If Only The World Were Blind

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An idea that struck me as I read a quote that mused, "If the whole world was blind how many people would you impress?" I tried to turn that into a reality, and of course couldn't leave out romance. It's very short, even though I originally planned to write an entire book out of it. I had to cut a lot of stuff out to make it shorter, but I hope it's still alright. Also it is in parts, as I originally wrote this in tumblr's format. It was a quick write, so I don't expect much.

Submitted: August 12, 2014

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Submitted: August 12, 2014

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Part One

My car broke down…classic.
I was on a long stretch of highway 101 at the part where the curves are so sharp that you feel like you are about to fall off into the sea. As I sat in my dead car I looked over the guardrail and felt like jumping into the cold waves below. Not because I was suicidal, but just because.

My car had been making a rattling noise about fifteen miles before but the noise had quieted so naturally I continued along the coast. It wasn’t until now that my car had suddenly stopped going. It just stopped. Very strangely, too. No rattling or bonking around. Just a slow stop and a quiet release of the engine.

I had managed to push my car into the inside of the curve where there was a gravel rest area. It was already night as well and I had been alone on the road for about an hour. After attempting to fix my car, I pulled up the roof using the old crank and locked all the doors. As I sat inside my car chewing on gummy bears, I wondered how the hell I was gonna get out of this mess.

I knew my phone wouldn't work out here. I had tried before to tell my friend I was on my way to her home. The reception had been bad, but I wasn't worried as I hadn't planned on my car breaking down.

I looked down and realized I had eaten the entire bag of gummy bears. Well, shit. That was all I had picked up from the drugstore today as a snack for the road. I had also picked up a magazine, which was nowhere to be seen at the moment.

All I had left to do today was sleep.  Although I was worried, I would try to sleep as much as I can and in the morning I will walk around or try to wave a car down and hope the driver isn't a rapist. Ha. I laugh in order to lighten the serious possibility of the thought. Nah, I will be fine. Okay, now sleep! 
I waved my finger in the air and pointed it at my face in hopes of casting a sleep spell on myself.

I waited.

Nope.

Oh well.

 

Part Two

I woke up, surprised at how soon I had fallen asleep. The sun was reflecting off of the mirror right into my eyes, and since the sun rises in the east, that means that my car is facing west, which means…nothing. Shit, I really had no idea what I was doing.

I stretched and did the usual cracking of my back and straightened myself out in the mirror slightly tilting my head to the left to avoid the sun glare. My hair looked pretty normal. No acne today thank heavens. My teeth were fairly clean…ok, I’m getting up.

I walked around my car and checked everything again to make myself feel like I was trying, and continued onto the road in search for signs of life.

I walked the whole day away. The day had progressed slowly, but my body had been wearing out rather quickly.
As I watched the sun set, I passed out when I stood up from the guardrail. The kindly gentleman who was carrying me now said he had water and food and some friends to help me out. I was no longer in control of my hungry and dehydrated body.

He was strong but he looked so old.  The strangest thing about him though was the thick white band around his eyes.  Maybe he was blind. He constantly clicked his tongue as we walked too, and that’s about all I can remember before he set me down on a soft couch.

"What’s your name, stranger?"

I looked over at him now fully recovered from my pass out earlier which also caused me to become nervous again.

"What’s yours?" I replied.

He laughed, “You can call me Joe ‘cause I like you.”

He seemed alright. “Okay Joe, well my name is-“. I was cut off by a woman who had come in and said, “Oh you don’t have to tell us your name just yet, honey.” She whispered to Joe loud enough for me to hear that is was, ” improper to ask such personal questions.”

"I don’t mind to at least tell you my name." I responded.

"Really honey we had better not get attached." The old woman, who also sported a white band around her head, was wringing her hands in an obviously anxious way.

Nevertheless Joe brought over some tea to me and struck up a conversation.

"So, where are you from, "Honey"?"

He didn't seem to be mocking the other woman, in fact, it seemed he had named me “Honey”.

"I’m from New York. Not the city, but upstate. People seem to get that confused."

"Wow, New York. What brought you out to California?"

