The Gift

Reads: 223  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
25 years with no sight, 25 years of misery until a pair of eyes come your way...But what would be the prize for them?

Submitted: May 26, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 26, 2014

A A A

A A A


Sebastian hated the whole universe. He hated the flowers he could smell, he hated the children he could hear to play and scream outside the house, he hated rain which hit his window hard, playing a song to his ears. He hated everything he could feel, smell, hear or touch. Everything was at fault as everything was teasing him. He knew it is there but he could not see it. He couldn’t tell the colour of the beautifully smelling flowers, he wasn’t able to count the children on the street, neither he could see how much water fell from the sky with the last rain. Sebastian felt everything and everyone around him is luckier than him because they could see. And this ability was taken from him at early age. They didn’t give him enough time to know things better. To make a mental picture so he could use his memories now, memories to fill his empty dark days. He didn’t ask for pity from people but he also thought they all should feel sorry because he is the one without sight. He is the one the life was unfair to him. Most of the people learn to live with the ordeals of their lives but Sebastian felt misery in his life the past 35 years and it wasn’t getting better. It actually was worst with the counting years.  And he passed this misery at anyone who felt like staying in his company. At the age of 35 he had one good friend left at his side. His brother Peter came to visit him often and they sat at the old terrace and talked for hours.

“Who would want to spend time with a blind person? What can we talk about? I cannot comment on anything around me.”

“You are a miserable old bastard and having the sight would not make people want to stay around you. A smile maybe would do!” Peter’s reply was harsh but true and Sebastian laughed.

“The life doesn’t smile at me why should I smile at these luckier ones around me?”

“You don’t have to. But don’t be surprised that people avoid you. They have enough misery in their life.”

“They don’t know misery until they know the feeling to live without their eyes.” Sebastian inhaled his cigarette deeply and Peter only signed deciding not to reply anymore. He knew his brother well and he knew there is no way he can make him to see things his way. But Peter loved his brother and he wishes he could help him. Although Sebastian was able to comfortably live on his own now, Peter knew he is the only person who has any kind of communication with him. So when he gets a job offer in the Middle East he feels anxious about leaving Sebastian on his own for six months.  He wants to leave but he cannot do so knowing Sebastian has no one. And so Peter decided to find him a companion. He knew it is impossible to find a friend as Sebastian scares everyone off with his negative opinions at life. No one wants to spend their free time alongside him and so Peter decides to hire a nurse. Sebastian didn’t need nurse and Peter knew he will refuse. But she will be paid for keeping him company while he is away. He thought to himself and he contacted the best known agency in England to find a companion to his friend and to cover the guilt he felt for leaving his brother.  He arranged couple of interviews with all sort of people from young art student, to middle aged widow but he could not find a person who he would be able to imagine in Sebastian’s world.  The agency was getting inpatient after having refused all of their best carers. But Peter didn’t need a carer he needed a person who would be able to enter Sebastian’s world otherwise Sebastian will make them leave within hours.

Days are flying and Peter is leaving the country in five days. He is getting nervous as he still wasn’t able to find a person to stay with Sebastian. He have last two carers interviewing today but he lost the hope he could find anyone suitable and he is sitting in his chair with zero interest when a pretty woman in her late twenties enters the room.

“Good afternoon!” she says politely and Peter lifts his head. He sees a girl, polite and kind and he immediately dismisses her. This lovely creature would not last a day next to Sebastian. HE asked her to sit down, and watched her as she smoothes her knee length skirt and crosses her long legs. Sometimes Peter understands Sebastian his misery. His misery not to see the things around him.  And so Peter tried to go into Sebastian’s world. Just like they were kids and Peter used tied his eyes with an old scarf so they would be more alike, so he would understand his brother’s world. Same now he lowered his gaze and fixed on the empty table in front of him. He didn’t exanimate the woman any further. He only listened. He didn’t see her beautiful big green eyes, her nice proportioned body or her long auburn silk hair. But after a while he realises he still likes her.  He likes her in his temporary blind world and she raises his interest.

“I should warn you. Working with Sebastian is not going to be easy.”

“Life was never easy for me.” She said with a hint in her voice Peter didn’t understand.

