No one noticed the secret messages he’d left behind. He needn’t have bothered to hide them, or even leave them as secret since no one seemed to pay the least bit of notice. If he’d survived, the surfeit of inattention would have infuriated him even as it would have confirmed his notion of his place in the world. As a keeper of secrets, the disregard of others would have been attributed to a concerted effort to fool him into complacency even as they continued their non-stop surveillance of his secret actions. This conclusion he kept to himself not even to be committed to pen and paper along with his other secret messages lest the messages fall, revealing him and his schemes to those who wish to thwart him. Best to let thine enemy think you are unaware of their base collusions.
An assortment of hair ties, a pack of Mentos, a nail file and nail clippers, a small flashlight that doesn’t work any more but has this cute picture of a dolphin on it, an expired bus ticket, three ink pens, lip balm, a drinking straw, a thirty-seven cents in loose change, a toothpick, a toothbrush, a travel tube of toothpaste, a pair of pantyhose, a business card from someone she doesn’t remember who or why she’s keeping it but you just never know, several tissues in various stages of use, sunglasses, another pair of sunglasses, ketchup pack, blue and pink artificial sweetener packs, receipts from last night through three months ago, a postcard she meant to send to her sister if she ever got around to writing something on it, a key that doesn’t fit anything as far as she knows but it looks nice on the commemorative keychain fob from the art museum when they had an exhibit of impressionist artists, an old wallet she doesn’t use any more which is empty save for three dollars tucked away that she’s forgotten about, an ice scraper for the car, a flash drive she found in a hotel parking lot she’s too afraid it might have a virus to plug it into her laptop, a comb, a hairbrush, a book of matches even though she doesn’t smoke anymore, and a folded up plastic bag in case she forgets to bring the canvas bag when she’s grocery shopping.
“Trust me, this won’t hurt a bit.”
She already didn’t trust this guy. Anyone that said it didn’t hurt was a liar trying to make themselves feel good before they delivered the pain. She wasn’t having any of it and refused to talk in spite of his earlier attempts at small talk. She was there for one reason and one reason only. Get her eyes fixed.
“We’ll start with a simple drop. Lean back and look straight up.”
Was that looking up from her former sitting position which would mean looking at the ceiling, or looking up from her position resting on her back which meant up was the wall?
So much for the won’t hurt promise. Asshole.
“There. Now just relax for a few minutes and the doctor will be right in.”
So was this guy even qualified to administer medicine to her eyes in the first place? If anything went wrong, this guy was going to be at the top of the list of people to sue.
“Okay, I’m Dr Silverton. I’m here to check your eyes.”
Another name to add to the list.
“First things first, we are going to calibrate your vision and then the machine will make a few small adjustments if you need any. Then you’ll have perfect eyesight again. Won’t that be wonderful?l
No, what would be wonderful would be to have finished this procedure a week ago and for everyone to quit talking to her. Seriously.
“Lean forward and place your chin on the little shelf in front of you. Great. Lean in all the way.”
Well if I didn’t get it right, why’d you tell me I was doing great? Liars. Every last one of them.
“You should hear a humming sound and your face might feel a little warm. Perfectly normal. Just relax while I take the readings. You’re doing great.”
Almost had me convinced there until you said great again.
“Hmm. Um, let me do that again.”
Do what again? You haven’t done anything yet.
He takes a breath and pauses, gathering himself for the task ahead, straightening his broad shoulders. He takes another breath, and then another, breath upon breath, pulling in the great ocean of air and all that swim in it, the birds and flying insects, the bats and the seeds of plants. He keeps taking breath upon breath, ingesting the clouds and the moon, until even the sun is consumed. When the sky is empty he takes one last breath and pulls himself inside.
It came to pass that men displeased the gods and the gods sent giants upon the earth. The giants threw large rocks at the cities of men and the cities were destroyed. Then the giants strode upon the earth to crush the people who lived, even those who made their homes beneath the earth and those who made their homes above the earth. The giants came to crush them all, but still some survived because the gods decided not to kill them all. So it was that the people who survived were allowed to gather into collectives and start again, but the giants remained, standing watch over the people.