Again the woman interrupted, “Alright that’s enough. Honey, you can crash here for tonight and we will try to arrange something to get you on your way tomorrow.”

"Oh, um, thank you Mrs. Joe." I smiled hesitantly at her.

She smiled as well, although I had sworn she couldn't see..

She and Joe left, and as I laid myself down on the couch, a million questions popped into my mind.  Where was I?  Who were these people?  Am I in danger?

I felt mostly safe here, but tonight, sleep wasn't going to come so easily.

 

Part Three

I woke up to the smell of eggs, and sure enough, Joe was at the stove cooking them up.

 

As I stared at him, I figured if I were to leave today I might as well ask the questions that had been stuck in my mind.

 

"Joe, are you blind?"

He laughed and turned around to face me.

"What do you mean, "blind"?  What is blind?"

"It's like...when you can't see?  I mean, the band...your eyes...you just don't seem to use them."

"Well, nobody here uses them.  Eyes are not for seeing."

"Well then what are they for?"

"Well...I guess they're kind of like your appendix.  They're there, but we don't really need them."

"But I mean you can see, right?"

"Well, no.  None of us can.  Are you telling me you use your eyes?"

"Yeah, of course.  Everyone does."

"Well, as you've just learned, apparently not everyone."  He smiled at me again, but he also looked confused.  

"Well why can't you see, then?"

"That is a very good question.  A question I have never been asked, in fact.  Unfortunately it is also a question I do not have the answer to, but I can tell you that-"

"-That we are very happy to have helped you."  Damn!  Was his wife intent on interrupting at the most inopportune moments?  It even seemed like she timed it.  She smiled at me as she rested her hand on Joe's shoulder.  Joe nodded in some secret understanding and walked out of the room.  Mrs. Joe slowly turned to look at me.  "Today you are leaving.  Finish your breakfast and come with me."  

 

 

Although I didn't understand why, the Joe's made me wear a blindfold to walk into town.  Mrs. Joe said I would need to wear one or else she wasn't letting me leave the house.  Begrudgingly, I gave in.

As we approached main street, Mrs. Joe kept a tight grip on my arm and didn't release it until the last moment.  As she gave it one last rough squeeze, she told me the local mechanic had fixed my car up for me and I would need to remain blindfolded as he drove me out.  I wondered for a moment if the mechanic was blind too, because how could a blind mechanic ever fix a car? 

Joe walked me to my car and gave me a big hug as he whispered in my ear, "Never come back or else you will go blind too."  As my confusion only grew, I felt him guide me into the car, as I was very unused to being blind.  After the jolt of the car from the closing of my door, I sat facing forward waiting for someone to come and drive me away.  I was surprised as a voice next to me suddenly sounded.  "Hey, I'm Theo.  What's your name?"

He pronounced his name like tay-o, which I found interesting.  I turned my head towards him, listening to the sound of his voice.  It was deep, but he still sounded young.  Jokingly I said, "I was told not to tell my name."

"Ah, what's in a name anyways?  C'mon, tell me."

I could hear in the way his words were coming out of his mouth that he was smiling.  I couldn't help but smile too as I said, "My name is...Honey"

"Really?  I mean...okay, Honey, are you ready to go home?"  

I nodded my willingness and Theo turned the key.  Except, the car didn't start.  It wheezed and bonked and died again.  Theo mumbled a "shit" under his breath and told me to stay put as he got out of the car.  I could hear Mrs. Joe yelling.  I caught one bit where she said, "Well I don't care just drop her off at the roadside!  Just get her out of here, dammit!"  A few minutes later after much whispering, I heard the gravel turn under Theo's feet as he made his way back to the car.  He opened my door and grabbed my hand.  

I found myself on the same couch as the night before, except this time, I was blindfolded.  After I was walked back into the Joe's house by Theo and Joe, Mrs. Joe had told me that I would have to stay blindfolded for the rest of my stay.  She said as long as I were living here, I would have to be like everyone else, and that, "I was no different than the rest so I can't have any special privileges."  I really hated her now.  Although I have reason to, I didn't do anything to her so why does she hate me?

