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“It’s permanent,” The doctor said sadly looking at the results of the test, “And I’m afraid it will only get worse from here.”
“Is there anything we can do to prolong it any longer?” The father asked.
“I’m afraid not. For right now Fagan will need to continue wearing glasses in order to see, but as time goes on…”
“I see.” The father sighed running his fingers though his hair, “Thank you doctor. Let’s go home Fagan.”
The teen nodded, hopping off the examining room table. He was actually perfectly fine with what was happening to him. It wasn’t like he was dying or anything. And sure the situation wasn’t ideal. But he couldn’t figure out why his parents were freaking out so badly. His mom had even stopped coming to his appointments.
“You want to grab something to eat on the way in?” his dad asked.
“Sure.” He grumbled. It’s not that he didn’t like hanging out with his dad. Well he did, but it was only as of late. He was always giving Fagan pity eyes and, “Ow!” He walked into a light pole.
“Oh my God! Fagan are you alright?” His dad was immediately at his side.
“I’m okay.” He groaned.
“I didn’t see the pole in front of me.”
“You’re bleeding!” Yeah, his dad was panicking now.
“It’s a small cut.” He said simply, “not that big of a deal.”
“Let’s just get you home so we can take care of that.”
“What happened to getting something to eat?”
“Your mom would kill me if I kept you out any longer. How about we order something when we get in, alright?”
“Fine.” He sighed as he ducked into the car, making sure his head was low enough so he didn’t hit his head on the car, like last week.
“What happened?” His mom asked the moment he walked in.
“He walked into a pole.” His dad answered.
“I’m fine.” Fagan insisted as his mom sat him down and started to disinfect and put a bandage on the cut. “It doesn’t even hurt.”
“Sweetheart, just let me do this.”
“Mom I’m seventeen years old. I don’t need you to baby me.”
“Fagan.” It was a warning.
“Can I go over to Brian’s after this?”
“How about you call him and see if he can come over here. I really don’t want you out on your own right now; and I’m sure he’ll understand, until you get better.”
“Mom, the doctor said that it’s permanent.” He didn’t say it to be snotty or rude; he just thought that she should know. Now, he knew she would be upset but he wasn’t prepared for the scream she let out. It wasn’t a scream like she was hurt, but you could tell she was in pain.
She grabbed him and pulled him into a tight hug, crying, saying something along the lines of “my baby, my poor baby”. He hugged her back, trying to comfort her, though he couldn’t find the right thing to say. “I’m sorry.” She said, and he couldn’t tell if she was referring to his condition or the sudden break down.
“It’s alright. I’m going to call Brian and see if he can come over.”
“What did the doctor say?” Brian asked, him and Fagan were, more or less, hanging out. The T.V was on and they order a pizza that was currently sitting on the table. But they haven’t really been talking.
“I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
“Then what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know,” sighed, “I just wanted someone who wouldn’t give me the sad look that I’ve been getting from my parents. They keep acting like I’m dying.”
“You aren’t, are you?”
“Good.” Brian nodded, “You’re not scared or anything?”
“It’s a gradual change; I don’t even notice it for the most part. Besides, when ever it gets bad I just get new prescription glasses.”
“Speaking of which, I’ve been trying not to say anything but, those glasses are huge.” Brian snickered only to get a punch in the arm.
“It’s not funny.”
“Yeah, it is. You already stuck out with that red hair of yours. But those things, what are they thick rimed bifocals?”
“Yes, they are.”
“Dude, you look like an old man. You even squint when you’re wearing them.” Brian continued to laugh bracing himself on Fagan shoulder and was clutching his gut.
Fagan’s stomached fluttered from the contact. For some reason everyone had a thing for touching him lately, under the impression that a comforting touch heals all. But this was the first time, in a long time, that he actually felt some form of comfort. Brian wasn’t treating him like he was some fragile doll like everyone else has. He treated him like nothing had changed. “Are you done yet?” He asked in mock annoyance.
“Kind of,” He leaned off of Fagan still snickering every now and then. “Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
The first thing he noticed was that everything was a blur, way worse then yesterday. So he reached for his glasses. But nothing happened. He sucked in a breath, trying not to freak out. This has never happened before. Normally the doctor would give his a new prescription before he needed it just so that he had it on stand by.
