I clock out, and wait in the waiting area for my appointment at five- thirty.
Mom texts that she’s coming up to talk to the counselor with me. I’m really grateful for her support.
“Hey.” Mom comes in five minutes later, and sits next to me.
“Alexandria?” A tall lady with blonde hair tied into a bun, wearing a purple pantsuit and glasses smiles.
“Hi.” I smile.
“Hi, I’m Rochelle, but you can call me Shelly.”
“Hi.” I shake her hand.
“Hi, I’m her mom, Kate.” Mom shakes Shelly’s hand.
Shelly leads us into an office, and explains the different types of scholarships.
“You have to be working part time, so will you be keeping your job here, and going to school?”
“Okay, cool.” Shelly hands me the application, and I eagerly apply.
“You’ll know a month from today, I’ll call you in, and we can go over the decision.”
“Okay, thank you so much.” I shake Shelly’s hand, and mom and I head out to the parking lot.
“You think I’ll get the scholarship?”
“Yes, honey.” Mom puts her arm around me. “I’m proud of you for trying your hardest.”
Two weeks later, I have an appointment to get my temporary prosthetic, and I’m so excited.
Mom and dad are working today, so Leo’s picking me up this morning.
“I’m sorry I can’t go, but I picked up some breakfast for you guys.” Mom says, sympathetically.
“It’s fine mom.” I’m just excited to get my prosthetic, it doesn’t matter who goes with me.
“Oh, your sister’s coming home Friday night, so I need you guys to help get her room set up for her, when you get home.”
I’m excited for Hannah to come home, but I hope she’s doing okay.
Leo texts that he’s outside, and I grab a donut and cup of iced coffee for each of us.
“Hey.” I get into the car.
“Hey, are you excited?
“Yeah, I’m excited to look normal again.”
“Stop.” Leo puts his hand on my forearm. “You look beautiful.”
I smile and kiss him. “Thanks, I’m just really excited. I can’t wait to see what it looks like!”
“You’ve been to this doctor, before right?”
“Yeah, he gave me my shell.” I’m referring to the green Scleral shell I used to wear.
“How come you can’t wear that anymore?”
“Cause it’s not made to go over a removed eye.”
Leo leans over and kisses my cheek. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” I put my hand over his, and offer a cheerful smile. “I’m just glad I can gt the prosthetic today, even though it’s only temporary.”
“Do you think your doctor will be surprised to see you?”
“Nah, he knows my story, it’s pretty complicated.”
Leo pulls up to the stoplight, and I catch him gazing at me.
“What?” I take a sip of coffee.
“I’m just really proud of you.”
“Thank you.” I smile, kissing his hand.
I’ve come a long way, but I try to think of the positive things. At least now no one will know that I had my eye removed. I’ll look normal, just like everyone else.
“Good morning, Alex.” Dr. Jennings comes into the examining room.
“Hi.” I offer a small smile.
“Were you one of my old patients?” He asks.
“Yes, I was.”
“Leo, right?” Dr. Jennings goes over to shake Leo’s hand.
“Wow.” Leo shakes his hand firmly. “That’s impressive.”
“So what brings you in?” He asks.
“Well I came in to get a prosthetic after my Enucleation.” I take in a bug breath of air, trying not to cry.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” He puts his hand over mine. “Do you mind sharing why it was removed? We have to add it to your chart.” He looks at me sympathetically.
“It just became too painful, and they couldn’t get the pressure stabilized, and I was tired of the injections.”
“Ah.” Dt. Jennings inputs some information into the computer.
“So we’ll take measurements, and get you with a temp while I’m making you a real one.”
“Thank you.” I smile.
“So what have you been up to lately?” He asks, while taking measurements.
“Well I work at a clinic for children who are legally or completely blind, as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, and I’m going back to school to be a medical researcher.”
“Didn’t you want to be a preschool teacher?”
“Yeah, before I started working at the clinic. They inspired me to want to go back to school.”
“Yeah.” I smile.
“Well you’ve been through a lot, you can be really inspiring to people.”
Dr. Jennings is pretty sweet.