“Maybe you don’t understand. He is an easy work. He is used to live on his own. He can cook, move around the house or outside on his own.” The woman listened with patience waiting for the description of her job.

“The thing he really needs is a companion. Someone who would understand his world. His...”Peter paused, looking for synonym for misery.” ..Sadness.”

“Sadness is a common feeling in today’s world. It is only different how people deal with it. Some of us show the misery to the whole world, some of us keep it to themselves and some of us ignore it. But it is still present.” Peter looks into her face and he feels Sebastian could like this woman.

“I’m leaving in next couple of days. I was hoping to find someone earlier so I can spend some time with you before I throw you between the sharks.” He makes a joke and he looks up the first time and stares into her eyes. “If you get this job you may have to find your way to each other without my help.”

“It may be even better.” She said in firm but kind voice. Peter liked her but he knew for Sebastian it is not that easy to like people. He gave her couple of more questions. She was divorced, child-less and so decided to look after people who needed her. Her name was Teresa. He asked her if she would like to meet Sebastian now so they can solve any issues before he leaves.  She seemed eager to meet him, although Peter regretted asking her to come with him right now as he realized he had no time to prepare Sebastian for the arrival of carer, whom Sebastian obviously refused immediately after being offered. When they arrived at his house Peter was now more conscious about Sebastian’s expected negative reaction.

“I’m sorry to be rude. But do you mind to wait outside until I speak to him.”

“He doesn’t know you got him a carer.” She said more informatively than asking. She turned around and went into the back garden. Peter pressed the bell and Sebastian opened the door.

“Oh, I did not expect you today.  What do you want?” He said half jokingly half serious. Peter knew he is always welcome in this house but he also knew he is welcomed more if he calls before.

“Nice to see you too!” Peter was used to Sebastian’s manners which were the result of years of practice trying to punish anything and everything what he could see. “Can I come in? I have a surprise!”

“I hate surprises!”

“I know. This one is for me.”

“Well, that’s a very nice surprise, brother. I am happy for you.” He finally stood on the side so Peter could enter. He didn’t want to leave Teresa in the garden too long.

“Do you remember when I told you about the fantastic agency...” Peter started in low voice, trying to sound happy.

“And do you remember when I told you to put it up your ass?” Peter’s plan obviously didn’t work on Sebastian.

“The only thing I asked was to think about it.”

“I did. And the answer is still the same.” Peter got frustrated.

“Why don’t you understand I need to leave? And I cannot do so knowing you have no one to call or to speak to for six months.”

“You know Peter. You should not be so harsh on the Middle East. I am sure they have phones too.”

“You know what I mean.” Peter breathed in deeply. “I found one.”

“No.”

“Too late. She is in your garden.”

“What?” he stopped chopping the veg and lifted his head in Peter’s direction. “You had no right! Send her away.”

“The only thing I am asking is to meet her. Say hi, she will not be living with you but she will be always available to call if you shall need to.”  Sebastian looked at his friend in disbelief and Peter knew he thinks he betrayed him. He thinks he is disabled and cannot be trusted to live on his own.

“Just say hi. If you don’t need to you don’t have to call her again. Do it for me, please.”

“You are asking a favour from blind man? How low can you go?” he said with a hint of irony and Peter knew the worst is over. He called Teresa inside who was sitting in the chair in the garden and Peter suspected she heard their whole conversation. If she did, she said nothing and she walked in the house stopping couple of inches from Sebastian.

 

 

“Hi.” She said with no obvious interest. The eagerness was gone and Peter wondered what the reason of her change is.

“Hi.” He murmured back. To Peter’s surprise she wasn’t smiling, she wasn’t trying to keep the conversation and after 30 minutes she got up and left. Peter thought of not hiring her but he didn’t have much more options. But Sebastian did not approve neither disapproved his new carer, and Peter was happy Sebastian will at least consider calling her if he accidently breaks his leg. Peter said good bye to Sebastian, pre-paid to Teresa for 3 months and left the country leaving his contact and money for Sebastian who refused to take any and so he had no other option but trust Teresa which larger sum of money for him. He promised to send more if necessary.