He stumbled out of bed, hands in front of him till he felt a wall, and slowly made it out of his room and down the hallway. Then there was nothing again and he almost fell, yet somehow he managed to realize he was by the stairs and grip the banister in enough time. “Breath, just breath.” He told himself as he went down the stairs cautiously trying not to fall. He made it to the bottom and found nothing else he could use to follow. Now he had two choices, sit on the stairs and wait for his parents or… “Mom, Dad!” he called and soon heard the sound of feet coming his way.
“What’s wrong sweetheart?” It was his mom.
“Did the doctor call about a new prescription or…”
“No he hasn’t. He said that he gave you the strongest one he had last time, remember?”
“Is something wrong?”
“I-I can barely see anything.” He admitted.
“You know what,” his mom cleared her throat in an attempt to keep her voice even, “Why don’t I call him and see if there is something else he can do. They might of just over looked something.”
She took his hands and slowly guided him into the living room and sat him on the couch, while she called the doctor, who said he couldn’t do anything more, but did suggest getting him a cane for the time being. She asked him if he was okay and he said yes as she excused herself and went into the kitchen to make breakfast.
The thing that sucks about losing one of your senses is that it makes the other four stronger. So he could very distinctly make out the sounds of his mom crying in the other room.
“You seem to be taking this all in stride.” Brian pointed out. They were basically in the same position as last time. “How much longer do you think it will last?”
“I’d give it a few days.”
“So, you’ll be blind, completely blind?” Brian asked in disbelief.
Brian just nodded and was quiet for a while. “Remember that time, when you we were little and we used to play connect the dots with your freckles, and your mom would freak out when ever she saw what we drew on you, again. Or that time ice sickles formed on the side of the house, and in the dark you said it kind of looked like the jaws of a wolf or something. And that time we saw that shooting star…” Brian nudged him a bit trying to remind him of the good times, to get his mind off of the problem at hand
A lump started to form in Fagan’s throat and his stomach stared to twist and flop. He shook a little at the realization that he may never… “Oh god,” tears started to flow freely now.
“Fagan, what’s wrong?” Fagan just shook his head. It was bad enough that he was crying in front of someone, he wasn’t just going to open up and explain all of his fears and weakness. “Fagan,” he was suddenly embraced by who he could only assume was Brian. “It’s going to be alright.” Brian was rubbing soothing circles on Fagan’s back trying to calm him down. Though, Fagan just seemed to be getting more and more hysterical as he let out all of the pent up anxiety from the past year or so. All of his fears coming out in a wailing scream.
“What’s going…?” Fagan’s dad came in when he heard the yell. He stood in the doorway and just watched for a bit before he walked away knowing Fagan wouldn’t want an audience.
“It’s going to be alright.” Brian soothed and Fagan cried harder, his vision started to blur worse than it already was. “Just let it out, I got you.” They stayed like that for awhile after Fagan calmed down. “Feeling any better?”
“No.” he admitted, trying to focus on seeing the table that he knew was in front of him. He stretched a bit his arms going above his head, not realizing that he almost hit Brian in the head. “My mom got me a cane this morning.”
“I was trying to figure out why that thing was there. Is it too early for old man jokes?”
“Way too early.”
“You know that you’ll all but look like a cripple old man with a bad a back.” He could here Brian laughing, and could see the weird blob that he could only assume was Brian. And he couldn’t help but feel that he was missing something now that he couldn’t see Brian’s crooked smile or the way his eye crinkled when he laughed.
He was missing everything.
“You’re not going to even try to learn brail.” Brian sighed, looking over at his friend who was sitting next to him, arms crossed in front of his chest. There was a book sitting on his lap that he was refusing to touch.
“Why should I? I’ve been trying for months and I can only recognize K, V, Q, X, and J. And those are the least used letters in the English language.” Fagan huffed. He was officially blind as of five weeks ago, and had adjusted to things better than everyone thought he would. The one thing that his parents were having trouble with him with was getting him to learn how to read brail.
When they first learned that he was losing his sight, they stared to teach him brail. But he stopped after he became too frustrated with it. Now he needed to learn it, and he still refused. So they called Brian, hoping he could talk some since into him.
“That may be true but, you love to read. Sure you can’t see words anymore but you can still read.”
“Don’t try and sweet talk me.” Fagan huffed.
“I’m not; I’m just trying to convince you to do what you know you should do, while making sure not to call you stupid. If anything I’ve been complimenting you.” Brian shrugged. “Now try a bit harder.” He threw the book in Fagan’s lap.
Fagan sighed opening the book, “This is the A’s, right?”
