I saw my ex-husband in the street. I was sitting on the steps
of the new library.
I bought a low-cut purple dress for my daughter's graduation from college and surprised my ex-husband by kissing him on the mouth. Sometimes the encounters of daily life feel imagined. If I lived in the same neighborhood as my ex I'd be bound to meet him again and again and in the same places. It's good he moved though I'd never discuss our marriage on the steps of the library. What can anyone give me that I don't already have: images from my childhood (pale Edith fainting in the girls' line); the syntax and diction you never lose. I read less and less of the eye chart. With me, the inside and outside don't match: the less I see, the more I see. My eye doctor gets away with murder: my vision can't be corrected.
He had seen unspeakable things . . . eyes gouged out
with rusty spoons ...
... the rabbi, his eyes running blood ...
—Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost
I have sunglasses, computer glasses I don't use, piano glasses I would use if I played piano, red glasses I can't read supertitles with, chartreuse glasses I wear when I wear chartreuse and don't care if I see, black glasses in which I don't look like myself, dark brown tortoiseshells that were remade because when I wore them I felt nervous, blue outside and green inside glasses and new glasses the color of cheap wine. I used to have light brown tortoiseshells with coral inside but I lost them. To see as well as possible, near and far, I have to see the same with all my glasses as with the blue outside and green inside, as I saw with the light brown tortoiseshells, coral inside, I lost hurrying into the pharmacy about to close. I don't see the same with any of my glasses, including the new ones the color of cheap wine supposedly identical to the blue and green. I worry about blindness. I used to love shocking my teachers during the annual eye exam at PS 197. Each year the teacher sent a letter home, as if my parents didn't know I had bad eyes, one reason my mother wished I were a different daughter. I ought to hurry up and read. If I were blind I'd miss reading most of all. If I were blind I could dictate my writing like Borges but I am not Borges, seeing without seeing. My father saved his father's eyeglasses, gold metal glasses in a worn hard case. I don't remember my father's rabbi father ever speaking to me but I also have saved his eyeglasses.