|Love Is Blind part I
by AnonSky ©
"I'd love to...Galahad and I both need the exercise, but I need to tell Bev."
At that moment a younger version of Allison walked up to the table. "Here you are. I thought you might have gotten lost in there."
As Brad stood up he saw Allison's sister take in his damaged face and the way her smile quickly turned off. Allison spoke up, "Bev, this Brad Covington, he's a junior. We've been sitting here talking. Brad, this is my sister, Beverly. Bev, sit down and join us."
"Hi, glad to meet you," said Brad. Beverly did not extend her hand so he held his back, then sat back down.
Beverly gave him a curt nod, "Hi," and glanced at Allison, "Allie, we need to be going...it's almost nine."
"Brad's offered to walk me back to the complex. He lives there too."
"I don't think that's such a good idea, Allie. We're new here, you don't know the town, the people, or Brad - you just met him. You'd better come on with me."
As Brad started to say something, Allison groped out and put her hand on his arm, "Wait Brad." Allison turned toward Beverly, "Beverly, even if Brad were a serial killer or a rapist, you've seen him, he wouldn't be stupid enough to do anything now. You go ahead. I'll be home in about 45 minutes."
After Beverly had left, obviously disapproving of Allison decision, Allison gave Brad's arm a gentle squeeze. "I'm sorry Brad, Bev doesn't usually act that way...I don't know what got into her."
"She was just trying to protect you. After all, you really don't know much about me."
"I don't need that kind of protection - mothering." Allison laughed softly. "I bet I know more about you than you think. Don't say anything till I'm through and then tell me how many things I get wrong. OK?"
After he said okay, she began, "Listening to your voice when you're standing, you're about 5'10 or 5'11, not over six feet tall at most. You aren't fat, you're pretty trim, about 165 or 170 - your footsteps don't sound heavy. You've played football or some other sport; you walk like an athlete. You don't smoke or I'd smell it. You have a grade point average between 3.0 and 4.0, your use of the language, your choice of words, gives that away. You have a nice voice, it has a hint of sadness in it at times - like you've been disappointed or hurt. You're basically a gentle, thoughtful person - you reacted that way when you discovered I was blind." She smiled, then continued, "You use English Leather aftershave, and you had the liver and onion special at the cafeteria for dinner. Last of all, Galahad likes you." Allison laughed, "How did I do?"
Brad shook his head, laughing too, "You didn't miss a one, but you didn't get what soap I use."
Brad laughed and held up his hands in mock surrender, "Okay..okay, I give up, but that wasn't what I meant about your sister." He continued in a more serious tone, "I think I know why your sister is concerned about me. She probably thinks I'm taking advantage of you because you can't see what I look like. I guess I was doing a little pretending too."
Brad paused, took a deep breath, and told Allison about the accident, his recovery, the operations, Julie, and how people tended to react to his scarred face. Allison was quiet for a moment when he finished. Then she asked softly, "Brad, can I see your face....would you let me really see it."
"I don't know what you mean...sure, but how?"
"I mean with my fingers...kneel down by my chair and let me see your face with my fingers."
"Sure....I guess that's okay," he said as he got up and knelt down.
Allison ran her fingers lightly over his face, then going back repeated it very slowly, as though she were drawing a map or a picture in her mind. As she traced the scars and felt the slick restored skin on the left side of his face, a tear ran from under her glasses and down her cheek. Then she left the scarred side and concentrated on the other side - she never said a word. After a few moments she whispered, "Oh Brad, thank you....thank you."
As Allison took off her glasses and wiped her eyes, Brad sat back down in the chair. Other than members of his family and the doctors and nurses, no one had touched his face in five years. He took a deep breath trying to steady his emotions - he glanced at his watch. "I need to get you home - your sister will have the cops out looking for us for sure, " he said jokingly in a soft voice.
Brad lay in bed reviewing the evening. They had gotten to her apartment about ten till ten - he had hated to see the walk end. She asked him to come in, but Beverly was obviously cool to the idea so he had declined. They did agree to meet at the library tomorrow afternoon about four p.m., and he realized he was looking forward to it with an eagerness that was unusual for him.
On the walk, Allison had told him about her accident, a car wreck when she was thirteen. A semi-truck had hit the car on the passenger side and she had ended up with a broken arm, leg, some cracked ribs, a punctured lung, and a piece of the chrome window trim piercing her skull. Her father just had minor injuries. Two weeks later, she had her fourteen birthday in the hospital - she also found out she would be blind for the rest of her life. At fifteen, she went to the Ripley Institute for the Blind in New York State, where she lived for three years. She got her high school diploma from Ripley, but she also learned how to live as a blind person in a sighted world. She got Galahad during her second year at Ripley, and after graduation, they had come home and entered the Jr. College, waiting for Beverly to graduate from high school.
"She is really amazing," thought Brad. She had told him she was lucky, she had been able to see for thirteen years, she had a point of reference when she read something or some one described something to her - she knew what red was, what a sunset looked like. Imagine those blind from birth, she had said, they had no reference, no memory of those things - they had never seen them. Brad drifted off to sleep thinking of tomorrow.
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