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  • 2007:

    I’ve felt the most amazing thing. Not only did it give me a new understand of my situation and made me more aggressive in what I need to do but it caused me to be shocked at how laise-faire I’ve been about the risks I take for a while now. Today was an interesting day.

    Today, an amazing amount of rain and wind hit Northern California. 1 Million People around this area didn’t have electricity has I am writing this. I woke up this morning and drove to work in the beating rain. As I was on the highway, I would stay away from cars as if getting close to them would force death on me instantly. I was afraid since as I got close to the car in front of me, the small used tires on my old 93 Corolla would slip, again and again. Happily though I got to work, and spent the rest of the day musing about the rain.

    The rain itself is an amazing beast. I stepped outside out building when I was going out for lunch and I waited for a second to look how to approach the rain. You see, I usually look at the angle at which the rain is hitting the surface to figure out where to aim my umbrella as I dash outside to where I need to go. Surprisingly today though, the angle was nearly horizontal... I actually pointed the umbrella NO where near my head as I ran to the car to get a Subway Sandwich and yet I didn’t get that wet.

    I later talked to some co-workers about rain and joked around with them about running outside into the rain. When I was at home I used to get excited by fresh rain. When I was at home, I would always wear t-shirts and shorts inside the house. I wanted to feel free of excess clothing given the comfort of having housing that keeps you warm. Whenever it rained, I used to look outside the window, and get excited and tell my grandparents or anyone else who was near by that I was going outside in the rain in my T-shirt and shorts! I’d put on some Indian Champpals (Indian sandals) and go run outside for a minute. I’d raise my hands up and open my mouth. I’d take the fresh dew smell in and let droplets of rain fall down my cheeks. Once the exhilaration of the moment past and I realized it was actually freezing cold, I’d run back in and find a towel and dry myself off. I’d have a pleasant smirk on my face and my grandma would ask jokingly how insane I’ve become.

    I actually did today in fact. As a co-worker and I were outside taking a 5 minute out of the office break, we observed the rain outside. I’d told him that I did such a thing and he laughed it off. A few seconds later, I just said, “what the hell, for old times sake”, and I jumped into the spotlight of rain and did my thing.

    When I left my apartment in Redwood City this morning, everything seemed normal even though the rain and winds were roaring outside. I drove to work and found that at work we were in the dark for an hour. I thought that was bad until I realized what had happen to the town I lived in when I drove back. To get back to my apartment, I drove through the hills into the valley. The whole part of the town coming off the mountains into the valley was pitch dark. The traffic lights flashed red and whole neighborhoods were silenced in slaughter the wind and rain brought down. As I entered my apartment complex, it looked completely new to me. Completely shaded in black, no sign of lights or the living anywhere. After parking my car, I walked toward the front of the building and realized that It would be somewhat hard getting in. Someone else was also trying to get in and lucky by the lights of our cell phones, we didn’t have to fumble hard to find the right keys and walk up the stairs, and get into our apartments. The first time I entered my apartment that night, I saw parts of the living room become luminous as candles flashed their glow of light in varying degrees to make shadows come alive. I heard my female apartment-mate (Paige) talk on the phone and I put my stuff down and went straight for the kitchen. I always hate losing things I paid for even though I lose things all the time. Today I thought about the 2 gallons of milk I bought yesterday and if they’d survive this mess. Paige said it might be fine and I should try it out. I poured out a glass and started drinking it. It was off, a little too sweet and a weird sour taste coming in slowly as the cup emptied. I put my mind onto other things, like looking outside to see the stars. Ratz! I checked outside and it was cloudy as hell. A great opportunity wasted. It is even more amusing to me now since I just realized that in that exact moment, a beautiful meteor shower was going to blanket the sky. This meteor shower was projected to be one of the best ones in decades. Oh well. Paige, being the trooper that she is, gave me a small flash light if I needed to get around. I planned on going to the gym and thought if it was worth driving to see if it was open. The gym was on the rich part of town, so I thought it was a safe bet, that I wouldn’t be wasting a trip. I packed up my bag and went to the gym. Sure enough, It was open.

