Hope you enjoy my short story! 🙂
I should not have gone in. My parents would kill me if they found out. How was I supposed to know what he would do? I didn’t think much of it since he is visually impaired. But I was in his realm now. He had the advantage here.
It was just another summer Saturday morning, I got up at the ring of my alarm at nine o’clock sharp and left within fifteen minutes to help my new neighbor walk around the block because he had not gotten his guide dog yet.
I walked down his driveway and found him standing on his front porch staring in my direction, listening.
“Hi, John! How are you today”?
He remained quiet and reached out his hand in my direction. I extended my arm towards him to guide the way. We walked down the street in silence and breathed in the humid July air. We walked around the block twice, and every time we would pass a house, all I could think about is the view John is missing out on.
When we had reached the beginning of our street, he let go of my arm and silently said, “I’m going to try to walk this part on my own. If I start going near the middle or the edge of the road, please say right or left”.
John walked in a perfectly straight path until I had to stop him. We had reached the edge of his short driveway that led to the seemingly vacant one-story brown brick house. I took his arm and guided him up to the door. He then stopped, turned around and looked directly at me. I looked at his partially closed eyes, and for the first time, I was a little scared of the thirty-year-old chubby man who lives two doors down from me.
“Would you mind coming in for a little bit? I need to talk to you about something that has been bringing me down a little lately?”
I was not about to refuse because that was his first time where he was trying to open up to me. I could tell he was a little hesitant to ask, so I answered him before he had a chance to revert to his quiet, reserved self. His face lit up at the sound of my answer. John quickly reached for his keys and opened up his front door that was in need of a new paint job. We walked in and turned around to lock the door. Why is he locking the door with his keys? No one is going to come in. We live in the suburbs!
I was not surprised by the messy state that the house was in. After all, he was a middle-aged man living alone. He gave me a quick tour of the house which I thought was completely unnecessary. However, I had a feeling he did not have visitors often, so I played along and listened to him as he explained why he had moved out of his parent’s house during the previous year.
The conversation took an abrupt turn when he began telling me about his battle with depression and his attempted suicides. I don’t feel comfortable with this. Should I ask him to stop? I don’t want to make things worse.
“Eva I have to tell you something. Please do not be offended by this. You see, my girlfriend is the jealous type and if she found out about us, she would have a hissy fit”.
WHAT?! Does he not know that I am sixteen years old?! What has he been saying about me? What have I done to make him think this?
I felt the room getting smaller. I felt my knees getting weak. What is he about to do? I have to get out of here. This is not what I signed up for. At that moment, the only word I could form was ‘sorry.’ What was I even sorry about. I had done nothing wrong. I was just trying to do a good deed!
“No don’t be sorry. I just don’t want you to get the wrong idea. But if you are interested, it may be possible to make myself available. Besides, she lives in Canada! I just didn’t want to leave her because I finally found someone who wanted to be with me”. He then turned around and looked me in the eyes. “Just imagine if you were blind Eva. It is not the easiest thing to find a partner”.
This conversation is getting out of hand. I need to come up with some excuse to leave.
“John, I think my mom is expecting me to come home soon. Can you unlock the door”?
“Wait, please! I just need to talk to someone. You don’t know how long it has been since I have opened up to someone. Please. I just need to someone right now”. He reached his hand in my direction to try and grab my shoulder, but I was out of his reach.
“Eva, please. Stay for a little longer. I’m sure your mom will understand”.
Well, I don’t understand! I want to leave. How dare you put me in this situation.
“Okay. I will stay. But only for a few more minutes because I really need to go home.”.
“Thank you! You don’t know how much this means to me”.
He led me into a room with nothing but two chairs, a desk, and by my guess, a computer. One of the chairs seemed out of place. Almost as if he was expecting someone to come over. But I had never seen anyone come and visit him. Was this chair meant for me? How did he know I would come in? I don’t like this. I NEED to leave!
He took a seat, and I pushed my chair farther away from his and hoped he wouldn’t notice. He then continued talking about his girlfriend’s jealousy and how she had promised to end her life if he ever left her. Once he finished his story, he looked up from the spot on the floor where he was looking at and asked me for my advice on the matter.
Wow, this is not what I need right now. How am I supposed to answer? A person’s life may be at stake right now.
“To be quite honest, I’m not sure. I think you need to talk it out with her one on one and discuss how you feel about the situation. John, not to sound rude, but I really need to leave. Can you please unlock the door.”
“Why do you keep trying to leave? Please! I need to talk. Please”!
“I’m sorry, I can’t stay. Please unlock the door please”!
“It’s because I’m blind isn’t it?! Why the hell does this keep happening to me? I am not asking for help! Just an ear to listen. I thought you would be different. I thought you could handle the cold truth. Apparently not. Apparently, you have to be impaired to handle this type of stuff”.
I had never felt so helpless and weak. I can never know what it’s like to be him. As he silently walked me back to the front door, all I could do was apologize and hate myself for being too weak for the truth. I wish I could have helped. I wish I could be the person he talks to. But I can’t bare to listen to someone who is on the brink of self-harm.
I walked back to my house feeling defeated. I can’t go back there. I can’t tell anyone about this. It might make the situation worse. I don’t want him to get in trouble. But now I need an ear to listen. I am just scared that they can’t handle the truth.
Impaired by Tala is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.