“I’m sure we will be fine.” She said, smiling again and Peter left with mixed feelings hoping he didn’t do a mistake in trusting this woman.

Sebastian’s first weeks without Peter were relaxed. He spent time by listening to TV shows, walking in the park and cooking. It was after more than a month when he started to feel the old loneliness but he didn’t dare to admit it. He doesn’t need anyone and Peter is always just trying to control him. But more he tried to ignore it , more he felt it and soon he caught himself of thinking a reasons to call Teresa. He knew it is ridiculous. She is his carer. She is getting paid and he knew it is good money.  She didn’t call once to check, she didn’t visit nor did she ask if he needed her. Deep inside Sebastian knew he is being unfair. It was the deal. He agreed to have a carer but she had to promise not to annoy him, call him or visit him until he calls her. And she was doing great job. He knew it is ridiculous to be angry at her, he didn’t even know her.  But life isn’t fair and after two months of not talking to anyone his anger grew massive. He picked up the phone one night and speed dialled the number Peter saved before he left. Her soft voice answered almost immediately.

“Hello?”

“Enjoying your holiday?” Sebastian asked.

“Excuse me? Who is this?”

“How many people you supposed to look after?”

“One.” She said in firm voice.”Myself.”

“How do you do your job?”

“Very well. I am still alive.”

“Is this some kind of joke?”

“I don’t know. You calling me so it would be nice if you would tell me what this is about.” Sebastian gave up and smashed the phone against the bedside table. He spent the rest of the night assuring himself everyone and everything is worth of hating if the woman feels not guilt of taking his brother’s money for nothing.

The next day he got up early and made himself scrambled eggs. The phone rang just when he wanted to sit down to the table and eat.

“Damn it. I swear if this is again some kind of selling...”

“Hello?”

“Hi. Are you in better mood today?”

“Well, have you decided to work today?”

“I only do what I was told to do. I am calling to check if you changed your mind about some points we agreed to earlier on. Do you mind couple of questions?” she asked but continued before he had the chance to reply. “Do you want me to call regularly to check if you alright?”

“No.”

“Would you like me to visit and do the shopping, basic domestic work for you?”

“No.”

“Ok then. So would you like to explain your last night phone call? Maybe an apology would be nice?” Sebastian wasn’t used to be talked to this way. People felt sorry for him. People didn’t hold him responsible for anything and people always said he is right even just out of the pity. He stood with the phone on his ear, stunned listening to the soft firm but still polite voice.

“Well, if you do not wish to talk anymore I shall go. You are welcome to call me at any time if you change your mind but I would appreciate a bit more politeness.” She hanged up and Sebastian went back to his breakfast. He didn’t feel like eating anymore. He got up, threw the untouched eggs into bin and walked out into the garden where sun shined on his face and he hid himself under the shade.

Later that day he called Teresa again. He asked her to come for a lunch the next day and she said she will. He cooked some more scrambled eggs, he made toast with honey and he put some smoked salmon on the table outside in the garden. She arrived 5 minutes before he asked her to she didn’t ring the bell but came straight into the back garden.

“I thought I can smell food.” She said. They didn’t talk about their argument. She didn’t ask him how he was doing, if he needed a help in the kitchen or with bathing. She behaved like she would forget she is his carer.  They sat outside and talked a little bit about everything the sun was shining and Sebastian was at his usual place in the shade.

“Why do you hide from the sun?” she asked suddenly.

“What is the point to have the feeling but couldn’t see the cause of it?” he said his usual excuse which made most of the people uncomfortable and they stopped asking him questions.  The sudden good hearted laughter broke the silence .

“What you talking about? No one can see the sun!” she said still smiling. “It is the feeling people need. No one looks into sun it would hurt their eyes. “Sebastian didn’t know what to say. People don’t look at the sun. So he can enjoy the sun the same way as the rest of the population? He heard some movements and realized Teresa removed the sunshade from top of his chair. He felt the sudden warmth and he heard Teresa going back to her chair.

“Let’s just enjoy the feeling.” She said and Sebastian for the first time didn’t feel different. Now when Teresa told him people enjoy the sun with closed eyes. He can do it. And he closed his eyes and lifted his face towards the sun. 

