- Our Companies
- Hosted by Us
- Other Links
Amanda's Eyes - Chapter 11
Submitted by woody on Sun, 08/09/2009 - 16:04
Chapter Eleven – Game Day (Amanda)
It was late Friday afternoon and Amanda should have been preparing for her football game date with Ken.
She sat on the edge of her bed, her legs held tightly together, her upper body leaned over, pressing her crossed arms into her lap. Her head was bowed, her eyes were closed and her hands were clenched into tight fists. She slowly rocked forward and backward, no sound, no other motion, no expressions, just a slow rock, to and fro.
Kate went to the door of Amanda’s room to see if she needed help getting ready for her date. She was about to call out to her when she saw her little girl swaying on the edge of her bed, looking almost catatonic. She’d seen her daughter in many moods since the accident two years ago, but this was the first time since the hospital she’d looked so completely helpless and as a mother, it hurt. She walked into the room and, softly stroking the back of her daughter’s head with one hand, asked, “Honey, what’s wrong?”
It took longer than a moment, but the girl finally gave a little start and broke from her stupor. But then she covered her face with her hands as she seemed to fold even more into herself and began softly sobbing. Through the tears and hiccups, Kate heard, “Mom, I can’t do this … how can I go out with a guy when … when I can’t even … dress myself? Besides that, I’m too thin, and … my chest is too small… and I can’t move without bumping into something. I’m going to … to look awful, and I’m … going to do something dumb, and … and make a complete and total ass of myself … and no one will ever want to … even talk to me again!”
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, she put her arms around her daughter’s shoulders, “Baby, you are a smart girl, and a very pretty one too. You aren’t going to do anything crazy and Ken seems like a caring boy. I’ll bet you only need to ask him and he’ll help you with almost anything. If there is something you’re uncomfortable with, tell him, and I’m sure he’ll understand. You and he can have a really good time if you give it half a chance.”
“He only asked me out of spite.” She said, lip quivering and eyes still swimming.
Kate laughed, “I guess that’s true, but I doubt he’d even have done that if he hadn’t been at least a little interested, and I think its gone beyond that now. From what I’ve seen of him, and the way he's looked at you, I’m sure he’s looking forward to spending time with you. And remember, you agreed to this. You don’t want to go back on a promise do you?”
She reflected for a moment then rubbing her eyes, “I guess you’re right mom but I’m still not sure I can go through with this. Would you help me get ready? I want to look special tonight, and I can’t do it myself.”
“Of course honey. First let’s get your face washed up, then we’ll find you the right clothes. I’ve got some perfume guaranteed to drive males mad, and what do you think about a little makeup?”
“I’m not your baby doll, Mother,” she snapped.
“But you are my baby even if you’re seventeen.”
Mother and daughter both giggled, then began working at preparing for the date.
Even with her mother’s help, and attempts to calm her, the queasy feeling in her stomach didn’t totally go away. She was nervous and knew it. This was her first date in two years. To tell the truth, it was the first time she’d done anything social with kids her age since the accident. While to others she put up an illusion of strength with her anger and overall unpleasantness, she knew that deep down inside it was all an act. In her heart, she knew her anger and profanity were really an attempt to keep others away from her; to keep them from seeing her insecurities and just how terrified she was of almost everything. This date was both frightening and exciting, and while she really wanted to do it, she kept finding reasons why it could never work out… lots of reasons.
With her mom’s help, she chose her clothes. The fuzzy sweater fit closely enough to show off the slight curves she did actually have and felt great where it touched her skin. Her jeans also showed off her figure without being overly tight. Her mom told her that clothes emphasizing her femininity would go a long way toward overcoming her thin stature, and Amanda hoped she was right.
Her mom’s perfume did smell good, and she dabbed a little on both sides of her neck then on both wrists. Kate put just on a touch of makeup around her eyes and a light coat of pale pink lipstick to highlight her lips. Standing back and taking a critical look at her daughter, she pronounced her ready. It was just in time because as they were applying the finishing touches, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get the door; you sit here for a few minutes and then come out. Ladies always make the gentleman wait a little. Plus your dad and I need to talk to him a bit before you go anywhere.”