“Am I getting my temporary prosthetic today?” I ask, wringing my hands nervously.
“Let’s see if this fits.” He shows me a glass eye, and carefully inserts it,
“How do you think it looks?” He asks.
Tears stream down my cheeks. “I think it looks great.”
“It does, but it’s too big. Can you come back in an hour?” He asks.
“No problem.” Leo smiles.
I’m so excited to get my prosthetic today. Even if it’s only temporary.
“Wanna get some food?” Leo puts his arm around me.
“Yeah, let’s go to the cafeteria.”
“Are you excited?”
Tears stream down my cheeks. “Yeah.”
“Aww.” Leo kisses my forehead. “I’m so happy for you.”
An hour later. He hands me my temporary prosthetic, and I insert it. It’s just like putting the shell in, but it’s a lot smaller.
He hands me a mirror, so I can see what the prosthetic looks like.
“Thank you.” Tears well up in my eyes. “It looks so beautiful.”
“ You’re welcome.We’ll see you back in two weeks to make sure everything’s okay.”
“Okay, thank you.” I hug Dr. Jennings, and Leo and I head out to the check in desk.
I spend the rest of the ride home, bawling. I have so much emotion. The prosthetic looks so amazing.
Leo doesn’t even question why I’m crying. He sits in silence, but I can see he’s crying too.
Three days later, it’s Friday, and Hannah’s coming home today. Mom and I are picking her up from the airport after work, then going to dinner.
“Hey, honey.” Mom comes into my room before work.
“Hey.” I tie my hair into a ponytail, and slip my glasses on.
“You still coming to pick Hannah up tonight?”\
“Yeah, I got her room all set up.”
“Thanks honey, daddy’s taking the girls out to dinner, and we’re gonna go to dinner, just you, me, and Hannah.”
“Cool.” That sounds nice.
“Are you going to Leo’s tonight?”
“No, I’m staying here. I’m going with him tomorrow, for an early birthday lunch.”
“Oh okay, thanks for staying home tonight, I know your sister will appreciate it.”
I slip my socks and sneakers on. “No problem, I feel like it’s not right to go to Leo’s tonight.”
Mom puts her hand on my forearm. “I’m glad you feel that way, sweetie. I’ll pick you up after work, and then we’ll go get your sister.”
“Okay, that sounds cool.”
“How are you getting to work?”
“Jordan’s picking me up. She’ll be here in five minutes.
“Okay honey, have a good day.”
“Thanks, you too.” I go outside to wait for Jordan.
“Hey.” Jordan surprises me with a Chai tea and a cake pop.
“What’s the occasion?” I ask, biting into my cake pop.
“Just thought I’d celebrate you getting your prosthetic.”
“Thanks.” I put my hand over hers.
“So when do you get your permanent one?” She asks.
“In a few months, he’s still constructing it.”
“That must be so exciting.” Jordan puts her hand on my forearm.
“So apparently a new patient is coming in today.”
“Oh, are you nervous?”
“No, but I hope she’s comfortable with me.”
“She will be.” Jordan pulls up to the hospital.
“Thanks, and thanks for the Starbucks.”
“You’re welcome, good luck.”
“Thanks.” I hug Jordan before heading into the clinic.
“Hi, Alex.” The admitting rep smiles. “You’re working with Lorraine today, and the new patient.”
“Oh, cool.” I clock in, and wait in the waiting room for Lorraine
“Hey, Alex.” Lorraine brings me into her office.
“You know we’re getting a new patient, right?”
“She’s pretty anxious, do you mind going to get her with me, she can hear both of us?”
She’s completely blind?
“Yeah, no problem.” I follow Lorraine out of the waiting room to meet the new patient.
“Mommy, please don’t leave!” The new patient is in tears. She’s wearing blue denim shorts overalls, over a white top with ruffle sleeves, and white sandals.
“It’s okay Ava, you’re just going to play with miss Lorraine for a while. I’m sure you’ll have so much fun.”
“Mommy, where’s Chloe?”
“She’s sitting right in front of you.”
A high pitched bark follows, right on cue. A dalmation is wearing a pink vest, and has pink and yellow bows on her ears.