Teresa started to visit him regularly. She always waited for invitation which came first once a week, and then twice a week and which now became almost on daily basis. She never said no, she never felt tired and she never sounded annoyed.  She didn’t let Sebastian to feel sorry for himself, she didn’t agree with his self-pity, she laughed-off any of his attempts to try to make her feel guilty until he gave up and he was finally able to have a normal conversation with her. Not about his blank eyes, the lack of happiness in his life or the unfairness done to him. They talked about how today weather feels like and how loud the neighbour’s kids are. She made him feel real and most importantly she almost made him forget he is blind.

Six months passed quickly and Peter was supposed to come back next week. Sebastian felt anxious. He was happy about Peter’s arrival but he felt fear of losing Teresa.  He knew he can ask Peter to pay her longer and he would do so but it wasn’t what concerned him. He was scared to find out if Teresa staying for the money or if she really enjoying his company. Would she say yes for a lunch if Peter cancels her contract? Or would she found some another disabled person to look after and pretend the friendship for money. Sebastian felt anger although he didn’t know the answer to his questions. He didn’t know if she would stay by his side but only the thought of it made him feel the old misery.

“Why are you an ass today again?” she asked after he ignored her for the third time.

“What you talking about?” he found out is better to pretend you don’t know what she is talking about otherwise you always come out as the ass.

“You know.” She said and she knew he knows.

They ate the dinner quietly; Teresa washed the dishes and grabbed her coat to leave. Sebastian sat in his chair and didn’t go to walk her to the door as he always does.

“What’s wrong?” she asked but Sebastian only murmured back nothing.

Sebastian sat in his chair, listening to Teresa’s steps he imagined her to putting her coat over her silk blouse showing her full breast and her feet in velvet tight slipping into the court shoes. He wanted to stop her but he wasn’t ready. He wasn’t ready to get hit from the life again. To find out she only sees him as her patient and nothing else. To hear the pity from her voice, no he would not survive to hear the pity in her voice. Not in hers.

It was couple of minutes when he heard the front door open again. He was alarmed first imagine the robbers to enter his house , grabbing his belongings while laughing their heads off at this old blind man who can do nothing to stop them. But then he heard the familiar deep breaths and the light walk with bell-like sound of the heels.  Teresa. She came closer to his chair now, he could feel her very close she never was this close. He heard her small knees rub against the carpet and he felt her hand taking his hand.

“Would you like me to stay?” she asked and he knew she is not asking as his carer anymore. She asks as a woman. He nodded his head and she stood up, still holding his hand and leaded him slowly to his bedroom. He laid her softly on the bed and they made love when she once again made him feel full, made him feel alive. Feel like a man. Not a freak.

Teresa stayed in his house after. It felt right. It felt like she should be there and she always belonged there. Peter came back the week after. He came to visit and after he realised the feelings between the two of them he put the biggest smile on his face which Sebastian couldn’t see but he knew very well it is there.

“I didn’t think there is a person who could change this miserable chap!” he said jokingly and he stroked Teresa’s shoulder with gratitude in his face.

Sebastian loved Teresa around. She would always spend couple of days with him but then she would make up an excuse to leave. At the beginning she left only for a day or two but lately she left for four, five or the whole week and Sebastian was sick worried. When she came back she always made him feel guilty or inappropriate for him to ask and so he didn’t anymore. He only nodded when she left and then he would be waiting patiently for her return. She always returned and so after a year he stopped worrying. He accepted she had another life and he decided to respect this life as she respected his blindness at the beginning and his misery.

Peter would come and visit mainly at the days of Teresa’s absence to help Sebastian forget. Sebastian would still complain to Peter about his sight absence but the complaints became less frequent until they disappeared and Peter realized he can see Sebastian happy for the first time. He didn’t like Teresa’s days of absence as he could see the cloud on Sebastian’s face the worries which transformed themselves into the wrinkled forehead.  But he was too grateful for giving Sebastian the gift of life and so he didn’t ask. He only nodded when she left again.  He suspected she have some problems. She looked more worried, her face was paler, her hair looked lighter and although she now wore baggy clothes he could clearly see she lost weight.  He asked her once when they were left alone, Sebastian cooking for them in the kitchen. She would look at him with tired face and tell him not to worry; she will take good care of her eyes. Peter didn’t understand what she meant. She left the next day again and he went to Sebastian to keep him company on the dinner. He was always saddest on the first day of her absence.