After her mom and dad did the ‘grill-the-date’ thing, and her dad gave her his cell phone, she and Ken drove off to the game in his truck. They had the cell phone set up to make it easy for her to use. The number five button, with the little raised spot on it, was programmed as the speed dial key for their home number. All she’d have to do in an emergency was hold it down for a few seconds and the phone would dial home. The number nine just below and to the right was programmed for 911.
On the way, Ken tried making conversation with her asking about what she liked in school. The question brought back some kind of painful memories. She used to be really into reading and art and had been pretty good in science. Her parents liked decorating their house using their daughter’s art work, so there were quite a few of her sculptures, drawings, and paintings around the house. She hadn’t tried any of that since the accident. She couldn’t see the point, how could she appreciate art -- much less create it -- if she couldn’t see it? There was one favorite little sculpture of a cat in the living room that she’d done at fourteen; she liked to take it off the mantle now and then just to feel the shape and textures and remember creating it. She avoided the topic and they mostly listened to the radio during the short drive.
When they got to the school, he guided her up the bleachers to sit with his friends. Jon and Sandy sounded like nice people. They joked and teased a little, and shared some laughs before taking their seats, Amanda between Sandy and Ken. Once she was seated, she let go of Ken’s arm and immediately, a wave of nausea swept over her; she felt like she was going to fall off the bench, and grabbed onto Ken again.
“You okay?” he asked when he felt her clutch his arm even tighter than before.
“I guess I’m not quite ready to sit here on my own. You mind if I hold on for a while?”
He pushed her hands down to his so he could hold her as well. She felt a warm vibration buzz through her body when he said with a soft, sincere sounding voice, “It feels really good when you hold me.”
After a quiet moment, he asked, “I don’t think I ever really asked before, are you a football fan? How are you on the rules and all that?”
“I used to watch a lot. I even played sometimes at family picnics and in gym class. I guess I remember the rules well enough to understand what’s going on.”
“That’s good, but it’s going to be hard to follow the game if you can’t see the plays. You’re going to need a narrator.” He smiled, but of course Amanda couldn’t see it.
“I could do that but a professional would be better. I checked yesterday and they are covering this game live on the local radio station, so I brought along a radio and earbuds. We can try setting it up so you can hear the play-by-play on the radio while we’re here at the game. What do you think?”
“Wow, great idea! I was so concerned about just being here that I hadn’t thought at all about being able to follow the game. How’d you come up with that idea?”
“I told you I’m into technology and I’m pretty good at problem solving.”
He got the radio out of his pocket, turned it on, and let her put the bud to her ear. She was about to put it in when she hesitated and felt it gingerly, “Did you clean this thing?”
“What? Don’t you want to share my earwax?”
Sandy, who’d been following this exchange blurted out, “Ewww gross!”
Ken laughed, “It’s a new pair. These came with my CD player and I already had a set I liked better. I never took them out of the plastic bag before today.”
She put one side in her ear and tried it. She could hear the radio station and could still hear him plus the buzz in the stands through the other ear. Without even thinking about it she lifted her arms and gave him a quick hug saying, “Thanks! This just might work!” Then just as quickly, she slid her hand back down to his and held on tight.
“Are you going to cheer for our team?”
“And if I don’t?”
“You’ll probably need to find another ride home.”
“What? You’d dump me over cheering for the football team?” Her hand clenched his a little tighter and she sounded genuinely concerned.
“No… no… it’s not that. You’re sitting on the Eagles’ side of the field and I’d be seriously injured or dead trying to defend you from rabid fans if you cheered for the Wildcats. I promised your dad I’d take care of you and I intend to take that promise seriously.”
All four laughed, but her grip on his hand stayed tight.
Jon offered to make a snack stand run so Ken gave him some cash for drinks and popcorn for himself and Amanda. Popcorn, especially, was an essential part of going to a game and of course you needed a drink to wash it down. She moved from holding his hand back to holding his arm so he could keep the popcorn box between them. He noticed that she had no trouble at all setting her drink cup down and finding it again; same thing with the popcorn bin. Clearly, once she knew where something was, she could be quite self-sufficient. As the game got underway, he was less and less aware that she was any different than any other girl he’d gone out with.
