by Priyanka Sutaria
I don’t remember a time when I had 20/20 vision
but I remember aching to know what it felt like
not having to wake up with a blurring line of vision,
or two blurring lines because I’m nine years old
and I can’t see the blackboard from the first bench.
I remember being teased but I couldn’t give up
reading books I had borrowed from the library
late into the night under dim light
because when you are the sort of child that does that,
your mother is bound to catch you cheating on your bedtime
and order you asleep – just one more page, mamma, I promise!
so the lights are always somber and your bottom hurts
from spending hours in the bathroom just reading book after book,
and your fingers have grown accustomed to turning the pages
but are unable to comprehend a pair of spectacles
when the doctor hands them to you at the age of six.
at age thirteen my wish for undisturbed vision came true
because the two distorted lines became one.
my wish came true but it was in the form of a lesson
which every book about wishful thinking had taught me
but I had chosen to ignore – be careful what you wish for
and choose your words wisely.
so instead of the perfectly visible mornings I has so long dreamed about,
I found my eyes glazing over with the blind force of anger
and I fought myself and I fought others.
imagine you ask for corrected eyesight
and instead you receive blinding fury in the form
of an uncontrollable anger management problem.
suffice to say I punched a girl in her face
before I realized what the actual fuck I had done
wishing for a lack of blurriness instead of just that elusive
20 out of 20 which is always
negative eight points
out of reach for my fingers
which have grown accustomed
to pushing correctional frameworks up the bridge of my nose
for more than a decade.
it was only when I turned eighteen that I realized
that I could exchange my poor eyesight for a good set of words;
who needed vision when one could see the world
through the brilliant lens of well-placed language?
every single time I have wished for something thereafter,
I have ensured that my wording is perfect, that not a single letter
is out of place. I have framed my desires into poems
because those verses ensure that I am careful
about what I say and how I say it. you see, in the five years
of my teenage my eyes lost at least three fifths of their ability
and the two fifth that remained was inaccessible
because I was blinded by my own insecurities.
imagine waking up and the world is drunken daze,
yet you know that you haven’t touched alcohol in a while
and that the only reason you can make your way
around your lover’s house is because your fingers have grown accustomed
to feeling the walls of strange places
so you never fall down
in the face of your own inability
Illustration by Mavni