Brian glanced down at the page. “Yup.”
“Did you know it’s completely and totally impossible to explain to a blind person what color is?”
“How so?” Brian asked.
“If they’ve never seen anything before, you can’t have them relate the image that you try to give them to anything else. So if you were to try and tell them what the color purple is…”
“A mix of red and blue,” Brian corked a brow.
“But they don’t know what red or blue is so they can’t understand what your talking about.”
“How long have you’ve been sitting around and thinking about this?”
“They’re nothing else for me to do.”
“If you actually took the time to use that cane you probably could. There are blind people who live normal lives, doing all the things normal people do.”
“What do you mean normal?”
“Don’t try to change the subject. You know what I mean.”
“No, I don’t Brian, how about you explain it.”
“Generally people aren’t blind. And you know I didn’t mean the way it sounded.”
“Look, I get your upset about everything but, you don’t have to take it out on me.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I’m sorry about yesterday.” Fagan sighed.
“I know, I wouldn’t have come back here other wise.”
“I am sorry, thing have just been hard lately and…”
“You don’t have to explain it to me.” Brian pated his head, “I forgive you.”
“I hate that I’m stuck like this.” He growled scrubbing his face with his hands, “I keep tripping over everything. My dad has this habit of leaving his shoes everywhere.”
“Why don’t you use your cane?”
“Because, I hate the sound of it tapping against the wood.” He sighed, “Besides I feel old when I use it.”
“If it’s the old man jokes getting to you, I didn’t mean them I was just trying to lighten the mood.”
“It’s not the jokes, okay part of it was the joke, but I have to hunch over in order to use it and…”
“Wait,” Brian cut Fagan off, “You do know that there is a gage on the side to make it longer or shorter?”
“Give me your cane.” Brian played with the knobs on the side a bit, “Stand up real quick.” He said then commenced to adjust it to Fagan’s height, “That better?”
“Much, thanks.” They sat back down.
“What’s it’s like out side?”
“Sunny. You would know that if you went outside.”
“Not this again.” Fagan grumbled reaching for the book on the table in front of him. He opened it gingerly counting the pages as he turned till he got to the one he was pretty sure was the one he left on.
“You’re working on your brail again?”
“Yes, I have nothing else to do, I thought so it wouldn’t hurt.”
“You made it all the way to the L’s? Can you actually recognize all of the letters before that or are you just skipping around?”
“I know A-L; it wasn’t that hard after I actually wanted to learn it.”
“I get the point, you were right and I was wrong.”
“Did you hear about Shay and Seth?” Brian asked one day.
“No, why, are they dating or something?”
“No. Shay got checked into a mental institute for self harming. Well, she checked herself in actually. And a little bit after she got out, Seth tried to commit suicide. He’s been institutionalized for almost two months now.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“Because I didn’t know.”
“We both know that’s a lie you and Seth are like brothers, and Seth is really close to Shay. There is no way you wouldn’t have known.”
“I didn’t want to stress you out. It was all going on around the time you went blind and…”
“How’s Shay?” Fagan cut him off.
“All things considered she’s doing really well. She’s worried about Seth right now, we all are, but we’re all just hoping for the best.”
They fell into an awkward silence. It was the fact that the silence was awkward that made it awkward. Normally, even when they chose to be quite it was never this tense. But lately, the room had started to grow tense every time they got like this. It was almost as if there was something left unsaid that they wanted to say but couldn’t.
“I-I…” his voice caught in his through.
“What’s wrong?” Brian was worried now.
“I can’t remember what you look like, or anyone for that matter. I can’t…”
“Shhh,” Brian took Fagan into his arms trying to comfort him, “It’s going to be okay.” He rocked him gently.
“No, no it’s not! I thought I could get over this, but I can’t, Brian.” He looked up were he thought his friend was.
“Fagan, you’ll get used to it, it’s not the end of the world.”
“I know, I know, things will seem really bad for a while and then it’s not so bad, but there are times when I wake up and panic because I can’t see anything. And on top of that I’m afraid of the dark.” He confessed. “It’s like a nightmare everyday of my life.”
“Living in a nightmare is what makes you get over your fear.”
“Life isn’t a fortune cookie.”
“But it’s better when you think it is.”
Fagan gave him that, your stupid, look, “Thanks,” he sighed resting his head on Brian’s chest. “I didn’t mean to freak out on you I just…”
“Fagan, what you’re going through a difficult time right now. It’s completely natural to freak out.”