The rest of the night Joe and I talked under the watchful, or should I say under the non-existent watchful eye of Mrs. Joe, and soon we had both fallen asleep on the couch.  I must say it was easier to fall asleep with a blindfold on. 

 

Part Four

"Wake Up."

I opened my eyes under the blindfold, feeling my eyelashes being squished against the cloth.  I couldn't tell who it was that whispered to me, so I asked, "Who is it?"

The whisperer responded, "Can't you tell?  Just listen to my voice."

I did listen, but I was used to relying most on my eyes instead of my ears.  I wanted to figure out this code of listening, so I asked, "Say that again."

The whisperer laughed, and I instantly knew who it was.

"Joe!  Why didn't you just tell me!"

"I'm only trying to help you, Honey.  If you're gonna have this blindfold on for who knows how long, you should learn to listen."

"Ugh.  Can I please just take it off?"

"No, I don't think you can.  Do you really want to make my wife any angrier?"

Yes, I did want to make her angry.  "No..."  

"That's what I thought.  Alright, so today you are heading down to meet Theo.  He has some questions for you about your car."

Hmm, that could be fun.  "Okay!"  

"Alright, now eat your breakfast and get going.  Luckily Mrs. Joe is gone today on some important business, so she can't create any trouble with you.  Here."

I felt a hot plate on my lap and winced, "Oh, thanks Joe.  What is it?"

He laughed again, "Just smell and listen.  Smell the grease and listen to the sizzling."

I took me a second, but I soon recognized it, "Bacon!  My favorite!" 

"Yup!  Alright, i'm going out, you all good?"

"Yes, i'm good."

"Okay then, see ya later and be careful!"

"Bye Joe!"

"And, um..."  Joe paused, "Just keep the blindfold on, okay?  If you take it off and people see you and i'm not there to stop them...just please don't take it off."

"Yeah, o-okay."  I didn't question him about his strange warning.  I had just thought the blindfold was done out of Mrs. Joe's spite, but Joe made it seem more serious.  I was nervous again, but at least I had my bacon to eat.

 

After my breakfast I quickly realized I was already in trouble, even without Mrs. Joe here.  How the hell am I going to get anywhere today when I can't see?  I can navigate the house alright by moving slowly and feeling around, but going out into a town is totally different.  Shit!  But wait, I can just take off my blindfold since Mrs. Joe isn't here, right?  Yeah, screw it.

 

I reached behind my head to untie the cloth, but immediately felt rough hands on mine.  

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"Theo?"

He acknowledged it, "Yeah."

"God, you scared me.  When did you get here?"

"I've been here all morning.  I came up to escort you to my shop."

"So you were here just now with me and Joe?"

"Yup.  I've been sitting right next to you."

"Oh.  I didn't even notice you."

"Yeah I know.  You really suck at listening."  He laughed at me and I whacked him on his arm.

"Hey, i'm just getting used to this whole thing.  By the way, why do I actually have to keep this blindfold on?  It seems kind of extreme.  Joe almost told me this morning, but he stopped."

"That...well...yeah I probably shouldn't be the one to tell you about how things work around here."

"What's the big deal?  Is it some kind of secret?"

"Well, no, but it's still a serious topic that we shouldn't be talking about."

I crossed my arms and plopped back down on the couch.  "Okay, okay."

He sat down next to me making me jump a bit out of my seat.  

"So, are you ready to fix a car?"

I turned my head to face him with a smile, "Sure." 

 

Part Five

After Theo artfully guided me down to his shop without a single stumble, I found out absolutely everyone in this town had a band around their eyes.  They couldn't see through the band, and they never took it off.  I didn't get much more information out of him after that.  I asked Theo if he thinks he has a funny tan line around his eyes because of the band to which he said, "I guess I will never know."

He asked me what kind of sounds my car was making before it died and other questions in hopes of finding the problem, but my answers didn't give him much help.  I was so curious to see him work, to see how he did it, but he could hear every move I made like a bat.  I was never getting this blindfold off.