They ate in silence when the phone rang. Sebastian went to answer, hoping its Teresa. It was deep firm voice at the other side. He murmured couple of yes’s and no’s into the phone and hanged up . He turned his head towards Peter.

“They found a donor.” Was his only words.

The next couple of days Peter took holiday from work and he spends all the time preparing Sebastian for the complicated surgery. They waited for this moment ever since they remember. It was a big  hope for Sebastian when he was teenager when they told him he could see. If they only could find a donor. But the older Sebastian grew, the lower was chance to find a donor until they stopped talk about that. They stopped looking and they accepted Sebastian will never see. When the phone rang and they said there is a donor he couldn’t believe. Neither Peter believed. They sat in silence and they didn’t dare to be happy until the next day when they visited the Clinique and they confirmed there is a donor for Sebastian.  The surgery will take place in couple of days as they cannot wait any longer.

At the day, Peter drove Sebastian to the surgery. They both tried to contact Teresa but she didn’t reply her self-phone and she was nowhere to be found. Sebastian wanted to wait for her return but the doctors dismissed it. The eyes needed to be transplanted immediately otherwise they risking they will not be suitable anymore.  Peter talked some more to Sebastian who agreed to the end to attend the surgery without Teresa.

Sebastian put on the white gown and laid on the table. He only remembered Peter’s strokes before he fell asleep.

When Sebastian woke up he could not see. His first thoughts were the surgery had not been successful but then he realized his eyes are tied with the bandage.  It took some time, which seemed like an eternity for Sebastian until a doctor walked in and gave him small induction on what the process was like. She forbid him to touch, rub or do anything else close to his eyes the next couple fo weeks.

“The surgery was successful. You will soon be able to see.” She said and Sebastian was so happy. He asked for Peter and was told he left to have a shower and nap he spent last 48 hours in the chair next to him. He asked if there was anyone else waiting for him and he was told no. So, Teresa is not back yet. It makes it more than week this time.

“Oh, I will leave you a present. The donor asked me to give it to you if the surgery will be successful.” The doctor said and left before Sebastian could ask any more questions.

Him and Peter obviously tried to find out more about the donor before the surgery but they were told she wants it to be anonymous.  She suffered of rare kind of cancer and was dying slowly the last months. She came a year ago just after she found out she had cancer.  He little daughter died the year before and her husband blamed her for giving the disease to their only child. He left her shortly after and she wanted to donate the organs. But the most of her organs were already rotten eaten by the cancer. The only thing she could donate were her eyes. She flicked through the pages of people waiting for transplantation and she randomly chose Sebastian.

“You got lucky.” The nurse told him. He felt strangely sorry for the sick woman and he wished there would be other way for him to get his eyes rather than celebrating someone’s death.

Later that day Peter came back and he greeted Sebastian with honest happiness.

“Did you hear from Teresa?”

“I’m sorry. I’m trying her self-phone every hour.”

Sebastian touched the present the doctor left for him. A thin envelope soft between his fingers.

“Can you tell me what is this?” he asked Peter.

“Looks like a letter. Where it came from?”

“Can you read it for me?”

There was a sound of tearing paper, and sound of paper creased between Peter’s wet palms and then there was quietness.  Nothingness. The longest time of quietness Sebastian remembers form Peter.

“What is it?” quiet. “Peter?” quiet. “Read it to me.” He said with despair and Peter read in low voice.

“ I am sorry I had to leave without saying goodbye.  I didn’t plan on letting us to go that far. I only wanted to know you better. To know you deserve it. That you are the right person but I couldn’t leave when I wanted to.  I found more than safe place for my eyes. I found the love I was looking for. Thank you for the last months and please accept my gift and take a good care of it. You learnt to love your life and now you can finally enjoy it. And don’t be sad I am gone. I am closer than you think. I see exactly what you see. Teresa.”


© Copyright 2019 DS Utley. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: