Memories of a Friend

L’essential est invisible aux yeux.
     Antoine de St. Exupery, Le Petit Prince



I hear the clink-clink of his guide dog’s harness, the steady trusting pace of boots as he approaches, the scraping of the chair across linoleum, a plop and sigh as he takes a seat.

“I know you’re there,” he says. “I smell roses. It’s been a while.”

“Too long. Close to thirty years. Can you believe it?”

His gravely voice betrays the wear of time, as we lapse into memories and the raucous sound of laughter—all we have in common now.

“Remember your trip to Rome?” I ask. “The David?”

“Oh don’t go there. What could the others have thought? A blind priest enjoying sculpture by touch and first thing I do is stroke his…” We roar again.

“And how you “saw” us?”

“Oh, never the touchy thing, like some blind people do,” he says. “You were a beagle. And then there was grim bear!”

In the background I hear the fall of water in the courtyard pond, the caw of crows and the twitter of a finch and think of grim bear.

“Do you regret your decision?”

“Sometimes,” I admit. “When I have worries about money or who will take care of me when I am old. I miss the built-in time for quiet and for prayer,” I say. “But no. It was for the best. You helped, you know. You saw so clearly what I couldn’t see alone.”

And then he asks, “Have you forgiven?”

Today at dVerse Meeting the Bar Brian Miller asks us to consider blind writing–that is, using any sense to create a scene, a poem EXCEPT for vision. I started to write this as a poem but it just didn’t work, so I hope I will be excused for a bit of creative non-fiction prose. This is an imagined encounter with a blind priest friend who helped guide me through a life-changing decision. The quote from The Little Prince is (as I remember it) “What is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

32 thoughts on “Memories of a Friend

  1. Lindy Lee says:

    To err is human; to forgive is canine…


  2. janehewey says:

    your final line, written as a question, brings all of the sense together in one. a wonderful write!


  3. shanyns says:

    Pastors and priests always as the important question, have you forgiven?

    This is so poetic in flow and word. I loved this exchange and find it inspiring that the blind priest is a real person who was in your life! wow…


  4. lynndiane says:

    i enjoyed your poetic prose…the sensory experience, humor, and curiosity it piques!


  5. rmp says:

    this is beautiful…the sounds definitely carry through in this piece…your story also sparked a bit of my own laughter to add to that on the page.


  6. vbholmes says:

    You gave us such insight into your characters and their relationship through their discussion of sensory stimulii. Very well done.


  7. hypercryptical says:

    Beautifully done and I love the humour within it. Lovely tender write.
    Anna :o]


  8. I’m sure if David had any senses he would have giggled and blushed Vick. I enjoyed your creative prose, very very much.


  9. jo-hanna says:

    Amazing take on Brian’s prompt. Moving and surely a kernel for more.


  10. lucychili says:

    this prompt is great isn’t it. you really heighten all the sound and smell senses your people have character =)


  11. Prose poem is the word you were looking for. You have give us a lovely insight without using visual words!

    BTW isn’t David in Florence? I saw him there, but didn’t touch!


  12. kkkkaty1 says:

    What an inspirational story …I am a visual person so it would take a lot out of me to lose my sight…but then hearing would be another thing altogether…I’m so glad your friend was able to get the dog and you were able to help….I felt I was sitting between you


  13. Very powerful…. I’d say you nailed it.


  14. Truedessa says:

    I like the bits of conversation and the ending is a powerful question..


  15. Linda says:

    Oh, I love the beagle and the bear, and the time for quiet and prayer. Lovely work, Victoria~


  16. Abhra Pal says:

    You have done it well making this into prose – when I came to know about the prompt and asked myself what if I base this on a blind poet or artist.


  17. There is such depth and understanding within this piece. Enjoyed it very much Victoria. Lovely.


  18. billgncs says:

    so rich and full… and even the humor well done, that’s always the hardest to time. I liked this very much


  19. I love “The Little Prince” – the quote was perfect as an introduction to this. I say this is a prose poem. I know why you don’t think it is, but it works because like all that is hidden in life and in poetry, this unfolds and delivers. Well done, you!


  20. wolfsrosebud says:

    I enjoyed the conversational approach… so real


  21. Glenn Buttkus says:

    You are forgiven, both for the unspoken sin within the piece, and giving us a marvelous piece of poetic prose to boot. Nice touch that your protagonist still wears the same scent. A novel & unique way to attack the prompt blindly; nice job VC.


  22. Brian Miller says:

    nice…love the scene you created with them…the humor…ha…..grabbing the privates…smiles….def an interesting question for him to end on….sounds like quite the personality….smiles.


  23. Grace says:

    What a lovely scene you have created Victoria ~ Nostalgic, and then that last question, very intriguing & I can only imagine what went befor that ~ Enjoyed this ~


  24. Well, I thought it worked really well and loved the fact that it’s part-based in fact, with poetic license thrown in.


  25. welshstream says:

    love this .. a prose poem of quality and this line ‘“I know you’re there,” he says. “I smell roses./It’s been a while.” is so simple and yet so evocative and that last line ….wonderful how you leave our imagination to lead us on from there.


  26. I truly love this piece . . . it made me laugh, it made me smile and had such a strong sense about it.


  27. Gabriella says:

    I enjoyed the scene you painted for us, Victoria! I can picture it and think it could very well belong to a film. I like what you show of the priest as well as his relationship with the narrator/you. As for the last line, it is powerful and raises many questions regarding the context and what took place thirty years before.


  28. Mary says:

    Sometimes it is the blind who ‘see’ best of all. I think this priest saw into your heart, and that prove to be what was important!


  29. C.J. Black says:

    Read the weekly papers for the visually impaired
    Come into the recording room from streets well aired
    Sitting down putting on the cans
    Wondering silently of future plans
    And the fact that I can see
    If I could not, what would be?
    Count my blessings and give praise
    As my invisible chalice in thanks I raise.


  30. I really liked this.. and your fiction reads like poetry too. me.. and to be reminded by the smell.. I agree with Claudia.. smell is a strong memory..


  31. Beth Winter says:

    You infused acceptance, laughter, wonder and faith in one fabulous poem. Bravo!


  32. claudia says:

    yes – what is essential is invisible for the eyes… love that he recognized you by your smell…that is awesome… smell is a strong sense for me as well… and sometimes i would love to close my eyes and touch a sculpture – just not many people would understand probably… cool convo victoria


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