It's that time of the week again! I've been working on a new story, based on a short story I wrote a few years ago for creative writing. It's about a girl who's in a car accident and befriends the blind boy who lives next door. It's totally untitled, but I thought I'd share part of it.
The doorbell rang, loud and chiming. Our house was so tiny that the door was right off of the kitchen so I used the wall as support to hobble forward. It was probably a package or something for my mom; she was always getting those infomercial products that are supposed to make your life easier.
But when I opened the door, the blind kid was standing there, dark glasses over his eyes. He was wearing a pair of jeans, but they weren’t baggy and falling off like his brother’s always seemed to be.
“Yes?” I asked. It was weird not to feel self-conscious. If he couldn’t see me, he couldn’t judge.
“May I use your phone?” he asked, very politely. “I don’t know where my mom went and the door to our house is locked.”
“Um, sure,” I said, “Come in.”
He left his cane outside, propped up on the porch steps, and felt his way along the walls of the entranceway. For a moment, I felt the pity that most people must feel when they see him – “Poor boy, can’t even see where he’s going,” but then something snapped in me. It was so harsh that I almost fell over. Feeling bad for him was worse than feeling bad for myself because he’d always been like this; he didn’t know any other way. And I’d only been hurt for a year and I could barely wake up for self pity sometimes. Fuck pity.
“Let me go get the phone,” I said, going into the kitchen to pick up the wireless.
“What’s your name?” he asked and his voice was very soft.
“Danielle,” I told him.
“I’m Henri.” He said it like he was French; “Ahn-ri”.
“Um,” I said, holding the phone. “Do you want me to dial the number for you?”
He told me the number, standing very still with a hand on the dining room table, like it was the only thing holding him up.
“Here.” I gave him the phone, brushing my smooth hands over his rough palms.
He stood there for a second, holding the phone to his ear. The volume was so loud that I could hear the ringing as I leaned against the kitchen counter, watching him. But no one answered and he sighed, handing me back the phone.
“Do you want to stay here? Until she comes back?”
“It’s alright,” he said. “I’ll just wait outside for her.”
It was June and we lived in north Miami. No way was I going to let him sit out in that heat. “It’s fine, really. I know it’s really hot outside.”
He sighed and I figured he was admitting defeat.
“There’s a chair right behind you,” I told him.
“Can I ask you something?” he asked me quietly as he sat down.
“Sure,” I said, settling at the kitchen table across from him.
“My mom always talks about your family and calls you fi tris. It means sad girl. But no one in my house tells me anything and I want to know why they call you that. You don’t have to tell me if it’s too personal, but I was just wondering.”
I pressed at the frowning corner of my lips, thinking. I was about to tell him about my accident and my sister dying since he couldn’t see the real, obvious effects of it, but something inside of balked at telling him. He’d probably say something like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I didn’t want anyone to be sorry. It wouldn’t change anything.
So I told him, “I don’t smile much.”
Suddenly, he stiffened. “I think I heard my mom’s car.”
Maybe it was because he didn’t see them, but his facial expression didn’t seem to change much as he bid me goodbye at the door. Or maybe it was because I didn’t see his eyes. But his mom was yelling something unintelligible and he hurried down the steps and clacked towards his house.