

  • August 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Well done Amy!! I like your response to Kerry’s question on the book writing process and how you post bits while writing. This is helpful to me as well because I’ve been procrastinating but you’ve given me some ideas. Thank you.

  • August 5, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Hi Stephanae,
    So glad to hear you have some new ideas.
    If you’re looking for beta readers, let me know!

  • August 6, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Hi Amy,

    I’m putting together a list as I write this response to you and you are definitely on it!! Thank you.

  • August 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    You’re welcome, Steph!
    Looking forward to reading what you have!!

  • August 8, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Great story, Amy. I met another woman traveling with a cane. She was on a trip to Alaska this past week. I told her about your book: Mobility Matters. She seems to have the same determination to get and go that you have. Blessings, sk

  • August 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you and for telling the woman about my book, SuZan!
    It’s great she can go to Alaska! I,too, want to go there. My aunt raves about it.
    Have a great day!

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