Glaucoma

A Short Story

By Ibanez


He was at work – busy, when he felt a pain on his eyelids. He asked someone to look at them, but they did not have the time, so he asked someone else. “You have glaucoma,” the second person said, “you must buy an eye cream today or your eyes won’t last the night.”

All of a sudden he was intensely aware of the pain on his eyelids. He removed his glasses, the nibs of which seemed to stick at his lids, pulling them and widening their cuts as he did so. He must not put on his glasses again. The pain of taking them off, even of wearing them, was excruciating.  Just to make sure he would not feel the need to wear them, he poked out the lenses so that all he carried were the empty frames. But then how was he to drive home? He would think about that later. 

“I have to leave.” He said to the work person in distraught tones. He was weeping through what he could only see with his mind’s eye as blood-stained eyes. The work person expressed an obligatory kind of sympathy, and the work waited smugly on his desk.

He fumbled through his desk, searching for his car keys and some phone numbers. He must cancel an appointment tonight so that he could go to the eye hospital. He put on his glasses to aid his search. Immediately a searing pain shot through them. Slowly, with the utmost caution, he peeled them off his eyes, shot through with pain as the nibs pulled open their imaginary cuts wider and wider. His eyes must be red and welted, he thought, glancing at the people in his workplace, but they only drifted about, hardly aware of his presence. 

He tumbled outside, now looking intently at the people he came across to see if they would react to the horrendous sight of his eyes, but if they noticed, they did not express concern. He placed on his glasses when he reached the car park and immediately they clung onto his eyelids, seeming to feed off their wounds. He again suffered excruciating pain as he cautiously peeled them off. Stumbling forward in pain, he saw his car through tear-stained vision. He could not drive. He could not put on his glasses again. 

Just then, another person from work appeared with her family. They were climbing into their car. She seemed aware of his need and behaved as if it were obvious that they would give him a lift. “Where do you stay?” he asked, and she told him the street. He got into the car, next to the child, who wailed horribly as he rested his arm on the chair behind it. 

At home he wandered automatically to the post box to check if there was mail. He placed on his glasses. This time the pain was unbearable. The plastic nibs seemed to tear at the flesh of his eyes as he peeled them off. He must rush to the hospital at once. He searched for his mother inside. Thankfully she noticed their awful condition, for she reacted with some concern upon looking at him. 

“We must go to the hospital immediately” he said, “You must drive me there. They have some cream that will fix it.” Yes, if only he could get that cream. He would baste his eyes with it, and rest them the whole night, and, at all costs, avoid putting on his glasses. 

They got outside, but his mother took her time getting the car started. She did not seem to feel the urgency of the situation. He kicked at the garden furniture, swearing snidely at his mother’s tardiness. Hurriedly he put on his glasses. Pain, sticky and violent, raked at his eyes. The nibs ate into the flesh of his eyelids. This time they stuck so fastly to his growing wounds that one of them broke off, with one piece still clinging to his eyelid. He tried to remove it, and it tumbled into his eye. He groped for the piece of plastic, wincing with pain as his finger touched his eye. There, he removed it. He was filled with anger at his own folly. His hand slowly clenched, threatening to crush his empty glasses frame, but he refrained.

The pain at his eyes was constant. He remembered little of the drive to the hospital. He might have even put on his glasses again. At the hospital, his mother seemed to finally grasp the gravity of the situation. Though the doctors would work at it all night, they would be unable to save his eyes.