Friday, 12 June 2020


Frank, moving the white stick left to right, slowly moved along the walkway. He’d walked along the same path for many, many years, with today being a special day. It was his birthday. Normally he’d have company, a family member or even a neighbour that would help him on his way, but today was a day when he simply wished to buy cakes for everyone at home.

He’d called a few days early, ensuring that there would be enough cakes upon the day, with today being that exact day. Ten eclairs, four iced doughnuts, as well as the delectable assortment of cream cakes. The stick continued to swipe left and right, searching for anything that might block his path. He wasn’t blind, as he still retained a small amount of sight from one eye. Tunnelled. A small, fine, reduced view of the world.

As he moved forward, thinking of which cake he’d gloriously devour, he felt a hand upon the side of his arm. He stopped, moving his head to the side, despite not being able to quickly focus upon whomever had stopped him, “Hello?” he asked, with surprise.

“Hey Mr. Thomas, It’s Francis from down the street. Can I walk with you?”

“Yes, you can young Man, yes you can!”

Frank did like Francis, as he was an upstanding, genuine sounding, young individual with his head strapped firmly to his shoulders. As they moved forward, Frank placed his hand onto Francis’ arm, allowing him to move forward that bit faster. Guided, trusting, happy for the assistance.

“Tell me, young man, what have you been up to?”

“I’ve been researching for my biomedical engineer’s exam. It’s been fun, but tiring!”

Frank smiled, finding the young man’s enthusiasm a breath of fresh air. He’d spoken to Francis on many occasions. A bright mind, a young mind, eager, willing, still seeing the world for what it could or even should be.

“Well, you keep on doing what you’re doing!”

They both stepped forward a few more steps, as Frank heard the silence between them. He wasn’t a backward person when moving forward, so simply engaged,

“Talk to me Francis. What would you like to ask?”

Francis felt awkward, but had been meaning to ask the question, sat within his mind, a few times. He couldn’t ignore the question, but needed to learn or even try to appreciate the possible answer from Frank.
“It’s an odd question, but how do you stay so upbeat and happy?  You never ask for a thing, yet you always want to help and offer words of wisdom!”

Frank laughed, lowering his head as he reflected upon the question. He could, probably, find a hundred different things to say, but instead he just let whatever sat within his mind appear from his mouth.

“Francis, you two options for the various things that happen to you in life. Ignorance or acceptance. My eyes left me when I was ten years old. I was a happy child, full of energy, just like you, but my sight wasn’t who I am or what I’ve become. I came to accept the situation for what it is. You can spend your entire life with sight, yet still be blind. You can hear everything around you, but still be deaf!”

Francis paused for a second, taking a few moments for his words to settle into the young Man’s mind.
“You will never be your religion. You will never be the colour of your skin or the sexuality that you state that you are, as you are the words you say and the thoughts that you think. Everything else is blinding you, deafening you to what your heart really wants. Every word, precious. Every action, worth something. Right or wrong. I lost my sight but gained an understanding. When you switch off the lights all that you have left is your sense of touch and the words people use. I decided to stay bright. I decided to light my own world.”

Francis, listening to each word, felt the emotion rise within him. He’d known full health, full ability, so couldn’t truly understand how the loss of sight would impact his life. Frank felt the emotion from the young man, as they both stopped.

“Francis. We adapt. We’re human beings. Take something from us and we will replace what’s missing with acceptance and understanding. Well,” Frank started to laugh as he finished the sentence, “Most will!”

They both continued to move forward, crossing the road towards the Bakery. Frank mussed over his thoughts, wondering what life would have been like if the events didn’t happen as they did. He didn’t regret any actions, any of his decisions, since that time.

“Thank you!” stated Francis, as the both of them stood in front of the store.

“That’s okay Francis. Remember, no matter what you see, or hear, the powers that be wish for you to be deaf, as well as blind, to the working ways. Ignore the media. Keep thinking for yourself and no matter how blind you think you are, listen to the words and watch their actions. Eventually, hopefully, you will always be able to see!  Take care young man.”

Francis squeezed Frank’s arm, nodding to himself, as he turned and walked away. Frank, smelling the sweet pastries inside the store, also turned to face the entrance. No matter what happened in his life, he didn’t need to see the cakes in front of him, as he could smell and imagine them just fine.

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