My Eyes: Excerpts from Chapter 15

“I told you about the plumber unstopping our kitchen sink with Red Devil Lye. You were standing by me and I was ironing. You ran over to watch him. At just that moment the plumber plunged the lye and it struck you in both eyes.”

I knew Momma was upset but I didn’t care. I crossed my arms. I heard Beany’s collar jingle. She thumped her tail against the dining room wall and I knew where she was. “Let’s sing a song,” Momma said rather quickly. “How about ‘Romeo’?”

Romeo went roamin’

That’s how he won his name

Romeo went roamin’

That’s how he won his fame

A roamin’ in the gloamin’

He came upon Juliet

With his cute little ladder

He didn’t think he had her

But he said I’ll get you yet—

“But why?” I cried out.

“Suffering is a mystery,” Momma said. “Anyway, being blind is better than having a bad disposition. “Now go outside and play. I want to finish David Copperfield, even though I’ve read it three times.”

I headed toward the front door. Beany followed me. I felt for her ears. German shepherds have the softest fuzz on their ears. Hers felt like velvet. I opened the door and stepped onto the porch. Beany rushed by me and I heard her toenails click down the steps.

I turned left and felt for the big wooden porch swing and for the rightmost of the two chains from which the swing hung. I softly sang a nonsense song that Billy’s class had learned last year. “Simonize your baby with a Hershey’s candy bar, / And see the difference Drano makes in every movie star!”

I swung as high as I could in the porch swing. I had to get my mind on something else. Robert Louis Stevenson occurred to me.

How I do like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown—

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!

I heard kids talking and their footsteps walking by in front of my house. I didn’t recognize their voices. I automatically covered my eyes with one hand. I knew I would be much prettier if I hadn’t gotten lye in both my eyes.


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