Summer was over; dusk sifted in, like her life. Like her eyes losing its vision.
Kara was 18, not yet a woman, no longer a child.So much to look forward to, yet she could see so little beyond the light in the window . Gold and mauve. Sunsets were beautiful, gentle, like silk. She pulled her hair back in a firm knot ; “ Beautiful,” he used to say but was gone by Diwali. Love is a visual thing for men, he said, his voice dry and snapping at her soul.
Afterwards Kara snipped her hair short, threw away the letters the cards and roses roses everywhere, silly woman (herself) to have believed he would last. ” Hmmm, a thing or two you do not know about men honey,” he had whispered in her long lovely hair – it fell down her shoulders and in his face. He left when he heard her vision was slowly leaving. Tunnel vision the Doctor had said. Kara had imagined he would hold her closer than ever before, no she had hoped. Even prayed, but he had gone as fast as he could. ” You need time honey, you are so young. Look at you, still so lovely…”
That was three months ago.The evening now was warm, still. She needed a shower : mom and the others would be home soon. It was her birthday, no phone call from ‘him’, not even short mail service ha ha ! There were gifts everywhere, clothes,iPhone,shoes,a jewelry set and even a sari with a Sunsilk Gift Hamper from Gran. (It promised hair like straightened silk). Oh she needed to even out her curls, ‘he’ had loved curls, NO WAY she needed her curls just now, maybe later but not now. Dear sweet heavens, I have a broken heart and need some straightening myself, “Sunsilk do this for me…wash away the old, ring in the new, can’t you can’t you ?”
Little whorls of laughter filtered in with the last of the light as Kara slipped on a blue silk shirt and jeans. Something felt good, what was it? The door bell rang and everyone arrived with cake, heart balloons) oh please!), singing candles and a visitor named Doctor Tushar, Ophthalmologist, tall,dark,handsome,friendly banter. Kara smiled generally at everyone but felt his eyes on her face. Oh no, he’s about to diagnose my condition and say things about positivity and prospects.
” Hello,” he said. She was easy, not like others with visual impairment. There was little awkwardness as they had coffee and samosas in the veranda.
“Kara,how do you cope? I hear you are an artist?”
” I use what I’ve got.For now.”
You’ve got so much, he wished to say, but held the words for later. There was a thing about this young lady, he could not say it out loud, he could not ignore it. The way the Light fell off her hair and eyes. Like straight silk from the sun. He stammered and looked away, wishing for some of her poise.” You’ve got fantastic hair,” he finally managed.
She grinned, ” Ah’m ! I use Silk. Sunsilk.”
“That sounds like a Bond girl,” he smiled back; his smile was lopsided and revealed a scar down the left chin. She saw that, peered close and pulled back embarrassed.
” I got that at school, falling off a mango tree. As idiotic as that.” He looked away, wondering if he would ever be good enough for her. They talked for hours, she told him about the guy who had run from her and her visual challenge.
” I guess I wasn’t aesthetically perfect for him: love is a visual thing for men..” he had said. Is It ?”
” Ask me about Vision, Brilliance. ” He said his words carefully,” Ask me about Life.”
She stared at his words: he was different, and younger than she had thought.
Ma and Gran missed nothing, Nothing. A lizard clucked in the ceiling and Gran sniffed. When a lizard clucked it meant what she thought was true! Kara and Tushar painted the town red that week and decided on a long engagement.
” How do you do it?” He asked her one evening her eyes like stars, gazing up at his as close as they could decently get to each other in the moonlight, under Gran’s window.
“How do I do what?” Sometimes he confused her; maybe eye docs were obsessed with Light or something.
” Shine. You always shine. From the roots of your hair to the soul of you Kara, shining out your eyes..”
“Challenges come with gifts I guess, ” she laughed, thinking about Gran’s hamper and two little purple saints * that began to straighten out her mess. Yep, that day the Light came in differently, it was gold and mauve….