For Children

Inika Agrawal

A New Pair of Eyes

5th & 6th Grade Honorable Mention

I squinted at the amorphous squiggles surrounding dots and tried to make out a letter. “Umm, E?” I guessed randomly.

Glancing at my eye doctor, she shook her head. “No, it was an O.”

I was sitting in a tall chair doing my yearly eye check-up, an array of tools spanned out around my eyes. The small room smelled of sanitation, and I glanced around at the immaculate walls reeking of perfection. The doctor’s focused manner intimidated me, and I glanced at my dad for some support.

Nodding his head, he pointed to the next letter.

I sighed and turned to the next mutated letter. No matter how hard I willed my eyes to decipher the letter, they just weren’t capable of such a task.

A few letters later, my doctor turned to look apologetically at my dad. “Your daughter will need eyeglasses, her vision has gotten weaker.”

My stomach dropped and my eyes immediately welled up with tears. How could this happen? My eyeglasses would look so bad! My doctor led my dad out of the room, but I didn’t want to follow. I needed to talk to this doctor and find my way out of having to get eyeglasses. Yet I knew I couldn’t; there was nothing I could do about this. A big lump formed in my throat, and I tried to fight it back down.

“Will I have to wear my eyeglasses every day?” I suddenly managed to croak. My doctor swiveled around to face me and nodded, her face sympathetic.

I avoided her gaze and looked down to study my suddenly interesting shoes.

By the time I got home, I was full-on sobbing. Nothing seemed worse than suddenly having to wear eyeglasses. What would my classmates think of me? What if people didn’t want to hang out with me anymore? My parents tried to comfort me, but I pushed them away. Instead,
I locked myself in my room and confided all of my worries to my wonderfully patient teddy bear.

The next day, my dad took me shopping to get eyeglasses. I trudged into the store and followed my dad to the kids’ section. I studied the variegated array of eyeglasses, all of different shapes and colors. Plucking a rectangular violet pair from the shelf, I placed them over my ears and looked into the mirror. Right away I nodded and showed my dad. He smiled and set them on the table to decide later. It was sort of fun to try on the eyeglasses and experiment. For a minute I almost forgot about being upset about having to wear them. Almost.

Many eyeglasses later, I showed all of my favorite ones to my dad and plopped onto the chair next to him. For the next ten minutes, I tried each of them on again, examining each of the intricate designs on them. At last, I decided on my original pair of violet glasses, and together my dad and I turned toward the desk to pay. As I watched my dad talk to the lady at the counter, I felt a sudden race of excitement to wear my glasses. Maybe they weren’t going to turn out so bad after all.

A few days later, I wore my eyeglasses to school. At first, I walked along the halls shyly, tilting my head so that my jet black hair covered half of my face. Yet my classmates treated me as if I hadn’t gotten eyeglasses at all. They actually complimented the design of my eyeglasses. As the day raced along, my earlier timidness evaporated into confidence. Now, I skipped along the school halls with my friends, feeling jubilant and brave. My glasses had become part of who I was, and I was beginning to finally accept that.

More than two years later, I still feel the same rush of misery whenever I relive the time I had to get eyeglasses. After that day, I developed a lot more self-confidence, and it was no longer important as to what people thought of me. Now I no longer strive to be perfect, I feel thankful for the parts that separate me from everyone else. Without these imperfections, I would blend into the crowd, like adding white paint to an already immaculate wall.