Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

MOST OF THE TIME I don’t notice it.

Getting older, that is.

I think of some punchline about how if you don’t like what it is you’re looking at, turn down the lights.

Maybe the problem was that my eyes were dilated.

Sitting in the opthalmologist’s examination room for half an hour — which was 25 minutes longer than I was told the wait would be — seemed like an eternity. The room was dark, except for several lighted buttons built into a cabinet and a flourescent wall washer dimly illuminating part of one wall above the sink.

I sat for a few minutes. Then paced. The room was really too small for a satisfying pace. Five small steps, then turn; five more, and turn again. Suddenly that seemed ridiculous. I sat back down. Raised my arms above my head and stretched. Curled them down to my feet and stretched. It felt good.

Had I known the wait was going to be so long, I might have made a phone call, written a blog, made a grocery list, written out a “mind dump” (that’s another story), or Something. But five minutes is no time at all, not when you’re waiting for the door to open any moment, waiting for the doctor to come in and shine her bright light directly into your naked, vulnerable eyeballs.

After all the sitting and the pacing and the stretching, she still had not arrived to join me in that frigid room,
and so I sat some more. My dilated eyes focused on my hands arranged quietly on the fabric of my black cotton skirt.

My hands hurt, but I had not noticed, had not wished to notice, how arthritis has begun to sculpt hollows in the bones and lumps in the knuckles.


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