After a day of tinkering with the car in the garage,Theo and I were both spent.  Before we returned to the Joe's house, Theo told me he had something for me.  He told me to close my eyes and keep them closed as he began to unravel the knot at the back of my blindfold.  I heard it drop quietly to the ground and enjoyed a moment of freedom before I felt yet another band around my head.

"There, does that feel better?"

I put my hands over the new band.  "Is this the same band all of you guys wear?"

"Yeah.  You know, the bands we wear were designed to feel like nothing was there.  This should be a lot more comfortable for you."

"It is...thank you, I guess."

"You're welcome!"  I could hear him smile, which was a new ability I had recently picked up.

"Alright, let's go home, Honey."

I started laughing, that was the first time today he had called me that, and I had momentarily forgotten that I had sincerely told him that was my name.

"Theo, that's not my real name!"  I said amidst laughs.

"What do you mean?  Granted, I did think it was strange to have a term of endearment as a name, but I really believed you!"

"I'm sorry!  I never thought I would see any of you again so I didn't think my name was important."

"Of course it's important."

"Yeah, I guess."

"Well?"

"Well what?"

"Well, what is it?"

"Well...why don't you just keep calling me Honey.  It's more fun that way."

"Are you serious?"

"Entirely."

"Really?"

"Yup.  As far as you will ever know, my name is Honey."

"Fine."

I could hear frustration in his voice, but not much.  There was more a tone of amusement.  I was right as I was soon grabbed by the hand and pulled along out of the garage.

"Okay, Honey, I will give you a head start.  The last one home has to cook dinner.  Ready! Go!"

It didn't take even one minute for me to fall down flat on my face.  Theo was laughing as he picked me up and gave me a piggyback ride.  "I figured this would happen."

"Then why did you let me do it!"

"Because it was funny."  

I grumbled against his back but soon took to laughing as we made our way to the Joe's.  We each helped to cook dinner and Theo soon said he had to leave as it was getting late.  

"Goodnight, Honey."

It felt so good to hear him call me that.  "Goodnight, Theo!"

"Watch out for those potholes next time, okay?"

"Yeah I would if I could actually see them!"

"Yeah, yeah.  See ya."

"See ya."  

After he left, I ate the rest of my dinner by myself and waited for Joe and Mrs. Joe to come home.  I wonder what Mrs. Joe's name is.  Probably Queen Bitch or something.  Eh, I don't care to find out anyway.

 

Part Six

Day after day was spent in Theo's garage.  We had a lot of fun, and a lot of serious talks, along with a water fight to finish off a hot day.  

Around closing time, we sat dripping with the cool water in the seats of an old Chevy truck that Theo had been working on.  Theo handed me a glass of ice cubes and I enjoyed the freezing sensation of them as I let the ice sit in my mouth.  Attempting to get out of the car to grab myself a candy bar, I hit my head on the roof of the truck and slammed back down into my seat.  I could hear Theo stifling his laughter, another sound I had grown used to in the past few months.  Although Theo was extremely adept at living with no eyes, I was clumsy and dangerous, earning myself a number of bruises and cuts much to his amusement.

Along with the bump I could feel growing on my head, one of my ice cubes had fallen out of its cup and into my over sized t-shirt, which happened to be Theo's.

"Ahhh!  Get it out, get it out!"

"What?  Get what out?"  Theo responded.

"The ice cube!  It's in my shirt...well, actually it's in my bra-"  I reached a hand down and retrieved the ice cube, now almost melted from the immense amount of heat coming off of my skin. 

"Man!  It's didn't seem as cold in my mouth."  I said as I plopped the ice cube back into my cup.

"Yeah..."  Theo had stopped laughing and was very quiet now.

"What?"  I asked.

"Never mind, you just made me think of something."

"What?  What did you think of?"

"Nothing, alright?"

"Okay, jeez."

He began to tap his fingers on the steering wheel, and I remained crunching on my ice.

"Do you want to spend the night here again?  I know you usually go back to the Joe's on the weekends, but I think it would be better if you just stayed here all week, you know, so you could help me with your car and stuff."

"Uh, yeah, sure.  That would be cool."  I responded.

"Yeah?  Alright, cool."

