The Itinerant Teacher of the Blind published in issue #7 Kiss Machine
I carry out the simplest tasks in an extreme and deliberate manner, brushing my teeth until my gums bleed, peeing into the darkness until I hit the bowl.
I take a pink pill each morning (I’m told it is pink and I trust the woman who tells me, she is my wife) with a glass of orange juice, swat the hair brush through the textured surface of my head, and rush off, hoping not to trip on cracks in the sidewalk. Thank God for the children and their bright, fearless optimism.
A book slams shut.
“Mr. Gardner it’s Olcaro.”
“We’re here to focus on your problems.”
Shuffling steps erasing the landscape. Eyes blink, can’t see through the opacity of lids. In my darkness, I move comfortably, shave myself, needing no mirrors. My friends disappear. How does one know? Anything?
I am hideous, my face a Halloween mask. Almost a blessing that I can only feel the hell of it, my fingers touching cracks in the skin where the grafts have pulled away, the empty orbs where my eyes used to reside. I tried glass eyes but kept losing them.
I hear the buzz of the bell and the electronic voice announcing the hour.
Soon everything is as quiet as before.
“Hello Mr. Gardner.”
My barber Leonardo is a close friend. I trust that he gives me a good haircut. I wish to believe him when he says his nephew Simon enjoys my classroom.
I track my progress home by the barking of the neighbourhood dogs. Henry says nothing but allows me the handle on his back.
My wife fills our home with the smell of a fresh-baked apple pie. The cinnamon bites the surface of my fingers.
When I have enough speed, I let go. I’m flying. Such a small mercy to discover I have wings. My hands reach for the bar. But I miss and drop to the rubber mat with a tremendous slap. I do a tumble, keeping my head tucked in, then stretch out in pain.