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It was the middle of June, a warm but refreshing day. I walked outside like never before. Not the way I walked, but what I saw. I stopped to look at everything around me. The tiny, yet showy birds, the looming green trees, the lone puffy, white, cloud in the sky, even my reflection in the window of the building next door. A young girl, thin, but only average in height gazed back. I studied her brown-blonde hair pulled into loose braids and her thick lips. Her ears stuck out a little, and her nose didn't have a word to accurately describe it, other than 'normal'. She smiled a little, but I couldn't miss the wonder and amazement in her hazel eyes. I turned back around, and gazed in wonder at the world before me. I kept watching, hoping to stare forever. I slowly turned around to look back at my reflection. I carefully scanned her eyes again. But instead of seeing the girl doing what I did, I saw her squint back, as if she couldn't see me. She seemed as though she wanted to tell me something important, but before I understood completely, I began to see other memories. Confused, I waited to remember what the memories had to do with now. Suddenly, I remembered, and internally begged myself not to go any farther with the past. But too late, I stood helplessly as my brain pulled a dark screen over my pleading eyes.

My heart pounded as I ran blindly down the empty hallway of my school. It wasn't a fast run, rather a messy jog. The lockers blurred into blue walls and the floor was a mess of brown and white tiles. They all molded together into a swirling lump. I tripped over my own feet after my bleary eyes miscalculated how far away the ground was, again. I stopped to lean against one of the thin blue lockers and cry. I was supposed to turn left and go back to the classroom, but no one expected me back for a few minutes so I didn't bother.

'Stupid, stupid, stupid! Who cares about that test? It's not my fault that I couldn't tell what it said! Who hired those jerks anyway?'

My head was pounding from the inside out, and it felt like something was trying to squish my brains out through my ears. I felt goo running down my throat as I tried to keep walking. My nose was dripping, but I didn't really care. I continued to cry, as I had just been embarrassed in front of the whole class.

'What kind of jerk has the heart to make me go first when she already knows I won't be able to do what she wants? She could have just easily said that it was okay and I should try a different row. But no, no way could she have done that. She had to say "Wow, that's really bad". What did she want me to do? "Thanks, Ms. Thanks for just telling everyone that I can't see!'

Just as I was turning to go to wash my face in the bathroom, the principal appeared from behind and called out to me. He had brownish skin, and one of those neat little black mustaches. His curly black hair was short, but it still managed to look a little bit messy. He had dark brown eyes that sparkled mischievously when he talked. He was normally cheery and friendly, but then again I only talked to him a few times. I knew he thought I was a good person, so I wasn't quite as afraid. But in spite of his appearance, I braced myself for a lecture about running away. You could expect any principal to lecture you for just about anything. He probably already knew about what had happened.

"What happened?" his voice didn't sound annoyed or shocked, but concerned, "Are you all right? Explain." He handed me a much needed tissue from his pocket, and I blew my nose. Comforted that he wasn't angry that I had been running in the hall, but still nervous, I began to recall what had happened.

"Well," I started, as my voice shook violently, "Our class was going to the office, to have our eyes checked," He nodded his head, he already knew that much because he had told us over the intercom to come to the testing room.

"And, well, the eye lady chose me to go first, just because I was sitting closer to her or something. I think she already knew that my vision wasn't very good at all, though."

I paused to remember the trip I had taken earlier this year to get my eyes checked at our school, but when no one else was there. We went one by one. The lady, I recalled that she had long, thick, dark brown hair with red and lighter brown highlights in it. Her face was very dark, but only from the sun. She had me look at row 'C', which was very tiny, but there was still one tinier in the four rows. I remembered I said I couldn't read any of it. She showed me row 'B'. I read about half the letters easily, but my vision was too indistinct to see all the others clearly. She had mumbled something like 'Wow' or 'That's pretty bad' to herself before showing me line 'A'.

At this point, I realized that I was supposed to easily read line 'B' and line 'C', and was very upset. Although I read line 'A' easily, the woman asked if I had ever had glasses that I had forgotten at home. I said that I didn't, which was absolutely true, but she gave me an envelope to take to my parents. I did take it to my parents, but we didn't ever have the time to get glasses. Or at least that's what my mom told me. I had the same eye nurse today. That's why I thought maybe the nurse knew that, she remembered me.

I began to speak again, but my voice wavered more than I wanted. I had to take a second breath before I could bear to continue.

