So maybe you noticed it the previous evening, but you didn’t really know what it was. You didn’t think to do anything about it because, after all, it’s just your vision. Who needs to worry about that? Eleven years after your last eye doctor appointment, and you find yourself on the waning days of your invincible twenties, and staring at the ceiling, because that’s when you notice it more.

Not that you know what it is, exactly. It’s a bubble. A distortion, really. It starts in the bottom left hand side of your peripheral vision of your right eye. Just a distortion. Like wearing sunglasses and having a drop of rain on the edge of them. Only you’re not wearing sunglasses, and you’ve taken your contacts out hours ago.

Maybe you went to bed last night, expecting it to get better. Wake up and shake off the bad trip. Consider going back to get another eye exam. So then maybe you find yourself standing in work at 6:00 AM because you couldn’t really sleep, and the little sleep you did get didn’t seem to heal whatever it is inside your eye causing you to see this bubble. Good days never start out this way.

Then your boss would come in to work, and hour or so later. Maybe they would ask you why you were wearing your glasses. A bubble is the only word you can think of to describe it. It causes concern in your boss, but a lot of things do. Don’t let it upset you. You resolve to call the optometrist who works in your shopping center. They open in two hours. You have tags to put up. Keep your mind off of it. Don’t think about it. It’s probably nothing. A bubble. A bubble is harmless. Child’s play.

Maybe around 8:30, you call them. They don’t open until 9:00, but you can see people milling around inside. Not that you are worried, mind you. It just needs to get taken care of. You go up to the manager’s office to make the call.

“Hi, I work next door. I need to make an appointment,” you’ll say to the receptionist.

“Okay, I have an opening on Tuesday at 1:30,” the lady will respond.

“You don’t have anything earlier?” you’ll ask.

“I’m sorry, hon. That’s the next available.”

Fear will take hold. And completely against your nature, you will refuse to take “no” for an answer.

You’ll tell the receptionist about your visual distortion. After all, you want someone to confirm that you are Just Being Silly. If she could work you in, it would mean a great deal to you. After all, I’m only yards away. She will put you on hold. A bead of sweat will appear on your brow, even though the air conditioner is on full blast.

The phone line will crackle back to life. “Are you at the grocery store?”


“Can you come over now?”

Your pulse will increase a bit. You get over to the optometrist’s office. They unlock the door for you, because they aren’t open for another 20 minutes. You will be dilated while you fill out paperwork. They will take you back quickly and sit you down in the chair. The optometrist will ask you about what you are seeing. You’ll explain it the only way you know how; a bubble.

“That’s a pretty good description, actually.” The optometrist will stare in your eye. It will seem odd at first, but it appears she is somewhat giddy. You will begin to squirm.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-eight,” you’ll respond. “What’s there? What do you see?”

She sits back in her chair, and looks you directly in the dilated eye. You will shift your weight again. Your face will feel hot. That bead of sweat will return.

“You have a retinal detachment,” she’ll start out. “You have a tear in your retina, and your vitreous gel is leaking into the space between your retina and the back of your eyeball.”

Your heart will sink.

“This is considered an ocular emergency,” she will continue. You will watch her lips move in slow motion with your good eye. “You need to go to the emergency room right now. You’ll meet one of our ophthalmologists there.”

Walking out of the optometrists, you will feel sick to your stomach. You’ll call your girlfriend. In tears. You can’t help it. You just let go. All of your fears – all of your dreaded thoughts you’ve been having over the last few hours will crash through your stoic facade and force their release into your cell phone’s mouthpiece. You try to explain to her what the optometrist told you, but all you can muster is “emergency room” and “retina broken”.

And it will be during that long walk back to the store that you will feel more alone… more afraid… than you have felt in a very long time.