At one point, during a cheer, his ex-girlfriend, Kelly slipped on the dewy grass landing on her nicely padded fanny. He laughed and turned to Amanda, “Did you see that? I can’t believe she’s a cheerleader.”
Her pretty eyes were closed and she had a look of pleasure, almost rapture, on her face as she seemed to be feeling the cool breeze, enjoying the smell of the fall air and the popcorn, and drinking in the sounds of the game and the crowd. He wondered if she was even still aware of him.
She’d been daydreaming a little and turned her head back to Ken, “What?”
“Kelly, the girl I was going with for a few months, just fell on her butt during a cheer. The look on her face was really funny, and the other girls had to help her get up.”
“Are you watching the game or the cheerleaders?”
“Damn! You caught me.”
She portrayed more confidence than she felt when she replied, “Just remember who you’re with and you might survive the night.”
She was having a good time and it felt great. She was holding onto a nice guy who sincerely seemed to enjoy being with her. She was in a crowd of kids her own age all but two of whom didn't even realize she couldn't see, and was truly enjoying the football game. The radio commentary, and the cheers, groans, and applause from the crowd made her feel like she was a part of the action. However the insecurity that was always with her pushed its way back to the surface, and she asked herself, 'Does he really wish he was with the cheerleader? Don’t be so stupid. Of course he does! Why would anyone choose me over any other girl? I’m just a substitute until something better comes along, and I need to remember that before I get too comfortable.' She let go of him and put her hand down to hold onto the bench. A few moments later, Ken slid over on the seat until their legs and shoulders touched. She wondered if it was an act.
Amanda didn’t even think about it but Ken had his own heartache. Sure, he was here with her tonight but a week ago, he’d thought he was in love with that girl on the field. She’d dumped him like a sack of garbage when she got a “better” opportunity. He was enjoying having Amanda next to him, but he still couldn’t help but feel a little pang when he saw Kelly’s smiling face and the sexy curves he knew so well out there with the cheer squad. The thought kept echoing in his head, “she’s going to be with Todd tonight.” Even though he had Amanda beside him, it still hurt. He didn’t even think about it, but when the girl next to him let go of his hand, he automatically slid closer to keep the contact and to reassure himself that he was sitting with a girl who liked him enough to come to the game with him.
A few minutes before halftime, a new problem started making its presence known. The drink she’d had with the popcorn was creating a pressure in her bladder that was growing to a point where she knew she’d have to take care of it before she got home. This was embarrassing! She was sure Ken would help her to the restroom, no issue there, but she would need help in the restroom too, something Ken couldn’t do, and honestly, she wouldn’t want that anyway. What the hell could she do? Again she felt helpless, and as the panic began to rise and she knew she shouldn’t have come.
But before her panic became apparent to those around her, she thought of the solution which was so obvious she almost laughed. Girls always went to the restroom together, and there was a girl sitting right next to her. She reached her hand out to locate Sandy then leaned across and whispered…
Sandy grabbed her hand, “Guys, we ladies need to freshen up. Ken, stand up and let us by.”
As they shuffled out to the bleacher stairs, Amanda told her new friend what she needed for guidance, and they made it down the stairs easily. She was so used to being guided that she didn’t think anything of walking down the sidelines holding onto Sandy, a girl she’d just met.
As they made their way to the restrooms, Sandy asked, “What do you think of Ken?”
“I’ve really only known him for two weeks but he seems like a really nice guy, and I could probably like him a lot… but I think he’d rather be with that cheerleader.”
“You know that she dumped him for a football player just last weekend don’t you?
“He told me. But he was watching her during the game.”
“He watched her fall on her ass, and thought it was hilarious! Think about it; he went out with her for a couple of months, so you can’t expect him not to at least look at her. I’ve known Ken for years, and he’s a straight-up guy, a great friend, and loyal to a fault. You’re the one he came here with. If he didn’t want to be here with you, he wouldn’t be. Don’t worry about Kelly, she’s history! With what she did to him, and for something as selfish has her own ‘image’, there isn’t any way he’d ever even think of going back to her.”
Sandy’s comments helped but Amanda still had her doubts.