Lorraine walks over to Ava, and bends down in front of her.
“Hi Ava, I’m Miss Lorraine. Are you ready to come play with me, and Miss Alex this morning?”
“Mommy! I want you to come too!” The little girl is still crying.
Chloe barks again, sounding as anxious as Ava.
“Chloe, it’s okay.” The girl’s mom says quietly, and Chloe stops barking and lays down at the girl’s feet.
“Good girl, Chloe.” The girl’s mom hands Chloe a treat, and Chloe eagerly takes it.
“You can come back with us, if you want.” Lorraine smiles at Ava’s mom.
“No, I need her to get used to getting around without me.” Ava’s mom takes her hand.
“I’ll see you later baby, go with Miss Lorraine, and Miss Alex. Chloe will go with you.”
“Okay.” The little girl says, quietly. “Are you coming back?”
“Yes baby, I’ll be back in an hour.”
“Okay.” Ava says, quietly.
“Come on, Ava.” Lorraine says, calmly.
“Okay.” Ava gets up, pulling on Chloe’s leash. “Come on Chloe.”
I follow Lorraine, Chloe, and Ava into the therapy room.
“How old are you, Ava?” Lorraine asks, after getting her settled.
“Do you go to school?”
“Yeah, I’m in first grade.”
“Oh, that’s nice.” Lorraine hands me the bucket of kinetic sand, and I toss it into the sandbox,
Lorraine motions for me to show Ava the sand.
“Ava, would you like to play with some sand?”
“Yeah.” Ava smiles. “I like sand.”
Pretty soon, Ava and I are building sand castles, and talking about Chloe. By the end of the session, she excitedly tells her mom every detail of the session, and says that she can’t wait to go back next week.
I love my job.
“So, what are the girls and dad doing tonight?” I ask on the way to the airport.
“They’re probably just gonna order in, and watch the premiere of Hell’s Kitchen.”
“Oh cool, did they DVR it?”
“Yeah.” Mom smiles.
“Are you gonna be here tomorrow night, to hand out candy?” Mom pulls into the parking lot, where we wait for Hannah to get off the plane.
“I actually have to work tomorrow night. THey have an event for the patients at the clinic, they have dinner there, and then they get to go around the rooms, and go trick or treating.”
“You should ask your sister if she wants to come.”
“Mom, don’t you think it would be too much for her?”
“She has her car, she can leave if she gets overwhelmed.”
This is my thing. This is the one thing that’s mine, I feel a connection to those kids. I don’t want to share it with anyone.
“I don’t know mom..”
“Just ask her, it’ll be good for her to get out of the house.”
“Mom she just got home. She hasn’t even gotten off the plane yet.”
“Will you just ask her?”
“Okay, but what about the girls? Why don’t you want me to ask them too?” I ask.
“Alex..” Mom puts her hand on my forearm. “You don;t have to ask her if you don’t ant to, but don’t be mean.”
Five minutes later, Hannah texts that she’s at the gate.
“Hi!” I get out of the car, and hug her.
“Hey.” She smiles, getting in the front next to mom.
“Where are the girls?”
“They’re with daddy tonight. We decided to go to dinner just us.”
“Do we have time to go to the movies?” Hannah asks.
“Yeah, I’d like that.” I chime in.
“Okay.” Mom smiles. “Friday’s?”
“Sure mom that sounds good.”
“Yeah.” Hannah smiles. “I’ve missed the movies.”
I missed having my closest sister around.
“So.. Hannah.” I dip a mozzarella stick in marinara sauce.
“What’s up?” Hannah sips her Coke Zero.
“Did I tell you about my job?”
mozzarella stick in marinara sauce.
“I told you about my new job, right?”
“The one at the clinic.”
“Yeah. They’re having a Halloween party there tomorrow, it’s a dinner, and then all the kids go trick or treating. I was wondering if you wanted to come.”
“No thanks.” Hannah sighs. “I’m sorry, I think it’ll be too much for me.”
“It’s okay.” I put my hand over hers. “Give yourself time.”
“Thanks.” Hannah smiles. “For being so understanding.”