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.”