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Thursday, May 12, 2011

the shakiest sight

I am dreadfully myopic, literally. I can't see very far and I have to sit so close to the TV screen at home that am sure it makes things worse. Thankfully someone one day had the crazy idea to burn sand at such high temperatures it turned to glass. Another guy thought that if you curve the glass just right you can change the way light enters and hits the retina. Spectacles were born and with these I enter the land of the seeing.

I don't know if other people have this problem but whenever I’ve worn my specs for along time my eyes begin to ache and hurt I feel like they are being pulled out of their sockets and all I want to do is take them off and be relieved(not the eyes the specs). I told someone about this once and she said I should take them off since we had been sitting there for such a long time I must have memorised everything there, and I wondered why she thought that just because I memorised her I would want to stop seeing her.

When I take of my specs after wearing them for a long time everything becomes blurry, it fades into everything else there are no outlines to what am seeing. The universe becomes one. In a spiritual way this is beautiful. Very deep. Very Buddhist. Its like staring into the oneness of the universe and seeing that nothing stands alone, we are all a part of each other and that blade of grass isn't just a blade of grass, it's the air around it and the insect buzzing overhead, its the human being trampling it and the shit the dog left behind, it is every other blade of grass and every drop of rain that nourishes it. This is an interesting outlook but only spiritually. The physical world isn't supposed to be like that. I think beauty comes from individualism. The real reason everyone has beauty in them is that they all have a spark of something that nobody else has, a special smile or secret or kindness that puts them apart from everyone else. The trick is to find this one unique thing before it all blurs into a part of the everything, when we don't see the beauty in others it's not then we are hurting but ourselves.

And on a physical level that's what specs do. Am usually a careless person but in the last ten years of my spectacle wearing life have owned about 5 pairs one broke(my cousin sat on it), one got lost(again not my fault), I forgot one when we were moving house, am not sure what happened to the other and I have my current pair. The reason I have had such few specs is because of the period between owning them, I don't know why but am never in a hurry to replace them. When one met it's glassy demise and I would walk around half blind and learn to recognise people by the way they walked and not their faces, I would learn to wave back to anyone who waved to me, I learned to not check out girls coming my way because it was such a waste of time, I learned to forget about looking at billboards.


Worst of all everything was an approximation. Nothing was ever quite there and outlines were a rumour I had learned about from all my arts classes. And just like in all those classes someone had shaded outside those lines. Then I would get specs and be blown away. There is nothing like not wearing glasses for a year and then putting them on. The onslaught of beauty is almost too much to handle. Everything is one thing, itself. I stop and look at a blade of grass, I see those three lines furrowing down it, I see it being blown by the wind and proudly defying its entreaties to kneel. It is one blade of grass surrounded by all these others that are also one blade of grass, I love that a field is something I can stop and stare at. I see a little insect walking along it like a pirate walking the plank, weighing the little blade down before it sprouts wings from nowhere and flies off to meet another insect that it was late for a date with atop another blade of grass. And when the rain falls the drops fall one by one and if time was slow enough I could catch each one of them, hold them in my hands before they seep through the space in my fingers into the ground at my feet. And when it rains my glasses get that splatter of wet all over them. It splashes and condenses obscuring my vision but making it like a dream, blurry in the way tv dreams usually are, and I blink take away the blur but when I open my eyes the blur is exactly where I left it, transparent blobs and meteors showing me yet another world.

I love walking right after then and I walk with my eyes to everything, I stare at billboards till a car hoots and i'm scared it can hit me and then that fear is replaced with a sense of wonder at the car itself, plumes of smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe, the red lights as they signal to each other that it's time to pass and the drivers talking and laughing, fiddling with the radio or the phone. I love the reflection of the sky on the windscreen especially on cloudy days a beautiful imprint like the shroud of Turin capturing something we see every day but not in the way we see it. Nairobi can be so beautiful, every building with its own special architecture and I notice small things like the insane number of red buildings in that town, the night would especially blow me away. I would look up at the stars, I have never been able to see a constellation in my life for half of my life its because the twinkle in the stars is obscured by my lack of eyesight for the other half I can't tear myself away from the sight of one star twinkling and turning, sending messages that I can't understand but it doesn't matter that I don't because its like hearing a beautiful song in another language and knowing it doesn't matter what the lyrics say the message stays. In this case a message of hope, all of those individual stars telling me not to worry I am not alone here. And that if even if I am it doesn't matter because being alone doesn't stop them from shining, from being beautiful, from having an inner light of their own that they want to spread to everyone who would dare look up. and the street lights come on like candles at the most romantic supper ever set, a yellow glow to differentiate themselves from the stars that just now took my breath away. And the message they send is not one of aloneness, earth's answer to heaven's hosts they don't twinkle and they are not too far away to touch they are right there, put up by humans like me to protect humans like me. A message of security painted in yellow against the blue skies. And when I have my glasses on I can see the individual streets they light and that's all i want to see.

And I can see people smile and the twinkle in their eye, I can see it from far away and I can see it from up close. I remember that verse from the bible about god knowing each strand of hair that belongs to us and I can see all those strands. I can see all the special things that go into making a face and the eyes and how they are set, I can see how this changes when they smile and when they think and talk. It's like every single thing in life is under a microscope. And I love watching people when I talk to them sometimes I think the words are just an excuse, something that makes it OK to stare at a girl and look in her eyes because sometimes eyes speak much more and now though they are part of her face, they are also her eyes, just her eyes, a deep mysterious cavern where beauty resides waiting to be found if only you look closely enough and if you say the right words you see that special light that changes them and I feel like I can when I have my specs on and so I brave the pain and don't take them off. And I can't rely on memory because that's the shakiest sight of all.