"And..... and, well, I took the test." I stopped, afraid I might not be able to continue on.

The principal looked a little confused, but encouraged me to continue on. He smiled a little smile and looked a little bit like he thought it was silly to be upset over, but he could see that it was important to me.

"So, I stood up to go over and sit in the little brown chair next to the testing lady, the one with long thick brown hair and brown eyes, sort of tan, with really red lips, and a kind of curved nose. I think she was wearing a brown shirt. She's the same one I had the first time I was tested."

He looked a little surprised that I recalled her features so well as he nodded, "Mrs. C."

"And I knew that I wouldn't be able to see whatever she wanted me to see, because I already knew that my vision wasn't perfect. But she asked if I had glasses at the beginning, and I said no. Then she showed me the first line 'C'." I looked down, ashamed, as I finished my thought, "I couldn't read it."

"Oh," he said softly, but not really how I would have expected it. Not like, 'Wow, that's why you were running down the hallway and sobbing?' but more of 'I see.'

As I continued on my eyes stung a little bit, and I felt the tears collect around the outside and wait until they grew large enough to break loose. "She looked a little disappointed, and showed me line 'B'. I told her what I thought was right, and she looked just as disgusted. She said clearly "You're vision is pretty bad, why don't you try line 'A'." Normally, she'd have just pointed to it." I let my voice trail off and left him time to understand what I felt as tears fell in little streaks down my cheeks. They twisted their way into my mouth and nose, which were already struggling to get enough air to my lungs to cry. I didn't look up, but I imagined his look of concern and, hopefully, understanding. I wished that he would at least try to understand the feelings that I couldn't describe accurately to him, because I wasn't even sure what they were.

My voice shuddered as I added in, "I don't mind that my vision is bad, I've never even noticed it before. But she had to say that. And everyone heard it. I read line 'A', but when she asked me to read line 'B' again, I couldn't. Everything was kind of going in circles and none of letters were there. When I said I couldn't read it, she said something like, 'That's okay, some of us have good vision and some of us don't.', but her voice, I just don't understand..." I couldn't go on, and I couldn't explain to him how it felt to hear her voice sound so fake and loud. It was like she wanted everyone to know, but pretended like it really concerned her to see me upset. I also left out the part where I had run from the room bursting with tears. It was all too much. Did she really want to embarrass me?

By now he had walked me way past my classroom, but I kept walking on. I brushed away the tears as he finally said something more than just a small comment.

"Well, let me tell you something. When I was just a few years older than you, a similar thing happened to me. And that's why I wear glasses," he tapped the small rectangular glasses in his pocket, "whenever I need to see something very clearly. You see, my vision isn't bad, but sometimes I can't see perfectly, though."

I considered this, and as cheesy as it sounded, I believed he was telling the truth. Something told me that the principal wouldn't go around spouting lies, and it made sense. I had seen him wearing his glasses sometimes. Plus, he was actually looking at me, not away, like liars sometimes do. I could see through his dark brown eyes that he did

"But," he said, more commanding, "You really should get glasses or contacts, you probably don't know what you're missing! And you should probably get back to your class, you're teacher is probably missing you." He laughed as he turned around to go back to wherever he had come from in the first place.

The screen lifted slowly from its place, as my mind had let go of the thought. Like a curtain being pulled away from a window, the screen parted and sat off to the side, images still flickering on it. But it let the day shine through. I had just walked out of the eye doctor's office with my first pair of contacts. They worked wonderfully. So wonderfully that I tripped over a stick on the ground while I traced the outline of the leaves in the trees. As strange as it seemed to be tracing leaves, I couldn't pry myself away from the wonder that I could see the outline of all the fresh, green leaves so high above me. I looked back at the girl in the window, as she brushed the brown-blonde hair out of her eyes. I had really thought that the reflection was me, but it struck me suddenly that it wasn't me at all. It was the reflection of the days I left behind. Where I really did have to squint to see things. It never bothered me, but I guess never knew what I was missing. I waved goodbye to the girl in the window. Although I was pleased to leave her behind, she seemed sad she could not follow me home. As I walked happily away, I felt as though I had triumphed in the end. But every morning the girl comes back. In the early morning light and night's darkness and can just barely see her looming behind me. She wants to have me back. Sometimes I can't decide if she really ever was me. But I've decided that no matter who she is now, I will never be her again.

"What is required is sight and insight -- then you might add one more: excite."
--Robert Frost

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