In the restroom, Sandy led her to an empty stall and pronounced it reasonably clean and obstacle free. She guided Amanda’s hand to the paper roll and the back of the toilet. At the sinks, after they both took care of their business, Sandy offered to touch up her makeup. With a quick pass of the lipstick, they headed back to their dates, getting to know each other better with a little girly gossip.
The band did a show during halftime. She’d always enjoyed band music and had actually forgotten how a good marching band could sound. Gateway High had an excellent band and Amanda found that she could follow what they were doing by just listening for which way the music was coming from. She and Ken turned it into a game, where every time the band turned, she told him which direction. According to him, the only time she missed was when they split and marched off toward both ends of the field. He described the formations to her, and then for the last part of the show, he closed his eyes and guessed the direction, too, then looked to see who was correct. Accompanied by much laughter, Amanda won the contest by a mile. When the game started up again, his hand was in her lap held there by both of hers.
The game was a close one. With less than a minute on the clock, the Wildcats were three points ahead, but the Eagles had the ball. Everyone was standing, and while she didn’t need to stand to see the plays, Amanda was caught up in the excitement, and stood next to Ken, holding onto his arm. When the Eagles’ quarterback threw a long pass with only three seconds on the clock, she screamed, and jumped, right along with everyone else, and when the receiver caught it in the end zone, their spontaneous hug was the most natural thing. She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her whole body against his, feeling his arms crush her to his chest as he pulled her close. It felt good… it felt right… another flutter of warmth flashed through her, this one a little more intense than the last.
As the crowd quieted down and started leaving, the four teens discussed what they were going to do after the game, eventually deciding on ice cream. Amanda shivered a little with the excitement and cool air, so Ken draped his jacket over her shoulders, telling her his sweater was warm enough for him. When the people streaming from the stands had thinned to the point where they could exit easily, the foursome walked out to their cars.
At the ice cream shop, they had to choose their flavor, and then choose from the huge assortment of additions to be mixed into the ice cream. Ken chose French vanilla with sweet cherries in a waffle cone. Amanda chose chocolate with M&Ms in a bowl, saying it was easier for her to deal with a bowl and spoon because she couldn’t see the drips on a cone. Once they all had their selections, they found a table for four and relaxed. All of the screaming, cheering and jumping at the game had built a real appetite so the first priority was replenishing the energy. After their hunger was sated, they talked about the game and relayed more school gossip. The dance tomorrow was an important topic, and while Sandy and Amanda talked about dresses in a vocabulary that the guys thought might have been a foreign language, Ken and Jon discussed the latest changes they’d made to their computers.
As in all conversations, a moment of silence occurred, and Sandy broke it by asking, “Have you always been blind?”
While she didn’t like talking about her affliction, Amanda had become very comfortable with this group and didn’t feel the automatic anger she’d come to know as a response to a question like this. She calmly told them, “No, I was in a car accident two years ago that screwed up my eyes, and I’ve been blind since then.”
“That sure sucks, can you see anything?”
“I can tell when it’s light or dark, and in a bright room I can see big things kind of as shadows, but that’s about it. When I look around this table I see three dim blobs on a lighter background, but there isn’t any detail or color.”
“Hey Jon, just think, if you were going with Amanda, you wouldn’t have to worry about those zits you keep getting on your forehead.”
A red faced Jon, touched his forehead responding, “That’s cruel, Sandy. Really cruel.”
Again the four laughed. Unknown to the others, this was a first. Amanda had never laughed about anything related to her blindness before, but laughing felt good and the joke was on someone else, not her. Jokes had been on her too often, but this was just four friends teasing each other a little, nothing hurtful to anyone. She felt almost ‘normal’ again for the first time since the accident. In fact, this whole night had felt good, and she hoped she’d get a chance to do it again.
With the ice cream finished, it was time for the group to give up their table and head out. After exchanging goodbyes, they walked over to the truck, and again, Ken opened the door for Amanda, helped her in, then got in on the driver’s side. She was fumbling for her seat belt when he suggested, “There is a middle belt you know.”
She smiled and slid closer, easily finding center belt and buckling it.
Ken continued, “I’ve gotten used to being close to you tonight, and this seat is so wide you looked like you were in another county.”