It was silent again until Theo got up and walked out of the garage.  I usually got the help of his hand to guide me around, but this time he had left me on my own.  I didn't call him either, because I knew there was something on his mind.  In fear of breaking something or myself, I stayed in the Chevy all night.  I woke up in Theo's bed, wondering if I had sleep walked or something. 

He was already in the kitchen cooking breakfast, as he usually got up before me, and I mumbled a, "guh-mornin."

"What are you wearing?"  He had walked over and touched my shirt, feeling the soft cotton.

"Your shirt you gave me."

"Well...give it back."

"Why?  You already gave it to me!"

"You have plenty of clothes in your suitcase, you don't need to be wearing mine."

"Alright, fine."  I took his shirt off and threw it at him, hoping it would hit his face.

He held the shirt in his hands.  "Did you just take your shirt off?"

"Yeah, so what?"

"Well...well...you don't have a shirt on then!"

"Yeah?  So?  It's not like you can see anything anyway!"

"Oh yeah?!"  He was breathing heavily as he ran past me and I heard him close the door to his room with a slam.

"What the hell?"  I whispered out loud.  One second he wants me to spend the night, the next, he yells at me for wearing a shirt he gave me and runs away?  At least he made me bacon.

Unfortunately , though, the bacon he had made for me was burnt as I picked one up and bit into a charcoal-y strip.  Ooh.  Now I was really mad.

 

Part Seven

I knocked on Theo's door, impatiently and loudly.

He never answered my knocks but I continued in anyway.  

I felt my way around his dresser and made my way over to sit on his bed where he was currently brooding.  I waited for him to talk, as he was the only one who had to explain himself.

"I'm sorry."

He sounded angry still.  I didn't respond, and instead waited for him to continue.

"I know I've been weird lately, it's just that I get a feeling around you.  I never felt that before.  I start to sweat, and my heart beats so hard I swear you would be able to hear it.  I get...thoughts about you...things I want to do...and I have to stop myself from thinking them.  You smell so good, and your voice is so sweet.  Every time I touch you I want to hold on longer, but I can't.  You're driving me crazy.  Maybe you should go back to the Joe's."

Oh.

I put my hands out and touched his chest in order to orient myself directly in front of him.  I moved my hands up to his face and placed them along his jawline.  Slowly, I leaned in to him and could feel his breath on my lips.  He licked his lips, accidentally touching mine with his tongue.  I kissed him. 

He was so careful, almost like he was afraid of hurting me, and I could feel his arms tentatively wrapping around me.  I felt how strong they were, I wondered what they looked like.  He grabbed my hips with his hands and guided me through his room.  He placed me against a wall where he finally let loose, pulling on my jeans and feeling my skin.  He had taken off his shirt and had held me close, flush with his body.  As his lips began to kiss their way down my body, I realized I had never had a kiss quite like this.  Without seeing, everything else was heightened.  Smell, touch, sound, taste, everything.  I could feel everything he was doing and hear all the noises he was making, which made me feel so amazing.  I could feel him so deeply, I didn't need to see him to know him.  I finally understood the white band.  

___ 

I woke up next to him, smiling and happy.  His arm was around my waist, and I reached down to play with his fingers.

"Theo!  Wake up!"  I whispered over my shoulder.  

"Mmm."  He responded groggily.

"Theo, wake up!  Let's make bacon!"

He suddenly sat up and cursed under his breath.

"What's wrong?  We didn't do that, if that's what you were thinking."

"No, it's not that, you have to go now."

"What?  But I just got up!"

"I'm serious.  Leave."

He threw the covers off of me and grabbed my arm, dragging me out of his room.  

"Go to Joe now.  Go."

He shut the door behind me, and didn't respond to my knocks or my yells.  I left his house, swearing I would never come back.

 

Part Eight - End

 Back in the Joe's house, I heard Joe stumble into the living room.  I told him of my time with Theo.  I asked him if he knew why he had behaved like that.

"Well, we knew you two were going to get together eventually, so we decided to just let it happen.  You see...Jesus I might as well just tell you everything."

I finally found out.

