The eye doctor, he tells me the white flashes I’ve been seeing are the fluid in my eyes pulling at my retina, a vitreous detachment. If it gets worse, the retina could detach fully and I could go blind. This was caused, he says, by my eye socket receiving a minor fracture and then healing the wrong way, putting pressure on it. This also accounts for the increased floaters I’ve been seeing, those little translucent lines. He says if it gets worse, if my vision goes red or I see a shower of floaters, or worse, a great black curtain over my sight, I need to reach him immediately, day or night, because emergency surgery will be needed to save the eye. All of this is the result of Blake putting his Marine training to good use, and pummeling me in the face (and really all over, I’m covered in bruises and my throat is still sore in a way that’s wrong), working out his aggression on me, betraying my trust as a good friend, revealing himself at last as my jealous rival, and just basically being a real son of a bitch.
The ophthalmologist sympathetizes. He’s a big, jovial kind of guy from Ft. Wayne, with big hands and a thicket mustache and that coarse northern accent that always puts me at ease, not like the slithering Southern accents that creep down my throat. No, this is a real, no-shit guy who tells me that he gets it, he knows how it is, men drink too much and words are had and next thing you know, you’re lying on one friend’s porch while another friend works out his inadequacies all over your face and torso.
I don’t need to tell him that I was in the wrong here, if we want to litigate, that after being goaded I’d made a move towards Blake with the absolute intention of maybe laying one on him, quick-like and in good humor. The motherfucker snapped and started to really go at it, not considering that the spry and breakable little niglet in front of him was a Street Fighter champion with a liberal arts degree who’d spent a more time inside and less time in the dojo than he had and wasn’t a threat. Instead he decided to let nearly the full force of his training loose in order to put said niglet (the actual term used was “faggot” but hey, who’s counting?) squarely into his place as the inferior male.
The eye doctor makes sure I understand that while such events are unfortunate, there’s no reason to beat oneself up over it. In fact this selfsame eye doctor had, in his time studying at Notre Dame, engaged in more than his fair share of good-natured drunken hooliganism, some of it less good-natured, leading to the physical removal of one or two buddies from the vicinity to “cool off.” And he was sure no matter what happened that I couldn’t have been in the wrong the way I tell it, and if anything should feel proud for trying multiple times to diffuse the situation and talk down my drunken associate. Who decided, with the vim and vigor appropriate of a dishonorably discharged member of this great nation’s armed forces, to use my corporeal form as a training dummy for a kind of improvised drunken wrestling that has landed yours truly in this jovial, no-shit ophthalmologist’s examination room.
The good doctor is really quite insistent that I don’t read or make any sudden movements with my eyes for a few weeks, as such movements increase the propensity of the retina in question to just come clean off. This is regardless of how much reading is required at my job or how I actually spend a good amount of time reading online ephemera and fragrant library books. Said habit was not an issue before my clock was soundly cleaned by very large man smelling of Jagermeister and Febreeze.
The full sum of this being that I am now out an eye and in a considerable amount of discomfort, getting my ocular units good and sprayed, eye-dropped, flashed, prodded, lasered, air-puffed, looked into, and just generally examined, all of it paid for by inadequate health insurance provided by Anthem BlueCross Blue Shield FunMed Jr., and an uncomfortable bill from the jovial, no shit ophthalmologist.
So now, the only way I can parse this humdinger of a pickle is to adopt the twee, obnoxious tone you see here, to obfuscate from myself and any other concerned parties just how well and truly pissed I am, given that such wrathful emotions are likely to encourage aforementioned niglet to purchase a softball bat and take it upside his former best friend’s eye socket, to see how he feels after being told there’s a good chance he’s not going to fucking see again.
AJ Ogundimu is a writer from Indiana. He holds an MFA in Fiction from New York University.