There was nothing. Heck, there never had been. Not for me. Everything had always been pitch black, from the day I was born. I never knew color or light. I only ever knew sound. But that was okay. It messed with my sleep, sometimes. I guess my body didn’t know when it was day or night, so I kept getting tired during the day and staying up late at night. It got to the point once that I had to go buy some sleep-aid stuff to make sure I didn’t become totally nocturnal. A lot of things are more difficult, I’m sure, but I’ve never known anything else. At this point, I welcome the void. It’s comforting to know that no matter what happens, it’ll always be there. The one thing that never changes. The one thing that never leaves.
I use one of the stick things you often see blind people use in movies and television shows. I don’t think I ever knew the official name of them. It was a bit of a hassle at first, learning to use it, but I was a little kid then, maybe seven years old. I still remember one of the outbursts I had after getting fed up with being forced to use it. I said something about hating the stick and hating life, then broke the thing over my knee. Apparently it was a sight to behold. I woke up on Saturday, May 14th, 2011. My eyes snapped open as my alarm went off. The blaring sound jarred me out of bed like usual, but it seemed a little quieter today. I must’ve been getting used to it. Sound meant a lot to me, so if I was getting used to my alarm, it could bode poorly for other things I might need to hear.
I slowly slogged my way into the kitchen, not even bothering with the stick. I knew the way well enough now that I could walk it with one leg being eaten by a crocodile. I move at something like a forty-five degree angle from my bed out the door, take a right turn once my foot hits hard wood, walk three and a half steps forward, and make a left. The sink was dead-ahead, but I take a right once I reach it and the morning-starter is two and a quarter steps away. I heard the coffee-maker shut off, chiming out a little jingle before setting itself to its warming mode. I hated the taste of coffee, but the smell was great and I practically survived on the stuff now. I absolutely needed it to get up in the morning, and it kept me alive throughout the day. I reached over and grabbed the only mug I owned. Apparently it was adorned with little carton animals from some little girl’s show, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t see how ridiculous it was, so it didn’t matter. It was always in the same place: right next to the coffee-maker.
I poured myself a cup of coffee and stood there for a bit, taking a little sip at a time. It was still blazing hot, so I couldn’t dare risk any more. I let out a deep sigh and decided I should actually start my day. I walked to the left about five steps and set my coffee down on my table after reaching out with my other hand to find the table itself. There was a chip in one side, likely from moving here. I never actually knew what happened to it. I woke up one day, and boom, it was there. It wasn’t a particularly large chip, but it bothered me nonetheless. This table was very old. My great-grandmother made this table with my grandfather, and it’s been in the family ever since. I don’t imagine it is worth a lot of money, but I feel somehow richer knowing I have it. I turned to head back to my room and change, and my arm brushed the mug. I stopped moving as fast as I registered what was happening, but it was too late. The mug slowly slid off the edge as if in slow-motion and smashed to what sounded like a million tiny pieces on the floor. I stared blankly at the void. It stared back at me with equally little emotion. Another day, another problem.
One hour later, I was out on the streets, the mug mess cleaned up, and my stick in hand. I calmly moved it from side-to-side in the technique I was taught and found that very few things were in my path. I was on my way to get a new mug, preferably not one for a children’s show. I made my way into the local pottery shop and breathed deep. It seemed to me like every sense was heightened over someone else’s in the absence of sight. I could smell the kiln in the back burning bright as they cooked some kind of new pot or mug. I’d never actually been in here before but this wasn’t the first time I had been in a pottery store. I smelled a couple various hot metals in the back, though what exactly they were was beyond me. This place seemed nice. It smelled nice and sounded amazing. Nothing from the process in the back was too loud and it was almost soothing as background noise. I tapped my stick a couple of times against a small display table to my right. The pottery on top made an elongated ringing deep within. Pots, it sounded like. I moved ahead, sweeping the stick across my path slowly.
It bounced off something with slightly more force than normal. Rubber, it seemed like. A shoe, no doubt. I heard someone make a slight gasp and felt the air shift as they turned around. I definitely just hit someone’s foot.
“Sorry,” I said, shuffling slightly away from them to get by. Then they spoke, and my whole world lit up.
“Not a problem.” Three, tiny, simple words, but so beautiful. Like the melody to a choir of angels. A perfect sound, crystal clear and softer than a dove’s wingbeat. Like ringing a perfect crystal glass in a ballroom. It echoed and bounced around wildly in my head in the most beautiful way imaginable. A soaring chorus singing to God himself. I think I made a noise, or something. Maybe a choking sound that resembled a dying weasel. Its about all my brain was capable at the time. She giggled lightly at the noise and my heart practically leapt out of my chest. It was so perfect. She was so perfect.
“Uh-ah-” I choked on my words for a moment longer before I finally managed to spit out something coherent. “Uh, I’m just looking for a mug.” I could imagine the perfect smile as she giggled again.
“Let me show you where they’re at.” She said, gently grabbing my hand. Everything was light. The void was gone, replaced by her. Her laughter, her soft, perfect hand. She gently led me over to the mugs and started gently describing them to me, one after another. She kept pressing them into my hand and asking how they felt, if I thought they might hurt my hand after a while, or something. I was barely paying attention. Every word was a slice of heaven. I never thought in my wildest dreams I could ever be this happy listening to anyone speak about mugs. About anything, really. They could’ve been telling me about how I was going to see for the first time in my life, or they could make a cure for cancer from my stem cells or something and I still wouldn’t be half as happy as this. I didn’t need the void. I never really needed it to begin with. I was alive with sensation. It was incredible. Everything was vivid and bright for the first time in my life.
I could see.