“The human mind, like parachute, works best when open.” -C. Chan
So I work for a place where I talk to people who are losing their vision, have already lost their vision, or weren’t able to see a ding-dang thing since they were born. My employer’s main focus is those who are slowly/quickly losing their sight, and consequently becoming increasingly depressed due to having their independence and ability retracted from them. They can’t do everyday things that used to be mindlessly easy: not being able to drive and go wherever they want, whenever they want, however they please, etc. And my “job” is to talk to them about it. Day in and day out. Most are older folks. Country folks. City folks. Barely any young folks…like me.
But talking to those who’ve been born since the 1910-1930′s brings to mind my “elephant in the room” mortality.
I mean, we all know we’re going to die, right? But, I never really knew or seriously thought of its magnitude…until about half a year ago, when I walked to work, hopped onto the elevator to take me to the sixth floor research unit, and stood in the back, watching the elevator stop at each floor in order to allow those graced with white hair to step aboard. Then, all of a sudden it just punched me in the face. Just like that. No warning, no transition, no nothing. Just straight up, knuckles all up in my face. My mind flashed forward about seventy years and this time, I was the one stepping onto the elevator. Wrinkled lines from brow to toe. Well-worn skin blanketed over. Gravity-drooped eyelids. Velcro shoes. Slow.
Stunned, I hardly noticed the shiver silently snaking south through my spine.
“Going up, third floor.”
And here I was…with my mess of black hair, adolescent skin, school-worn backpack, barely broken-in body, shoe-laced shoes. Fast. Blind.
A tiny gasp bloomed within my chest as my mind was brought back into the confined space I shared amongst those breathing in front of me. And slowly, I felt a subtle tug on my heartstrings. Just enough tautness felt to gain my heart’s acknowledgment.
Immediately, a sense of urgency shot through my veins. Oh, no. I have to take care of my Ma. Oh, and Daddy, too. Wait! What about my brothers? Dammit, why was I such a cranky bitch yesterday? PMS? Yeah, ok…maybe. But still, PMS is kicked to the curb when tomorrow is never guaranteed. Oh, shits of shits. What about my friends? What about everything? Oh, fuck. Stuck in a rut. Sorrow. What am I doing with my life? What?
Like waking up everyday, and mindlessly expecting to see what you see every morning when your eyelids slide apart, the elevator doors slid open, and I thought I’d just see the same old thing: People waiting to go down to the first floor.
But, no. Not this time. Not today…
And for one of the first time’s in my life, I was finally able to see.
And slowly, I felt a simple tug on my heartstrings.
Just enough tension felt to acknowledge my heart’s beat.