She doesn’t take stock in this moment until years later once she’s already married him. The high school library is the size of her current-day apartment. The aisles between the shelves are wide. The books, she remembers, are mostly paperbacks, and there was that one about telekinesis that comes up in her mind often. How ironic. She’s sitting with a friend that will continue to be her friend throughout college and graduate school, throughout the relationship he’d warned at the beginning—before the real beginning—that she shouldn’t start. He’s not really ready for a relationship, he’d said.
In this moment she and the good friend are sitting in their high school library discussing the opportunity costs of liking various members in their shared friend group, and they are sitting on a bench built into a window. The glare from the metal hardware bounces off her thick glasses when he tells her they won’t have to worry too much. They’re good looking people after all. What? She missed something, she thinks then, she had to have. When she thinks of this moment, she will be grateful she invested in Lasik eye surgery.
When she got Lasik, it wasn’t really Lasik. It was actually PRK surgery. She was advised by her regular optometrist to hold off a few more years before getting the corrective surgery, but she had this particular age locked in her internal calendar as the time she was “allowed” to get it so she booked an appointment with the man that conducted her father’s eye surgery when it was first introduced, and he gave her a discount, and said things that she should have found inappropriate, but she’s “good looking after all,” and so she goes through with it even when the nurse advises her not to use the pain medication, and to return it to her directly after putting in the prescription. She goes through with it (and takes every single one of the pain pills) because she wants to see what she’s missing. And during the surgery, she doesn’t miss a thing. She sees everything. The tool that slices her eyes open one at a time. The flap of the outer layer as it flaps open. The instantaneous darkness is overwhelming and she thinks back to her first optometry appointment at six. Her dad reassuringly nodding his head as she tells the doctor that she has magical powers. When she blinks hard—she blinks hard—she sees spots of colors, and if she blinks quickly—she blinks quickly—she can move buildings by at least a centimeter! The optometrist says something like oh, indeed? That’s called tel-e-ki-ne-sis. The darkness continues even with the incoming shaking of her skull. It does not like being locked down like this. She tells the doctor she’s going to move even as he tells her not to. He’s given her medicine to keep her still.
She pooled together the money for this surgery and she will pool together the money for this month’s rent. Even though she didn’t understand her friend’s comment in high school, it gave her a small confidence that stuck with her throughout college and graduate school. But it somehow doesn’t stick anymore. Not in her present-day marriage in the kitchen of their apartment that is much too small for them and their two cats. Her husband is excitedly calling out to people through his headphones while she’s looking at her bank app. She’s considering investing in property an hour away. She’s considering selling some of their furniture, maybe some clothes? She’s considering whether buying property without telling her husband is a bad idea. She doesn’t think it’s a bad idea, but she pauses. Her friend has a house. Another friend just bought a house. Another one bought one a year ago already. She went off of her birth control four months ago. Nothing’s happened, but it’s all a good idea to her. She’s going to have to dip into their savings to make rent.
She’s startled by the sudden slamming of her husband’s hand against the table because she’s made too much noise again. He’s died in his video game, the one dependent upon hearing your opponents. The sound a hand makes against wood. It almost sounds like a book falling from the top shelf. Or that feeling of missing something in a conversation you just know meant everything.
Tiffany Jimenez is from Oakland, California. She earned her BA in Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz, and her MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California. Other than being an ardent supporter of the imagination and the art of storytelling, she writes a lot, laughs a lot, startles easily, and loves potatoes.