“It’s true, I’ve really enjoyed being with you tonight. If tomorrow turns out as good, I think I’ll be trying to make those book finishing plans.”
“I’ve enjoyed tonight too; it’s the first time I’ve been out with anyone since the accident. You and your friends are fun, and sometimes tonight I felt almost normal.”
Before he had a chance to say anything, she continued, “And don’t say I AM normal. I’m not; I’m blind, and I’ve been a first-class bitch to everyone around me for a long time. You and your friends have shown me that I don’t have to do that.”
She started quietly sobbing into her hands. He pulled over to the curb, and putting his arms around her, he pulled her to him. “It’s okay, we’ve had a good night and we’ll have a better one tomorrow.”
He pushed up on her chin until he could look into those eyes made even more attractive by the sheen from her tears. Bending down a little, he kissed her forehead, then her lips, “Mmmmm chocolate.”
She giggled a little, and after another quick kiss, lifted herself up enough to lean against his side as he drove the rest of the way to her house, where she invited Ken in. Her mom and dad, who were in the living room reading, greeted them, and asked how the game had gone. After a quick description of their evening, she asked if they could go back to the game room to talk for a while.
“That’s okay Honey but not too late, you both have busy days tomorrow.”
With only one child, they didn’t need a four bedroom house so they had converted the rear-most bedroom to a game room. It was meant for comfort, not style, with a couch, a few chairs, a game table, and a TV with a video game set. They moved to the couch, and Amanda suggested he turn the TV on to the Tonight Show while she got them a couple of soft drinks. Again, he was surprised at how easily she maneuvered around the house. Watching her here, he wouldn’t have known she was blind.
When she was sitting next to him again, he commented, “You don’t seem to have any trouble at all getting around in the house.”
“Yeah, as long as Mom and Dad don’t rearrange the furniture or leave something in the hallway, I’m fine. I know where everything is.”
Soon the couple was sitting on the couch, holding hands, and watching or at least listening to the TV. Amanda had an inspiration, and after a few moments pause, while she tried to think of a way to put her request into words he could understand, she said softly, “Ken… I want to try something with you that I’ve never done before. I want to ‘see’ you with my hands. I’ve heard other blind people talk about using their hands to see someone, and I want to do that with you. Is that okay?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll use my fingertips and hands to find out what you look like. I have this image of you in my head, but it’s from your voice, the way you feel when I’ve held you and what my mom told me about you. I want to find out for myself. It’s kind of unfair that you know more about what I look like than I know about you.”
“Do I need to do anything?”
“Nope, you just sit still and let me touch you… and this is strictly above the waist so don’t get any strange ideas,” She said, smiling.
“Awww… Do I get equal time?”
She frowned, “This is serious! And it’s important to me, so don’t try to turn it into a joke! Now turn toward me, hands in your lap, and behave.”
And while Jay Leno went through his monologue, Amanda began “seeing” Ken.
She started by finding his upper arms with her hands, and then slowly sliding them up to his shoulders, squeezing a little -- almost a massage -- to feel the firmness of his muscles. Ken kept himself in pretty good shape and it showed. Leaving her left hand on his shoulder her right glided down over his chest. He wasn’t a body builder, but he felt pretty buff and firm. She felt him puff out his chest a little and smiled at the hint of male vanity. He shivered slightly as she slid her palm across his chest.
Next, she lifted her hand to the back of his neck, feeling the bump where the neck joined the shoulders, and the little hollow where it came to the skull. Moving around under his chin, she could feel him swallow as she gently stroked across his throat, noticing his Adam’s apple move up and down. His jaw bones and chin were well defined but not too sharp.
She was building her image of him and liked what she was finding.
Her hand slid up to his left ear. It wasn’t too big or too small and it didn’t seem to stick out. She smiled at the thought that it didn’t have a point on top so he probably wasn’t a Vulcan. The right ear felt the same; Ken seemed to be symmetrical. Nothing in the lobes - he hadn’t pierced his ears. Gliding her hand around the back of his head, then over the top, she noticed that his hair was short and his scalp seemed smooth and even with no big lumps or valleys. She remembered reading somewhere that there were people who believed you could judge personality by the shape of the skull.
