I hurry into my government office building, a little late. It had taken me longer than I thought it would to get the orange juice, because I was reading the labels again to find it. I have to take time scanning shelves still, as it is hard to pick out words from the backgrounds of colored packages. I am looking down at the tiles, watching my feet. The row of grey pebbled tiles stands sharply against the pale pink cement, and I almost wonder if the row is higher and if I should step up. Then I remember it is not color that signifies the height and depth of things, but shades and angles. Besides, the rows would hardly change overnight.
No time to waste on silly suppositions. I have to concentrate on getting to Brian, the hydrologist, before the meeting to make a few last minute changes. Once I saw the lines on the hydrograph, I knew they didn't make sense. But I had to check his numbers to make sure that the lines and not my sight were off. I rechecked all the data, staying up half the night. But sure enough, it was the numbers.
I look ahead to the elevator. The shiny lights coming off the burnished steel panels distract me and I shake my head so I don't watch them move and become mesmerized again. I have been late too many times from watching those things writhe in the sunlight. Not today. I look at the door plate, taking a moment again to decide that the grey button is more important than the scratched mirror surface around it. I push and wait. The light goes off, and I have to remember to look up to see which elevator. I still forget--even though it has been 2 years since I moved into this sighted dimension.
Dr. Smits, the neurologist, keeps telling me that I need to use my new sight to live a full life and stop relying on my previous methods of sound and feel. After all, I am lucky to have my sight now and isn't life so much better now than when I was blind? Of course it is, without time to consider or to let me contradict him.
I am a permanent visitor here. I cannot go back to my home land and must learn vision, be fluent enough at least to converse in it and work with the natives of this sighted place.
I keep promising to practice, to live within this sense, but I still lapse sometimes into performing routine chores blind as it is so much easier. I still take stairs with my eyes slammed shut--I just refuse to take the time to figure out which is a step, which is a rise, and how high that is by sight. I know I won't get any faster at vision datastream interpretation without practicing, like a gaijin exiled to Japan who won't ever be fluent in Japanese, but who could improve her second language with a lot of practice. So I promise myself again to practice. I force my eyes open and take in all of the patterns and dimples and hairs and tiny splotches of color of the elevator hall. I even let the shiny lights from the steel doors seep into my consciousness.