An Offer Of -?

I'm sure she thought it was something that I'd like to hear. Perhaps she expected me to leap at the chance, to never turn down something that would change my life so dramatically. Maybe it was her idea that I would burst into tears of joy upon hearing of this, and never be miserable again.

Whatever Mum thought, she didn't expect my real reaction - she didn't expect what should have been obvious. Evidently, she doesn't really know me as well as she thinks she does. 

If I hadn't been a thinker I would have been pleased, I think. I wouldn't have thought about the bad things, and would have instantly wanted this chance. But because I had had so much time in my life to reflect and philosophise, I was less than enthusiastic.

Reader, I know I'm rather a roundabout sort of storyteller. I'm sorry, that's just the way I am. I also know that I talk about music a lot. That's because from the moment that violin entered my life, music has been everything to me - it's been my very existence. It occupies my thoughts and my time and my words. But there is more to me than that; I am more than just a violinist.

On this particular day, I was having a crisis. I was sitting at the kitchen table, with Mum's words echoing in my head as though they would never stop. They could make you see, Mark. You could live a normal life. You could see, don't you understand?

So hopeful was her voice that it was almost painful to refuse. "I won't have the operation."

She didn't understand. "But Mark, this is everything you've ever wanted. You've got the chance to be a teenager like everyone else, able to see the sky and the books you love. You wouldn't have to stay at home all day, with only your violin for company." The wrong thing to say - I loved Elenora as I would never love anything else. "I know you're fond of music but it would be such an opportunity!"

"I don't want the op," I repeated. "Look, Mum, you can't possibly understand because you've never been what I have been all my life - blind. Can't you imagine what I feel? I've been imagining the colours and what things look like and people's faces all my life. I've been imagining my room from what I can feel, and I've got a picture in my head that's probably completely and utterly wrong. But if I could see ... if I could see, then the world I lived in would not be the same world that has housed me for all these years."

A long silence. "I don't understand." And I sighed, because I knew that was true. I could never explain to her satisfaction. How could anyone possibly comprehend what I thought? I had  world in my mind. I didn't want to see the real one.

"Just let it go. I'm not having the operation." Again there was a silence.

"I think we should talk to your father about this. He was overjoyed when he heard. He really thought it would be the best thing for you. We never dreamed that you wouldn't want to see."

"Just let it go." More firmly this time, with more finality. I got up and stared at her, my empty eyes fixed on a face I couldn't see. "Just - let - it - go." And she did. She left. I heard the door shut and her footsteps disappearing down the hall, so that she was soon out of earshot, but not before I heard her strangled sob. Suddenly, I felt terrible.

But I wouldn't live in an unfamiliar world when this one was only just becoming my sanctuary. 

The End

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