My Lovely Man’s just had his right eye removed, which makes him my Lovely One-Eyed Man (my LOEM). The eye was replaced with a wee bowling ball, wrapped in human sclera and protected by a plastic cap that will be replaced in two weeks by a big contact lens painted to look like a regular eye.
I brought him home looking like Micky Rourke after a bad night. This was okay because all i could see was a puffy mush of purple eyelids and some leaky blood. I was all sweetness and light and compassion.
Two days later his swelling reduced and he opened those eyelids. For the first time we saw the bowling ball, which is a solid, dark maroon colour as far as I can tell.
The sight of it took my legs out from under me. Figuratively, i mean. I didn’t actually drop, but Jesus Murphy, i worked hard to stop myself from crying with the shock of it.
We have this thing about eyes: Windows to the soul, truth detectors, the thing that differentiates us from evil robots, bad-guy terminators, and dead things, soulless things.
I had more than i realized invested in these associations, and for a short time it broke my heart to see something other than Pat’s eye where Pat’s eye used to be.
It scared me to look at him. (I am completely ashamed of this.)
Then, by the Grace of Something, i remembered the waiting room full of people in hospital gowns preparing to have body bits removed. I remembered all the patients i love who have fewer breasts, lungs, kidneys, fingers, and toes than the rest of us.
More than that, it dawns on me that i hack myself to pieces whenever and wherever i amputate love — for his new face, for many of my own body parts all my life, for this moment when i’d rather be somewhere else, for the world in general on a bad day. We’re all missing bits, when you think about it.
And i realize it’s absurd to assume Pat’s missing anything has anything to do with his soul or spirit.
Bring on the wee bowling ball. I will love this face.
Thanks for the lesson in love. Thank you for the conversation,