4 – Inside

With a cry, the little girl swiftly hides behind her mother, only one of her wide eyes and a bit of ruffled bangs peeking from behind the mortified woman.

“–I’m so sorry,” she says, hardly able to hide her own repulsion. I brush aside her worries with a smile, sparing her the need to make up insincere excuses. I’m used to it.

I smile one last time at the furtive little eyes behind the skirt, and turn back to my coffee.

The whirring of the focusing servos keeps attracting oblique looks from other tables. I stopped caring long ago. Even without the noise, the shiny carbon fiber mounts would still lure their eyes like a magnet.

“–Did you have an accident?” I look up to a young, bespectacled face in front of me.

“–Jimmy!” An anguished voice cries out behind him. I give the worried father the same mechanical reassurances, his face a subtle mix of fear and awe. I don’t even pay attention to the forced excuses. At least his kid is more sincere in his curiosity.

I grab my coffee and get up from the table. I’ve called enough attention to myself for the coffee shop to loose it’s relaxed and cheerful atmosphere. Beth waves goodbye to me from behind the counter, an apologetic look in her eyes. “–It’s ok…” I want to say, but it’s not really necessary. We both know that I’ll be back again tomorrow.

Sitting in a park bench I remember the young eyes behind the thick rimmed glasses. Accident? Hell no! I paid good money for this chance to see, to draw, to paint, to live again.

Most of the joggers have grown used to me by now, they wave and say hello as they glide swiftly in front of me, some even call my name. I nod to every one of them, and keep on drawing.

The furtive looks are few and far between here, too many things to see to pay attention to the man lost in his sketchbook.

I can see better now, of course. Better than I ever dreamed to see with my own weak eyes. My eyesight has become so sharp that I now can read their faces like an open book before me… perhaps better than I sometimes wish I could.

A furtive pair of startled eyes spy me from the bench across the fountain. A fleeting look of shame crosses her face as she awkwardly turns away when I look up.

I can’t help but sigh as I turn back to face my sketchbook.

Not all scars form on the outside.

And sometimes those inside can hurt a bit more.

• • •

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