This town was hidden inside of one of the caves on the coast, and had originally been built as a sanctuary for people with impaired vision.  One of the founders decided that the world would be better if all people were blind, so they began to blind the children.  They gave them a mixture when they were born that damaged their eyes to the point where everything was only a massive fuzz.  A white band was bestowed upon them as a sort of baptism, and then they became a part of the town.  They were taught to use their other senses, and since they knew no different, lived happy and full lives.  I, being an outsider, was given the band as a pretense so other members of the town wouldn't find out that I could see. Joe didn't want me to be blinded by the mixture, and apparently, Mrs. Joe was trying to protect me as well.  Joe explained that through being blind, you can't judge someone based on their looks, that everything is more substantial, and that nobody will be shallow because of it.  Although he did say there were still people who were unkind, most people had a deeper understanding of life because they weren't able to let their sight blind them.

Theo, on the other hand, was only trying to distance himself from me as he knew very well that I would have to leave eventually.  In fact, Joe suspected Theo had elongated my stay by pretending my car was still not fixed.  I had suspected that as well.

"Why don't you go back and talk to him, and let him know you know."

"Yeah, alright."  I replied.

"And maybe you should say your goodbyes, too."

Joe walked over to me and touched my face, as he had done many times before.  "I want to remember this beautiful face.  I want to keep it forever."

"Hey, wait.  I can always come back for a visit."

He cupped my cheek, "No, Honey, you can never come back.  You can never find this place, and i'm not gonna bring you here."  He repeated, almost in disbelief, "You are never coming back."

Now I wondered if I actually wanted to leave.

---

Knock.

"Theo."

Knock.  Knock.

"Theo."

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

"THEO!"

He opened the door.  "Jesus Christ, Honey, it's 3 am!"

"Well you should have answered me the first time."

"You're all wet!"  Theo's hands had grazed mine, and I could hear him wiping the water on his shirt.

"Yeah well it's raining and I had trouble getting through town, as usual."

"You should have called me up and I could have walked you."

"I didn't think that was an option after this morning." 

"Oh...um... yeah, i'm sorry about that.  I was scared that I let myself go and that I would want more of you but you would be gone.  I thought it would be better to push you away now than later"

"I know.  It's okay."  I walked forward and rested my head on his shoulder.  "I wasn't afraid because it hadn't really hit me that I was leaving until this morning."

"So you are leaving then?"

"Yeah, I guess I don't belong here."

"Oh...I was hoping you would stay, maybe just a little longer."

"Actually Joe was saying I should leave as soon as possible.  Like tonight."

"Tonight?  Are you crazy?  You can't leave tonight!"

"Well i'm starting to worry about what I left behind.  My job, my home, my parents."  I stopped.

"Theo where are your parents?"

"My parents?"

"Yeah."

"Well they were...kicked out, I guess."

"Why?"

"Joe told me that my parents didn't want me to lose my sight when I was born, and since the town needs an official signature from the parents in order to perform the operation, they couldn't do anything but send them away."

"Are you saying you can see then?"

"Well I don't know.  I always have my eyes closed under this thing."

"Theo!  Oh my god!"  I said excitedly.  

I ran over to him and ripped off the god-awful band that had been constricting his eyes his entire life.  I let my band fall to the floor too, and enjoyed the light and air my eyes were finally feeling.  I looked over at Theo for the first time, and smiled immediately.  He was tall, strong, greasy from the cars, with dark brown hair and black eyes, which I only caught glimpses of as he kept scrunching them tightly as tears fell from them.  

"Oh god."  He was rubbing his eyes profusely now, almost scratching them.

"Theo, what's wrong?  Doesn't it feel better to see?"

"No!  Give me back the band!  I-"  He couldn't talk as he was overcome with a new sense.  I could see his tears dripping off his face, and was surprised to see such an extreme reaction.  

I walked over to him and held his hands down.  Kissing his soft eyelids and coaxing him to open them.

"Theo, open your eyes."

"I can't."

"You can.  Do it now."

He opened them slowly, wincing at the pain, and I saw his pupils dilate rapidly from big to small, then big again.  Luckily the room was fairly dark so he didn't have a major shock from light.

