Eyes Open

May 20, 2012
“There’s nothing to worry about. It’s all okay,” I could hear my sister say to me in a voice that wasn’t normal. It was higher, and louder. I couldn’t see her, which was normal, but there was more depth in it. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see the darkness that was always there. I couldn’t see white or grey, I couldn’t see anything. And my hearing began to fade, too. All I heard was Susan’s unsteady voice echoing in my ears.

“Why does it keep happening?”

“It’s usual for people with her cond—”

“Since when? According to who?”

“Our records. Please, if you would just listen for a moment, I will assure you that it is nothing abnormal. Leah should be having these bl—”

“Oh, so she should be having these blackouts? This is normal? This is supposed to happen? This is not all right! She is suffering, and all you people do is give her medications to help with the pain that doesn’t subside one bit!”

“Ms. Summer, please. I do not distribute the medications, that is Dr. After’s job. I’m sorry for the—”

“Is she conscious?”

“No, I believe she is still in the prescribed coma.”

“Leah is my little sister. She is my responsibility, she is my duty, and she is my life. I only have her. She is just twelve, and I can’t lose her. I cannot become more distant from her.”

“I am very aware of this, Ms. Summer.”

“Well, thank you for this wonderful day, Dr. Mason.”

I woke up, groggy and tired. I opened up my mouth to talk, but my mouth was dry and my lips were cracked. I could taste the familiar anti-penchant of iron on my jaws. My eyes fluttered open, and the first thing I saw was light. I gasped.

I felt Susan’s hand grip my wrist. “I know,” Her tone was overjoyed. “Leah, you can see again.”

“I can… I am not…” I felt around for the right words, but they couldn’t come out. The world around me was breathtaking. I saw the white sheets of the hospital bed, the teddy bears painted on the walls, the red and yellow balloons tied to the headrest on the bed. Then I turned to Susan, and I cried out in joy. I saw my sister. I finally knew what she looked like. I had dreamt of her for so many years, but she was so different in person then she would ever be in my mind. She had perfect golden blonde hair that flowed over her shoulders, deep blue eyes that looked ever so genuine, a small body and the biggest, whitest smile you would ever see. Tears flowed down her face. I saw she clutched a mirror in her hand. I reached for it and she reluctantly held it out to me. I took it, and held it in front of my face. I was a spitting image of Susan. Same hair and length, same eyes, same body. Same tears. I touched my face, I touched my lips and teeth, I touched my hair and tugged my ear. I ran my hands down my arms and neck. It was amazing. I had always breathed, but the breath I took in now was better than anything in the world. But then I saw my eyes again. I saw the stitches that ran around my eyes, and I realized the difference between Susan and me. Her eyes were a sparkling blue. But mine were a dark, frightening brown.

Five years have passed since I regained my vision. No one could tell I had changed except for the few closer people who could see the scars around my eyes sockets. Also the people who asked if I was wearing colored contacts. I would always nod no and they would walk away confused, but I wasn’t about to tell them that I had gotten my eyes surgically ripped out and replaced with some 18-year-old girl who was killed in a car accident.

I was seventeen, athletic and outgoing, ready to go off to the state of Illinois and learn at Northwestern University, part scholarship. I wasn’t ready to leave my sister, or her new husband Jeff and their daughter, my niece, Taylor. They had created a family that I lived in. Susan and Jeff were like my parents, and little Taylor was like my sister. She clomped up to me in her Barbie plastic heels, her ballerina outfit straps slipping over her shoulders, her blonde hair pooling neatly onto her shoulders, her big blue eyes looking up at me pleadingly.

“Leah, Leah,” She whispered. “Don’t leave. Don’t leave me.”

I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to look strong for her, but I couldn’t help it. She was so amazing, I couldn’t hide my feelings. I let tears fall down my cheeks as I fell to my knees and held her close to me.

“I know, Tay. I know.” I told her. “I’m so sorry. I love you, Tay. I don’t want to leave either.”

I could feel Susan watching us. I heard a little sob from her too. Taylor was bawling by the time Susan had wrapped her arms around all of us. I had already lived a quarter of my life and I had only seen eight percent of it. There was no way I would miss this moment. I refused to blink. I kept my eyes open.


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