His forehead was a nice height, and reasonably vertical; guess he’s not Neanderthal either. It felt a little oily after the night’s exertions, but no noticeable pimples, guess he didn’t have Jon’s problem. His eyebrows were smooth and separated in the center no unibrow. She enjoyed following them with her fingers so much that she repeated that trip a couple of times before moving lower to his closed eyes. His eye sockets formed a little ledge above his eyes, and gently touching her fingers to the lids, she could feel his eyeballs move under them. As she felt his nose, she lifted her other hand to her own, just to compare, both were very “normal” noses, about the right length without a point or bulb at the end. His was a little larger than hers but not by a lot. His cheeks were smooth, so either he’d shaved tonight or he didn’t need to shave often, she could probably tease him about that. His cheekbones were about even with the middle of his nose. Again she felt her own face as a reference.
When her middle finger glided across his closed lips, he jumped slightly and sighed. Maybe it tickled. She felt his breath under his nose; he seemed to be breathing a little fast. His lips felt soft, but she already knew that from the kisses they’d shared. She found a small raised spot on his upper lip, and guessed that he must have a pimple or a mole. There was a nice cleft in his chin, and she wondered if he had dimples when he smiled. Her mental picture was gaining detail. She felt compelled to touch those lips one more time, and as her fingertips glided to the center, he kissed them. Her whole body reacted with a rolling shiver.
This had not been meant to be seduction, and she hadn’t expected to get turned on, but turned on she was. She brought both hands to his cheeks and pulled him close to her for another kiss. He wrapped his arms around her back while she held him around his neck, and they dabbed their lips to each other’s in little quick, teasing kisses, before tilting their heads and bringing their mouths together. The flutters and shivers intensified as she felt him open his mouth slightly. She groaned softly and did the same, feeling his tongue snake between her lips. Hers bravely came out to meet it, but rather than doing battle, they were soon engaged in a quick tango.
He pulled back from the kiss and moaned, “Oh Amanda!”
As she heard him say her name, the flutters got stronger yet and she felt like her heart was dancing in her chest. She could no longer bear having her lips so lonely so she mashed them back against his and probed her tongue into his mouth. They continued devouring each other with their lips and tongues until they had to separate again just to catch a breath.
“Amanda, you’re crying.” He whispered.
“It’s okay, I’m happy,” she whispered back.
She felt him kiss her cheeks, then her eyes, and then he pulled her head to his chest and held her with one hand while the other stroked the back of her head.
Leno was introducing the musical act toward the end of his show. The identity of tonight’s guests was a complete mystery for this pair.
Ken whispered, “Sorry, but I’ve got to go home.”
“I don’t want this to end.”
“I don’t either but I really do need to get home, and remember, we’ve got the dance tomorrow.”
They got up, straightened out their clothes, and then stood there holding each other again, neither really wanting to let go. She dabbed her hand to her cheeks and found that she really had been crying. With a little giggle, she rubbed her face against his chest, “There, tears all gone.”
Finally recovered, they walked hand-in-hand out past the empty living room to the door. Her parents must have gone to their room. At the open door, they kissed once more but kept it restrained, then as he started to back toward his truck their arms stretched out between them, hands still unwilling to let go. “I need to go.” Their fingertips slid across one another’s as they tried to maintain the contact until the last possible moment.
Amanda floated to her room. Even if she had been able to see, she wouldn’t have noticed anything along the way. All she could think of as she changed, used the toilet, and crawled into bed, was how wonderful this night had been, and how she’d felt kissing Ken. Her thoughts as she drifted off to sleep were of a face, now represented in her mind by a very clear picture.
Her parents had moved to their bedroom shortly after the two teens went to the game room. They were understanding enough parents to know they should leave the kids alone, but they weren’t getting into bed themselves until they heard the front door, so they quietly watched TV until Ken left. In bed, Kate laid half on Dave’s chest as they talked about their daughter. This date was a big step, and it sounded like it had gone very well.
Ken kept thinking about Amanda the whole drive home, her touch on his ears, his cheeks, his eyes, and on his lips; her taste as he kissed her. He fell asleep dreaming of Amanda, her finger tips, those very kissable lips… and her lovely eyes.