In the waiting room at the ophthalmologist’s office, an elderly gentleman in a suit and tie handed me a pamphlet.
“Would you like this?” he asked, gently.
The cover showed a hand extending out to another hand and the text read, “When will the suffering end?”
“No thank you,” I said. He slowly pulled the pamphlet away.
He and his wife, dressed conservatively in a sweater and long skirt and sensible shoes, mumbled something to each other and looked away.
Proselytizing in the doctor’s office? I’ve never encountered this before. Granted, he was demure and soft-sell. Still, I found it bizarre.
Perhaps I struck him as ungodly because of the color of my nails.
The shade is “Sapphires in the Snow,” by OPI. I had a manicure yesterday, was in a Goth kind of mood.
The old man doesn’t know anything about me: that I was a devout Catholic up until my teens, that I even considered being a nun for all of third grade, that I read a thick book about the lives of the saints. Besides, it’s none of his business.
Was it because I was texting my husband? Does that a heathen make? I was a bit nervous about the eye appointment.
Then I realized he might not be proselytizing for Jesus at all. Perhaps he and his wife are Kevorkian-ites, advocating assisted suicide. Now I can get behind that. “When will the suffering end” could refer to euthanasia as well.
Maybe he thought I was going blind and that my life was no longer of value. Or was that what I was thinking and being an Empath, he picked up on my thoughts? Then the doctor called out a name, and he and his wife exited the waiting room and followed the doctor.
Anyway, I’m not going blind, but I have had floaters for the past two weeks along with dizziness and headaches, and thought it best to have it checked out. No retinal tears, no detached retina—all good.
I’m feeling a bit sensitive, and starting to wonder what was inside the pamphlet the elderly man wanted me to read.
Leaving the clinic, the sun blinded me—pupils dilated—and I had to shield my eyes while crossing the street. It made me feel vulnerable. What would it feel like to be blind, to need a seeing eye dog? Without contact lenses or glasses, the world is a fog to me. All smudged borders and indistinguishable faces. Keith Haring-esque.
What is my purpose? It felt unclear as I continued the journey east towards my office, shielding my eyes, squinting to see.