    After I came back, I again was faced with the darkness of the apartment complex. I thought for a second and realized that I forgot the flashlight and cellphone!! This time, there was no one around to help guide the way. I was ushered into a world of darkness in those few moments, slowly getting darker in degrees. I first was able to see and use some street lights as I was fumbling for the right key. Once I got into the staircase though, everything was different.
    I looked up before starting to climb, trying to see if there were any markers or lights above to help me gauge how far I should climb. The only light though was behind me pointing outside. As I walked up slowly taking one small step at a time, I used my hands as my new guidance of the surroundings. I always felt like a fool lifting up my feet after reaching up for another step to then realize there was nothing there. But how could I avoid it? Then I thought, why the hell does it even matter? Who am I trying to impress? You are in the middle of back out, in a pitch dark staircase, trying to figure out how to get back to your safe apartment. When I reached the first floor from the lobby, I realized the truth of what my environment became. I could not see light anywhere: below me, above me, to my right and left. I was finally enclosed by darkness. I stood there, I don’t know for how long. It might have been for a minute or 10 but time couldn’t be measured. My heart was racing and I didn’t know why. As I child I was afraid a little bit of the dark, especially after watching horror movies, but nothing like what I was feeling now. All I could see was the flashing glow of cells and nerves working in my eye, the elegant dance between the grays, blacks, and small white dots as they swirled around each other, vibrating on a messy canvas.

    I finally realized what I was scaring me. It was something in my mind the last few years and which took more of center stage position in my subconscious over the last year:

    I was blind.

    You see, I turned partially blind a while back fighting an unknown eye disease in college. It rendered me partially blind, where when I now look at a face, I see a fragment of a face. That messy canvas of light grays, white dots, and black lines take over parts of someone’s face. In that staircase, at that moment, I felt those small globs of paint that always took over faces expand out to cover the whole of my world, becoming the vision of my canvas. I was afraid, I didn’t want to move. I took it in and asked myself “If I’m alright, is this alright?, Can I make it alright?” It was a defining moment because I facing a fear I didn’t want to face and a fear that I have had for a long time. Asking myself if life would still be fine if I did go blind? The answer didn’t dawn on me quickly. I waited to see how I felt about this new world I was apart of. I looked all around, trying to see patterns in the darkness. Making sure this was it, that there was no hope of a light slowly expanding and bringing me back into my normal world. But no, reality set in and there was nothing to save me if I didn’t move. At the time, I didn’t think of the possibility that if I moved and got to my apartment, I would get my normal world back. The question of the moment became:

    Should I give up now that I know I am blind or should I make the best out of it?

    I had wrestled with this question for the longest time. It isn’t as simple as saying life will go on. Things can still be great and all the other nonsense that people may say when bad things happen. Each person makes the decision to be happy with it or to suffer through it and never be the same. I didn’t know what my answer would be if I had gone blind, and here I was in a real life representation of this fear.

    Those moments felt like an eternity. There was no voice in my head after the first few moments in the darkness. I had always searched for peace of mind through meditation but my mind was always racing, I found silence in those moments. Seconds must have felt like hours to me. Was I going to drain into nothingness? Let the dark really erase my existence away? I didn’t know since I was standing still letting the darkness get to me, get inside of me.


    Finally, after a long time, I lifted my right hand. As my finger tips touched the wall, the slight feeling of rustic walls sent shocks through my body. My sense of touch was operating at such an amazing high level that they at once became my new eyes. I created images in my head of the stairway as I gathered clues on each touch. The rustic wall with its little sharp points of paint jotting out. The iron handles that felt that it might have had a mix of another metal in it lead me up the stairs. Other senses started representing themselves. The door handle that squeaked at the very turn of its knob as if it say that It wanted to be left alone. The sound of the carpet graced the bottom of the soles of my sneakers as I walked the hallway. The tempo of the walk to my room changed as sometimes I would paint clear picture of what was ahead and sometimes I would not know what would come ahead. The smells of various foods emitting from each passing door filled the air. As I opened my apartment door, I turned that messy canvas back into reality, back into the normal world. I was whole once again but in another way.

    What is this all suppose to mean? I have to wonder about it sometime and who knows, I may never get the answer. Am I okay with a new way of seeing the world? Maybe, maybe not. But I feel like going blind wasn’t that bad. I put myself into a position of vulnerability in those stairs. Something I’ve been doing more of the last couple of days. With vulnerability, you get highs in emotions, fears, and experience. And I feel better about being vulnerable then I have in a long time. I’ve been hiding it inside me for a while now and coming up close and personal with a fear is an amazing experience. Just one more that I have in my young life.
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