“—I’ve heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
With coldness still returning;
Alas! the gratitude of men
Hath oftener left me mourning.”
Cecelia tapped the stairs with her stick.
Every day, she patted the railing, she poked the steps, her toes hit them and she stumbled to the next one.
She used to see things.
She used to see dancing dandelions in that open field she called her home. She once lied on her back and watched the clouds sway and flow in the streaking sky. The smell of sunny, warm air floating around her until it mixed with baking bread and wrapped her up and carried her back inside, as she tucked her sun-kissed hair behind her ears.
Once, she held her newborn brother in her arms. She put her palm on his chest and hummed to the drumbeat of his heart. She wrapped her hands around his tiny feet, as he stretched his legs out and cooed in her ears.
She dreamed of going to college and becoming a writer. She wanted to tell stories. She wanted to write about the dandelions and the simplicity of the fresh, green grass and the solitude of being alone in a world full of beauty.
The doctor said he was sorry, but she was completely blind. Her mother said there must be a procedure to fix it. He said there wasn’t. There’s nothing he can do.
She stumbled over another step.
I grabbed her hand.
“Can I help you?” I asked her.
She held tight to my hand and tears filled her eyes as she stared straight ahead of her. She tucked her sun-kissed hair behind her ear and squeezed my hand as I led her up the stairs.
I’ve watched the people walk by, vacantly walking to their classes, and I couldn’t help but wonder. How cold do you have to be to watch Cecelia stumble while you keep on walking?