“Don’t beat yourself up over it.” They stayed there for a while, Fagan falling asleep against Brian.
An awkward silence settled over the duo. Again. Fagan was reading a book, now that he finally learned to read brail, and Brian was watching the T.V. “Fagan?”
“What would you say, if I told you I was gay?”
“Answer the question, please.”
“I wouldn’t care.” Fagan decided. “We’ve been friends for too long for that to matter.”
“What if I told you,” he gulped “That, I was in love with you?”
“W-what?” Fagan sputtered.
“What if I said…?”
“I caught that part. Are you in love with me or is it just a hypothetical.”
“I…Fagan,” Brian took Fagan’s hands in his, “I felt this way for a really long time and… I tried to hold it in for so long, to tell myself that what I was feeling was wrong, but Fagan. The more I spend time with you the more I fall in love with you.” His voice was nothing but a whisper now.
Fagan sighed, letting out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He could feel Brian’s breathe fanning his face, and could tell just how close they were from the heat radiating off of Brian’s chest, and he shivered.
“Is it alright,” he heard Brian gulp, “Is it alright if I kiss you?” And Fagan could only nod dumbly. He felt Brian shift forward and a hand suddenly threaded it’s self though his hair causing him to whimper Brian’s name. He was silenced shortly after, when Brian’s lips met his in a gentile caress. Both arms came up to wrap around Brian’s neck and another one was on his lower back. It wasn’t a hot and heavy kiss; it was a light and sweet touch.
Fagan jolted awake. Did he really just dream that? And it was so real it still felt like Brian was still holding him, still kissing him… He flopped back down on his bed. This would explain a lot though. It explain why he got butterfly’s in his stomach every time Brian was around, why only Brian could calm him down and why he always found himself waiting restlessly for Brian to come over.
He sighed, putting his hands on his face. How had this happened and what was he going to do about it.
“You’re acting a bit skittish today. Did something happen?”
“No, just had this weird dream, I could read brail.” That part wasn’t a lie. He still hadn’t memorized the last seven letters, so it made no sense that he was reading a book.
“Right…” he heard Brian shift back to face the T.V. Fagan let out a breath of relief. He flipped open his book to the U’s slowly dragging his fingers over the little bumps trying to memorize the feel of the letter.
“What if I told you I was gay?”
Fagan froze this seemed familiar somehow. “Are you?”
“Fagan, answer the question please?”
“I wouldn’t care. We’ve been friends for too long for something like that to matter.”
“Fagan…I’m gay. I just, you’re my best friend so I wanted to tell you.”
“Alright.” He could feel Brian’s eyes on him.
“You really don’t care.” He could here Brian doing that weird smirk smile thing he does when he’s happy beyond comprehension.
“I just said that.”
“Fagan, you have no idea how much I love you.” He sighed out. “I haven’t told the others yet. I probably won’t tell them until things start to blow over.”
“How did you know?”
“That you were gay. I mean, did you just know or…”
Brian shifted a bit uncomfortably, “Self exploration really, I never had any kind of attraction to girls. At first I thought it was “normal” to think girls were “icky” but as time went on, you get the point. Then I had my first crush.” Fagan knew Brian was blushing with embarrassment. “I sat down and basically talked myself through everything, cried a little and just kind of accepted it. So I told my parents and my dad just waved it off saying that I was the last one to know.”
“They don’t care?”
“They kind of do and kind of don’t at the same time. It’s weird.” A pause, “There is one more thing I want to tell you…if that’s alright.”
“I think,” He heard Brian gulp, “I know,” he corrected himself; “I like you. I have for a while now and I’m not expecting you to like me back, I just wanted you to know.”
“Brian…” he knew he was blushing too but couldn’t help it. He could feel Brian’s eyes on him, watching for a reaction.
“Is it alright, if I kiss you?” he apparently saw what Fagan was trying not to show.
“I, Brian…” he nodded; this was way too similar to his dream. Brian’s hand was in his hair and the other hand was on his back, pulling him closer. Their foreheads rested together, Fagan’s arms coming to wrap around Brian’s neck as they both let out a shaky sigh. Brian gently closed the gap between them. It was just a peck, but it left Fagan breathless. “Brian,” they kissed again and this time Fagan felt it, it was like he was sinking in Brian’s arms. “Brian,” he’d been falling for him for so long he didn’t even notice it.