free write: bifocals

By law, I am required to wear my glasses.

Which means, by law, I am required to have my glasses on me at all times. Or at least while driving.

Sometimes I try to convince myself that I don’t really need my glasses. Bright red orbs flout at an undetermined distance ahead of me while the gleam of street lights casts a sort of haze on my view and I am reminded why the law requires me to wear my glasses at night.

I lose my glasses up to four times a day. Just before sitting down to write this, I lost my glasses. I searched the usual spots: bathroom counter, top of the dresser, by the nightstand, in my bed. It wasn’t until I lifted up a sweater laying on the edge of the bed did the bifocals go flying, bouncing off the wall and tumbling under my bed.

The smooth plastic-like acetate, black in color and thick in frame, sit awkwardly on any flat surface, as most glasses will if you have accidentally sat on them, or fallen asleep while wearing them before. When the desert winds kick up dust my glasses are the first thing to attract the particles, like flies to honey.

When monsoon season makes us all aware of its presence, the overlaying humidity casts a thick, wet film onto the lens of my glasses, causing me to momentarily see nothing but condensation and white.

I am reminded of an article I once read of an older man who never disposes of his glasses after he replaces them. He said he holds onto every pair mainly for the sites he has seen through them, as if he has some sort of emotional attachment to the nostalgia of the everyday situations the glasses have seen. We often think of our eyes as the things that capture sights and memories, but for those with myopia, we forget to also thank our glasses, too.

To date, these thick lenses have seen the grassy and expansive Cliffs of Moher, the massive structure known as “Big Ben.” They have helped me see every crack and scratch located in the flying buttresses of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. They allowed me to see Southern California for the first time, and each individual wrinkle on the face of my best friend’s father as he lay inside his casket.

I lose my glasses up to four times a day. They aren’t stable on my face and they become dirty and hazy all too easily. But the memories they hold inside their clear lenses reminds me why it isn’t so bad that the law requires me to wear them.

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