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“Oww!” Tears started running down my cheeks. The pain was excruciating; nothing new to me, but still excruciating. “Mary, you have to be more careful!” I could tell my mother was panicked. She almost tripped, herself, running to my rescue. She scooped me up and rested me gently in the backseat of the car; I’m still not sure how. I was an average sized ten year old at the time. The drive to hospital was a blur to me. My mom was lecturing me on something about safety and when and when not I should wear socks, but I was only focusing on the scarlet red blood dripping down my leg. With a single glance at my knees, the doctor told me I would need stitches, twelve to be exact. All I could think was, again? The emergency room doctors already have memorized my name. It was my fourth time getting stitches in the past year. I watched television and sucked on a Popsicle as they sewed up my knees. Besides the needles in my legs, I was actually in a good mood. My parents? Not so much. That evening I felt like everywhere I looked scolds were shooting through me. Okay, yes I had fallen again, but maybe our floors were just abnormally slippery! Actually, most of our house is carpeted.
That night when my mom tucked me in she told me how I have to stop doing dumb things like this. Even though she knows I’m just naturally clumsy, it just means I have to stay balanced. She ended our talk with a kiss on my forehead telling me she was mainly glad that I was safe and okay. School the next day was frustrating. There are six girls in my class who call themselves the “Sparkle Crew.” (I think their name is pretty lame and stupid for a bunch of ten year olds.) They are the “popular” girls, and everyone (except me) practically bows down to them. The day after my latest accident, Alicia, the head “sparkle,” started telling everyone that it was a fake and I just wanted attention. This bothered me, a lot. But what was worse, is she kept trying to trip me and make me look even clumsier then I actually was. My mom always told me to inform my teacher if someone was being mean and fought with me. That day, all that I was thinking about was that it was my battle to fight. Until the end of the week, I took her insults with a smile. I could tell this bothered her, but I knew it was exactly what I was supposed to do.
After school when I saw my mom, I remembered to have her sign a permission slip because the school was giving everyone eye tests. I was kind of excited because I have never had that done to me before, and from the amount of television that I have watched, eye tests looked pretty cool. The next afternoon, when they called our names alphabetically, I wasn’t nervous. Maybe I should have been. Each time a student came back into the classroom they had a colorful sticker on their chest and were holding a pink note in their hands. Now I was really excited. After what seemed like an eternity, I heard my name over the loud speaker. “Mary Gallop!” The woman did not sound very sincere, but I honestly didn’t really care. I got into room 14A and a young looking nurse told me her name and about the easy test I was going to take. All I had to do was say the letters on the line that she asked.
“Line one please.”
“Yes ma’am,” I cleared my throat. The letters were very, very small. I figured that they just had that line there to see if my vision was abnormally amazing or something. So I read what I saw, even though what I really saw was a bunch of mushy lines. “G, L, M, C, Z, Q, P, T.”
The letters still looked blurry.
“G, R, A, W, U, Y, S, H.”
“Lastly, line six please.”
The letters were large compared to the other lines even though still tremendously small.
“B, V, X, K, E, I, N.”
“Thank you Mary, in this envelope is a note for you parents, not you. That means your parents should open it, not you.”
“Yes Miss...” I forgot her name.
“Yes Miss Sloan.” When I left 14A and my hands were trembling. Not only did I have a clean, white envelope, different from the pink note that all of the other students had gotten, but she also had forgotten to give me a sticker.
After school I made sure I was right behind my mother when she opened the envelope, but even right behind her shoulder I couldn’t see the words. She turned around to face me and kneeled down to my level. “Someone needs glasses.” She said it with a smirk on her face. I, however, was not so excited. She read on and her smile turned to a more concerned, puzzled look. She called my father into the kitchen and walked out, probably so I wouldn’t eavesdrop on their conversation. I became worried.
That night when my parents called me into their bedroom and sat me down on top of their bed (where they usually run our family talks) I anticipated almost exactly what they told me.
“Mary, your eye sight is bad, in fact, horrible.” My dad continued on. “Your scores on the eye test where in the fifth percentile for kids your age. You are going to need glasses.” The room was dead silent for what seemed like forever. I broke the silence.
“And you thought I was clumsy.” I smiled and skipped out of the room. I am pretty sure my dad smiled, too.
I didn’t know what an optometrist was until I had an appointment with one myself. The office was nice with colorful magazines neatly arranged on a glass coffee table. When I went to grab one my mother looked at me with an “I don’t think so” kind of glare. I backed off quickly. A nurse with brightly colored scrubs called my name and walked my mother and me to a room with scary, shiny equipment. I started to feel my heart jump inside my chest a little, but I calmed down when my mom rubbed my back. The doctor was very nice. She was gentle and explained exactly what she was going to do to my eyes before she did anything. Everything went smoothly and the doctor just reinforced exactly what we knew. I could barely see. She wrote a prescription and explained how it may be beneficial if I start with contacts because they would improve my eye sight more than just glasses. My mom figured she was a smart woman and took her suggestion. We scheduled an appointment for the next week for me to get my new contacts.
It was a sunny day when school was out the next week. The car ride to the doctors was pleasant and I had a smile on my face from ear to ear. At the optometrist we didn’t have to wait for long. This time when the nurse with the colorful scrubs took me back to my room, she carried a small box. We sat down in the little, square room and I put on contacts for the first time, with a little assistance from the nurse. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I saw my mom sitting on a little chair in this little room looking little, and innocent. And today, for the first time, I really saw her. I ran to her in a bear hug and together tears started running down our cheeks. “I can see.”