Sitting on the pier was the best way to hear the sea move back and forth in an unbroken rhythm. I decided to hide here because I could feel sweat beginning to trickle down my forehead, and I needed a break from our walk. Usually, during the afternoon, it was difficult to find a seat. But with careful precision and the help of Pip, I placed myself on what felt like a bench. I reclined and rested my head back, allowing the wind to hit my face. In an instant most of my troubles were carried away with the wind. As each trouble was swept away, the weight on my shoulders lightened. The wind understood me, my desire to move away from home. Yet, my family were the only ones that wouldn’t let me take my first proper steps into the world. I knew they meant well and I loved them, but for how long could I live in a bubble-wrapped world? Yes, I was blind and, yes, the world was full of spikes that would one way or another burst the bubble that they had placed around me. Still, I wanted to move out. I could afford to and I had Pip. I wanted to find my own place in the world even if it meant walking into a few walls and falling into a few ditches.
I assumed that I was alone on the bench, so I spoke to Pip.
‘Pip,’ I sighed. ‘Sometimes I think life would be easier if weren’t blind’, I said, stroking her soft fur. ‘Then again, I wouldn’t have met you.’
‘I don’t mean to startle you,’ said a masculine voice. It was an easy sound to my ears. ‘Just thought you should know that I’m sitting here too.’ I could hear laughter in his voice, and it instantly made me smile.
Embarrassed and determined to explain myself I said, ‘ I so sorry. I thought I was alone. Pip Usually takes me to an empty bench.’ I removed a strain of hair behind my ear. Then, I quickly put my hand down. I forgot that those sort of things shouldn’t matter to a girl like me.
‘Don’t worry. Your hair doesn’t look crazy’, said the man kindly. ‘I’m Drew, by the way.’
‘Hi Drew. I’m Joy.’ I stretched my hand and shook his. They were warm and had kindness in them. I don’t know how hands could be kind. But his were.
We were both silent for a while. The crash of the waves moved in a measured time as if it was trying to communicate to me, reassure me that I would be okay.
I turned to where I thought Drew’s voice came from, because I could hear his in take of breath. He was about to say something.
‘I’ve noticed you like watching the,’ he stopped. ‘Sorry. What I meant to say was that you like listening to the waves. I enjoy watching them.’
I laughed at his mistake and so did he.’That’s okay.I know what you mean. I do love listening to waves. There’s something so soothing about it. Sometimes, though, I wish I could see it’, I said in a sad tone. There was so much I was missing out on in this world just because of my disability.It was unfair.
‘It must suck a lot,’ he said with a voice soaked in sympathy. ‘But there are some ugly sights that you don’t want to see. So count yourself lucky. Look on the bright side- at least you don’t have to look at the people you don’t like.’
‘Well, when you put it that way it makes every thing better,’ I said with a hint of annoyance. I had met this guy for a moment and he was acting as if he knew what it was like to be blind.
‘Life can be unfair, but you have to live through it, and somewhere along the line you’ll learn to rise above it,’ he said, calmly.
‘You make it sound very easy. But trust me, I’m living through it. I’m yet to rise.’
‘I’m not surprised with such an attitude’, he in matter of fact tone. ‘You’re a tad bit negative.’
‘That’s a little rude. You don’t even know what I’m going through’, I said in defence.
‘I’m not trying to be rude. I’m just being honest. What are you going through?’
Why should I tell a complete stranger? He didn’t deserve to know. Or maybe if I did tell he would realise that he had made a mistake.
‘I don’t think it’s any of your business,’ I said. A breeze wept across the pier and it made a small whistling sound. ‘Hear that? Even the wind is saying the same thing.’
‘I can’t hear that. To be fair you’re right. It is your business’, he said in an honest tone. I don’t think you should blow it out of proportion. Think about it, but don’t dwell on it.’
‘Thanks for the sermon,’ I replied with sarcasm. Deep down I knew he was making a valid point. I felt the bench make a sound indicating that he had decided to get up.
‘Well, it was interesting meeting you,’ I heard him shout.
‘Yeah, okay,’ I said coldly. Yet, he didn’t reply, which was strange for someone who was determined to talk whenever he had the chance.