When I first lost my sight, I was in a terrible state. A state of astonishment and confusion. Days past with me not sure how I would survive. Many moments were spent wondering if I even wanted to survive. Many nights I would go to sleep and wish to never wake up again. I was alone in the dark. Trapped in a prison cell, a solitary confinement for which I had not committed any crime. My life was akin to that of a person trapped inside a bubble. I was disappearing. I was becoming an invisible man.
Not only did I struggle with the suffocation of my sight loss and find it so hard to accept, but many of the people around me could not come to terms with it either.
Please forgive my anger and frustration in writing these harsh words. Please allow me this moment to vent and wash myself of this bitter poison in my head, in my heart and encapsulating my body.
People that I had foolishly considered friends, chose to pretend that they did not know me. They chose to pretend that they were not aware of my struggles. They chose to steer a route away from that which I was on. They chose to be oblivious. Not saying anything was easier than perhaps saying the wrong thing.
I can honestly say that even if the wrong thing was said, it would have been better than nothing. I have tried to understand and even at times stopped to ponder how I myself would have reacted and behaved if the shoe was on the other foot. What would I have said? Would my choice have been to also just close my eyes to the situation and ignore another’s suffering? Would I too have walked away with no regard and no conscience? I am sure that I would have behaved differently. I would have said something, even if it was the wrong thing to say. I would have spoken and broken the silence.
When the ability to see is taken away from you, the last thing you need is silence. It is a torture that stabs into the deepest part of your soul. It is a torture that burns and aches, like every nerve ending splintering in your body. Like every bone holding you upright crumbling away. Like all the flesh on your skeleton burning and melting away.
Desertion is, in my opinion, the most unforgivable and hurtful reaction that a person can choose.
I have had to question who my friends really are and at times ask myself, ‘What makes a good friend?’ I have learnt the hard way that many people, whom I considered to be friends, were in fact just users and leaches. I know that my life is really better off with them gone, but it still burns me so much. Not so much for the loss of friendship but for my own stupidity in thinking them to be my friends in the first place.
I am ashamed to admit that I allied myself with people who are bigots, racists, thieves, conmen, alcoholics, drug addicts, sexists and traitors. These are the types of people that don’t matter and should not occupy my thoughts. They do not deserve moments in my sighted memories. And yet, here I am writing and venting about these very despicable people.
When I was sick and could not catch my breath, where were you? When I was dizzy and disoriented, you laughed. When I was vomiting blood, you walked away. When I was exhausted to the point that I could not stand up, you were gone. You bastard! You know that if you were in the same position, I would have carried you on my back and done everything in my power to make sure you were ok. You laughed at my illness. I was not faking it, I was not homesick. This illness cost me my sight.
I won’t forget, I wont forgive and I wont ever accept. I don’t need people in my life that have no character traits that I would value to have as my own. I choose consciously to move away. I choose to rather say nothing to these people and give them a taste of their own ‘silent’ treatment. I choose to leave all the vengeance up to Karma. She will deliver justice when the time comes.
To those who have not yet seen these people’s faults; who do not know the whole story; who are still suckered, conned and deceived by the ignorance; I hope that you are never let down in the same way that I have been. I hope that you are never stabbed in the back by these people that you hold in such high regard.
There is a fine line between thriving and surviving. I am tired of just surviving and am writing this angry and difficult story so that I can close the door and move forward. No, not close, fucking slam the door closed. ahhh…
When a concrete foundation gets some small hairline cracks, they can be repaired. When it gets shattered, there is no option to repair it. New concrete needs to be set and new foundations built. Nothing can make a bridge reappear after it is destroyed. When the timber framework is shouldered and the ashes blow away, there is nothing. Nothing to fix, nothing to make right.
As this year comes to a close, I am grateful that these individuals no longer occupy any part of my world. They don’t get the privilege of my friendship and respect.
To the people who have stood by me, to the individuals who held me up and allowed me to be strong, to the genuine friends who delivered orders of soggy salt and vinegar ships while I was lying in hospital, fading away, thank-you, dankie, grazie, nKosi, merci, gracias – you are the ones that deserve my memories.
In closing, some song lyrics from the incomparable Pink Floyd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjoPWxmOCtc
Where were you when I was burned and broken
While the days slipped by from my window watching
And where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
‘Cause the things you say and the things you do surround me
While you were hanging yourself on someone else’s words
Dying to believe in what you heard
I was staring straight into the shining sun
Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the waiting had begun
And headed straight …into the shining sun