Today's Blog... A Short Story
....Copyright 2005 JO Janoski
"Are you sure you don't mind?"
"No, of course not! I live alone. Remember? Just because I'm blind doesn't mean I don't go to work, keep a house, and do everything else by myself."
"Yeah, but Sally. You're not familiar with this place, where everything is."
"So I'll just stay put until you get back. Now don't worry!"
The other woman rubbed her chin in thought, "Okay. I'll try not to be long."
"Good-bye, Nancy! Good-bye!" Sally, the blind woman, bid her friend farewell and waved her hand to shoo her out the door. Settling on the sofa, she ran her long graceful fingers along the bumps on a Braille book. A tick tock from the grandfather clock in the hallway filled the room. Sally liked the rhythmic sound; it was better than silence. Eventually, the incessant noise lolled her to sleep as her head nodded over the book again and again, forcing her to stretch out on the sofa to nap.
The clang may have wakened her. Or perhaps it was the grip of fear that froze her heart before she even knew what was wrong. She woke up trembling as though another part of herself had already sensed danger and shot a warning to wake her. What was wrong?
Then the clanging. Not constant, only an occasional sound, the kind that teases, strange and unexpected, so you aren't certain if you heard it or not.
In her dark blind world, sounds had big feet. When the strange noise invaded her silence, it demanded explanation.
A clang, then an agonizing wait. Nothing...nothing...she waited...and waited until just as she was ready to call it her "imagination"...CLANG! It was back.
Nothing but blackness and the maddening sound. It was in her face with no name to put on it. Was it a danger? Was someone breaking in? What was it?
CLANG! Perhaps someone was breaking in, intent on burglarizing her friend's apartment. The thief would see a poor blind woman like herself and perhaps harm her. How could she fight back when she couldn't even see her oppressor?
CLANG! Sally trembled. Maybe he wouldn't harm her. After all, she couldn't see him; she could never identify him to the police. CLANG! If she had to hear that noise again, she would go nuts!
Fumbling to reach in her bag, Sally pulled out her radio and turned it on. Any sound would be better than that racket. Elton John's voice filled the room as she sighed in relief.
Rocket Man...Oh yes! The music was wonderful, Elton John being one of her favorites. But then once again, CLANG! The infernal sound was louder than the singer. It overtook the radio and pushed the music out of the way. Oh well, who wants to have music accompaniment to your slaughter, she mumbled nervously, switching the radio off.
Footsteps--making a shuffling noise! The walker didn't lift his feet so much as drag them. Sally's head pounded as the dragging feet came closer. If only she could see!
"What the...?" It was a voice, close by, in the room with her...
Sally couldn't speak; she couldn't move either. Fear froze her.
"I didn't think anyone was in here," the voice stated in a gravelly tone.
"P-p-please, don't hurt me!" she blurted. "I'm blind."
Sally felt a draft of air on her face. Could he be waving his hand in front of her eyes to see if she reacted...to confirm she was blind.
"Well, I'll be...I think you are blind," he murmured.
Sally heard the floor squeak as though he were moving...not far though because the footfalls sounded the same. Perhaps he was pacing back and forth close by.
"Look, I didn't think anyone was in here." He paused. "I mean, I don't mean to hurt anyone. I was just going to look for a few valuables and go."
"You were going to rob the apartment?"
"Well, yeah. I was thinking of it, but that was before I knew the owner was blind."
"Oh, I'm not..." Sally stopped herself before admitting it wasn't her apartment. "I don't know what I'd do if you robbed me."
"I know. It wouldn't be right." The burglar paused, then asked, "Are you okay? Do you need a cup of tea or anything?"
"Yes, if you wouldn't mind...a cup of tea would be nice...to calm my nerves."
"Coming right up," the burglar said. The shuffling feet moved further away and the whishing of the faucet and whoosh of the burner proved he was a man of his word. She heard cupboard doors opening and closing before she called out, "I think the tea bags are in a canister on the counter." God willing Nancy kept her tea bags there...
"Oh, yeah! Here they are! Sugar?"
"Yes, please, a teaspoonful."
The shuffling feet arrived soon, accompanied by the clink of china jiggling on a tray. A clunk indicated he had plopped the tray on the coffee table.
"I put the sugar in for you...and stirred it good."
"Thank you," she said feeling for the warmth of the cup. It felt hot in her hand as she lifted it and took a sip. The fellow made good tea.
"Well, lady! I think I'll be going now, if you have everything you need."
"I'm quite good. Thank you."
"Okay. I'll be going now." He paused. "I'm sure glad I found out you were blind before I robbed you. That would be wrong."
"Yes, I'm glad, too. Thank you for not doing so."
"Aw, it was nothing. I don't mind taking from people who have more than me...which is just about everybody. But I'm not going to take from someone who has less."
"I may not see, but life is good."
"Yeah, well, okay. Good-bye."
Sally heard his footsteps leaving by way of the apartment door. A thud indicated he locked it well as he left.
The room was quiet again. "I may not see, but I still gaze on the most amazing attributes in people," she murmured, sipping tea and leaning back to resume her nap.