Looking me directly in the eyes, Theo remained wide eyed and confused.  His heart was beating fast, I could feel it under my hand.

I moved my head to put it up against his chest, but he stopped me saying, "Don't move so fast, i'm losing you."

His eyes had remained looking forward where my eyes had just been, and I stood back up to reassure him I was still here.

---

The next month was spent teaching Theo to live with his sight.  He learned quickly of course, but was surprised every day when I told him, "yes, that is a clock" or, "yes, that is my nose" to which he would respond, "It felt so different, I never imagined it like this."

He was amazed by me, to see what I looked like.  He described me as an angel, one that he had seen in his dreams.  He touched my face more often, and kissed me more often too.  He said he loved the color of my lips, that he wanted to bottle it up and paint with it.

He did paint me too, and his paintings were much more realistic now, as he could see exactly what a face looked like.  Before, although they were extremely interesting, his paintings had been an array of colors that reminded me of Picasso's works.

 We had been living in secrecy and hadn't been taking any calls or visitors, even visits from Joe, who I suspect knew exactly what had happened.  It was decided that we were leaving tonight in my car that, as I had guessed, had already been fixed two months ago.

 

We packed as many things as we could into the trunk and backseat, and once the entire town was asleep, we started up the engine and drove out slowly onto main street.  

I saw Joe on the sidewalk.  He was just standing there, waving at us.  I waved back, hoping he would somehow know.  But wait.  There was something in his hand.  He was waving to us with the white band, swinging  it in the air.  Our eyes locked for a moment, and he winked at me as his smile grew bigger.  Joe.  All along.

As soon as we were out of town, Theo drove faster onto a bumpy, wet, and narrow road that was right on the edge of the beach.  It took us into several caves, the last one taking nearly thirty minutes to get through, and then Theo told me to grab onto something to hold me down.

"Why?"  I asked.

"Because this is the part."

"What part?"

"You'll see."

The roadway suddenly gave way beneath us and we were falling through the air.  I felt like throwing up

The immense crash that came once we touched ground nearly wrecked the car again.  Theo regained control of the steering wheel and we were back on highway 101.  

"What the hell..."  I was beyond being confused.

"I know.  I don't get it either." 

 

---Three Years Later---

 

Theo turned around and brought me over to the couple.

"Mom, Dad, this is Gracie."

I shook their hands, happy to finally meet them.

The mother adjusted her dark glasses before speaking, a reminder of the town and all its secrets.

"So, Gracie, when are you due?"

"In about a month."  I smiled with pride.

"Boy or girl?"

"Boy and girl, actually."

"My goodness!  Twins!"

"Yes, I hope it's not too much of a surprise."

The mother shook her head, "Of course not.  What could possibly surprise us ever again after him!"  She motioned to Theo, who smiled at me happily.

"Our family is growing so fast, my dear"  Theo's father remarked to his wife, still getting used to including Theo and I, and their soon to be grandchildren, into that equation.

After Dinner, Theo's parents were ready to leave.

"Well now that we've finally found you, we will come back soon to help with your move and the babies."  Theo's mother mother hugged him tightly, as his father and I had an awkward encounter as he attempted to maneuver around my huge belly.  He settled for a light kiss on my cheek. His mother then turned to me.  "Darling, you are absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't want anyone else for my Theo, even if I just met him yesterday."

We laughed.  "Thank you Mrs. Sylus."  

We hugged and waved goodbye, and when the door finally closed, Theo slowly walked over to me and rested his hands on my belly.

"That went over extremely well."

"Yeah, it's probably because they never had to raise you."  I said smiling.

"You know, if you weren't pregnant I would tackle you and tickle you and kiss you till you screamed."

"I never said you couldn't kiss me."

---

Although it had a strange beginning, our relationship was good.  We had our two healthy children, named them Joe and Lily, and lived out our lives on the sunny shores of the California beaches.  I never returned to New York, but my parents were very happy to meet Theo and his family.  We never dared to visit the town again, and we were happy to live a life in ignorance of it.  Sometimes, though, as I slept by the window, I could swear I heard Joe, in a barely audible whisper, say, 

Wake up, Honey.  Waaaake up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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