The Last Time I Looked: (Stories, Real and Unreal) - THE MIND'S EYE Chapter One
April 8, 2013

Do you know how you know when a major life trauma is occurring? You know, you just do.

On Thursday morning, December 22,1994, I got up at my semi-usual time, 8 or 10:30, and went down to make coffee and bring the papers in, the papers were nowhere to be found.

I passed the open library door, I peeked in, call it a wife’s sixth sense, or better still, don’t. I saw my husband Adolph in his raggedy night-shirt sitting on the couch. His posture was uncharacteristically straight, but his eyes were closed, and a low grade “Zzz” was journeying down through his nose and coming out a delicate, breathy whistle from his fluttering lips. The darling was asleep. But he was cradling that morning's virgin New York Times in his arms. I knew why. A review of an Off-Broadway revival of his musical, “A Doll’s Life”, was likely to appear that day.

About three years earlier, Adolph, who had trouble in one eye, but whose other was functioning perfectly, woke up one morning and told me that something peculiar and disturbing had happened. Everything he looked at was elongated and either moving or swaying, with frequent bursts of light or darkness occurring in and around these abstract painting-like visions.

I looked into that supposed “good eye”, and it displayed the tumult going on behind it, by a slightly grayish cast, an almost imperceptible diffusion of focus, and small, pale bloodshot corners.

I urged him to call his eye doctor (it didn’t take a lot of urging). When he described his symptoms to the doctor over the phone, every other word was a painter’s name.

“Ummh ah...well...Van Gogh……Huh?... sometimes…a little…of course...you know...Munch.”

And then finally...”Well...it’s really as if my toothbrush, comb, my face in the mirror was being painted, rubbed out, and painted again by El Greco.” From then on it was a parade of vision specialists, all good men and women. We both felt as if we were part of a clumsy montage of medical scenes from a thirties black and white movie.

Doctors shaking their heads as they show us technologically sophisticated pictures of the back of his eyes; dissolve into Adolph unable to see even the largest letter of an electronic eye chart; cut to me in yet another anonymous waiting room, this time in Baltimore, trying to find some laughs while reading a year-old copy of MODERN MATURITY.

Finally, the diagnosis was clear and unanimous. Adolph’s right eye had developed, in an unusually brief time, what had blocked out the vision in his left eye: Macular Degeneration, a fairly common disease.

What made this a red and black letter day as Adolph sat there asleep on the couch clutching the New York Times was that I realized this was the first review of one of his works that he couldn’t read himself.

Click here to read chapter two.
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6 comments
And I'm crying of course. xkellee
2:52pm 04/11/2013
Kellee
Great narrative drive, dear Phyllis. You leave your readers wanting more, a lot more. Congrats! Much love, B
11:39am 04/11/2013
Robert Pounder
And? And? Don't leave us hanging!
11:50am 04/10/2013
Nina
DARLING PHYLLIS..I TOLDF YOU LAST YEAR HOW WONDERFUL YOUR BLOG IS..MAKES ME LAUGH AND CRY(SOMETIMES) SOMETIMES THE TEARS ARE BECAUSE I'M LAUGHING!
ANYWAY...YOU'RE A NATURAL...IN EVERY WAY...MUCH LOVE, SANDY
P.S. KEEP THOSE CARDS AND LETTERS COMING....
11:50am 04/10/2013
Sandy Stewart
You should write and write and write. Your voice is compelling, clever and charming. And, you do have a story to tell. I love reading what you write.

Ron
1:03pm 04/08/2013
Ron Barron
Great energy with a dram of foreboding. Go on for sure!
12:56pm 04/08/2013
Steve Downey