I spot a dark blue patch across the carriage amidst a sea of blurry colours. With my stick leading the way, I slowly make my way to the blue patch as it gets bigger and bigger in my view. People stand away from me as I approach to give me more space and I am sure to also stare.
I sit down, methodically removing my back pack, then folding my stick and wrapping the elastic wrist band around it a few times before putting it in the zipped front pocket of the bag. I pull out a newspaper and my spectacles case. I change the spectacles I had on with the pair in the case. Putting the case away into the bag, I reach for the newspaper to continue on where I had left off.
I could feel her looking at me as I pull the paper to my face. It is barely a palm’s width from my face. I can feel my breathe as I read and smell the ink on the paper, but I still couldn’t read. Scanning the top left of the page, I see a blur of different shades of orange. I quickly pull the paper up as I scroll downwards to see where the colour ends, but was quickly annoyed as I found that it was a full page advertisement. I sigh as I turn the page over.
Again, I start on the top left of the page. She is still looking, but she is not staring. I can feel her peeping now and again, politely but not intruding. She is probably wondering what it is like to have to read like this. She didn’t have any spectacles on.
I manage to read the article title on the top left corner so I move on the right. The print is smaller, but I persist. Then I move downwards in the paper for the next article title. This sounds like an interesting article, so I make a mental note to ask my daughter later tonight about it. I move on.
The train stops. It’s the fourth stop since I got on, which means it is Covent Garden. She turns to look at me as she gets up to leave and our gazes meet. She puts on a polite smile, or at least I think she does as she steps away towards the door. I continue to attack the newspaper.
My mind isn’t with the paper anymore though. I can only think about what my daughter keeps nagging me about. “Dad, go learn Braille,” she says. I don’t know if I can. I really don’t know. I am after all going to be a hundred next year. If I manage to learn it, how long will I get to use it for anyway?