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Amanda's Eyes - Chapter 8
Submitted by woody on Sun, 10/12/2008 - 22:59
Eight – Second thoughts
On Wednesday, Ken greeted Amanda with a simple “Hello.” He didn’t ask any questions with the greeting; he didn’t make any demands -- he didn’t even require a response.
Amanda responded with a simple but polite “Hi,” and handed the book to him.
After reading for about forty-five minutes, Ken closed the book and sighed. “Amanda, we’ve spent a few hours together, and we’re going to my school dance this weekend, but we really don’t know much about each other.”
Leaning forward in her chair she responded, starting with a surly, “What the fuck do you want to know about me? ……. Shit, why did I say it that way… yeah, let’s talk a little.” That last was in a much more congenial, almost contrite, tone.
“I think I already told you I’m seventeen. I do pretty well in school, I really enjoy computers, I don’t do sports, I drive a pickup truck, and I work at a movie theater.”
“I’m seventeen too, I can’t see, I can’t drive, I can’t get around by myself, I don’t date, I can’t use a computer, and I don’t have any friends.” As the desperation wound up, her tone rose, “I can’t even go to the damn bathroom here by myself. How can I go to a school dance with you? How can I possibly dance with you when I can’t see you? I can’t dance anymore anyway. Fuck it, why are we even talking, this is so fucked up.” She felt tears forming in her eyes and turned her head to keep him from seeing them before wiping them away with her hand.
“Know what? I’ll bet you can dance just fine, and I’ll just have to stay close to you. Pretty much anyone can dance if they give it a try. Before last year, I was afraid to dance, but a couple of friends convinced me that I should just get out there and do it. I don’t do any special steps, but I dance and I have fun.”
She was quiet.
“…You know… you just kind of move in time with the music, there isn’t much else to it. The slow dances are even easier; you just sway to the music and make little circles with your partner. No big deal.”
“I don’t have any clothes for it either. Just how am I supposed to pick out clothes?”
“I guess that’s one where you need to ask your mom for some help.”
She had to chuckle on that one, “Suuuurrrrrre, let my mom pick out my clothes for a dance, every girl’s dream. Shit, let’s stop talking like this. There’s too much to think about and it’s making me feel sick. Can you help me out to my mom so I can go home?”
She heard him stand. After several seconds he said, "I'm going to touch your hand with mine; you can hold it and get up." She figured he wasn't used to being with the blind. He'd probably offered her his hand, but of course she couldn't see it. He must have realized it and then figured out what to do. Maybe he wasn’t as hopeless as she’d thought.
She felt him touch the back of her hand and she took his in hers and let him lead her out of the room back to Miss Harris' desk. At least he paid attention and learned quickly.
As usual, her mom was there waiting. Kate didn’t say anything but inside she was shocked. This was the first time Amanda had let anyone who wasn’t her parent or an assigned guide help her get around. She had no idea how this had come about, but it seemed like another huge step in the right direction for her poor daughter. Her being civil to someone -- anyone -- had been the first step.
Over dinner they talked about plans for the dance. Amanda reminded her mom that she needed a dress to wear. Kate went even further, Amanda needed a dress, shoes, and maybe some other accessories if she was to look good at the dance. She probably should get her hair done too.
“Yeah, dress me up like a little doll. Take some pictures too!”
“Honey, of course we’ll take pictures.
“That’s just great, take all the pictures you want, I’ll never see how shitty I look.”
Lying in bed that night, she thought more about Ken and the dance. It was all just too much, she couldn’t do it. How could she go out in public trying to look like a normal girl? Everyone would know that she was a fake. One look at her and they’d see right through to the dumb blind girl pretending she was like everyone else. And… God… if she went out on the dance floor, what a disaster that would be! If she didn’t embarrass herself then someone was sure to “accidentally” trip her. This disaster had to stop before it went any further.
On Thursday, before she even gave Ken the book, she let him know, “I’ve thought about this some more, and it isn’t a smart thing to do. I don’t have clothes, I can’t dance, I can’t get around by myself, I can’t go on a date with you. Besides, think about it; it’s just a mercy date to make the blind girl feel good, or an emergency fill in for you after you got dumped. Well guess what? Neither idea feels very fucking good to me. Let’s just call this shit off now.” The anger was building up again, raising her tone and volume higher with each sentence, each new thought.
He stayed calm, “Please, Amanda. Maybe on Tuesday it was a momentary lapse of sanity for both of us, but it was never a mercy thing on my part. I suppose it’s true that I was looking for someone to go with after Kelly broke up with me, but you know what? I didn’t think about that when I asked you. I don’t even know what I was thinking about, but I’m not sorry I asked.
“I AM sorry for making you feel like a substitute, I really didn't mean to. And now that we're actually talking a little, I still feel really good about it. Let's give it a try. At least go to the game with me on Friday; if it's a complete disaster, I won't hold you to anything on Saturday. If you agree to Saturday, we can do the full restaurant and dance thing, or just go to the dance if you want. And you know what? Now that you aren’t screaming at me, you look and sound kind of nice. How cool would that be? Kelly dumped me, and I show up on less than a week's notice with someone prettier than she is.”
Reaching out, he took her hand, “Let’s do this again, now that we’re feeling more rational.
“Amanda, would you like to go to my school’s homecoming game and dance with me?”
“Do you really think I’m pretty?” she asked, her voice soft and quiet.
“I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it before, but yes, you really are, especially when you aren’t yelling all the time. So what do you think? Are you willing to go out with me?”
“Okay, I’ll go out with you. And thanks, I guess that was a compliment.” For the first time, Amanda actually smiled. Her eyes glistened.