Sunday, May 02, 2010

Paul and Mary, part 1

My name is Paul. I am a normal guy, single, almost thirty. I go to work every day as anybody else, watch TV as anybody else, side with my favorite soccer club as anybody else. But still there is a strange crazy side of my personality that I hide from the people who know me. I am a high myopia pretender.

This story is a pure fiction. The places and characters are fictitious. If they resemble anybody you know, it happens just by a pure chance. The story deals with the pretending phenomenon. If you are not familiar with the topic, you can find more information all over Internet. There are many sites and discussion forums, where you can get explanation of the psychological phenomenon as well as meet other pretenders. So seek, read, learn and try to understand before you criticize.

My name is Paul. I am a normal guy, single, almost thirty. I go to work every day as anybody else, watch TV as anybody else, side with my favorite soccer club as anybody else. But still there is a strange crazy side of my personality that I hide from the people who know me. I am a high myopia pretender.

Since my early childhood I have always been fascinated with glasses. I liked girls and women with glasses. I wanted to wear glasses myself too. As I grew older I became more and more obsessed with frames and lenses. When I was a small boy I liked any glasses and any people with glasses, but when I was in my late teens I started realizing I liked glasses with strong minus lenses. The stronger, the better. It was not easy to cope with those feelings. There was time, when I thought I was crazy, un-normal, weird, deviant. There was time when I would do anything to get rid of it. But the more I tried to suppress my emotions that started boiling in my mind anytime I saw a person with thick glasses, the more nervous and overwrought I was. I could not help myself but learn how to live with my obsession. Later, I realized that some guys get turned on by watching women with big breasts, the others go crazy seeing female bodies freckled all over, and some probably like to bind their partner to bed by her hands and feet. I am the one who gets turned on by looking at girls with strong glasses. I feel very satisfied when I wear glasses myself, too. Is it that weird if you compare it with strange preferences of some other people? What may really seem weird is, that I also like wearing strong glasses myself. Saying strong I mean minus 14 diopters and more. Unfortunately (sic!), my eyes give me quite good vision. My prescription is only -1,5 D both eyes, which is a value that does not make most people wear their glasses full time.

Several years before the story, I am going to tell you, happened, I managed to buy plus contact lenses and had a pair of very strong glasses made. The strength of the lenses plus my weak shortsightedness and the strength of the minus lenses make up perfect vision for me, because all the values subtract equaling to zero. This simple arithmetic makes me possible to wear very thick glasses of minus 18 diopters and have almost perfect vision. There is some peripheral distortion, but I got used to it easily.

I do not wear those glasses full time. I have never been able to make the step and to start pretending I need to wear glasses of that strength in my normal life. What I often do, though, is, that I go far away from my town to another place where nobody knows me. Then I put the contacts in, shove the glasses with thick lenses on my nose and go visiting tourist attractions, museums, old castles, and even zoos. I really enjoy my trips. I relax. I feel that this is the true me - a high myopic man. Then I go back home and wear my normal thin glasses. None of my friends know this strange part of my life. I cannot tell them. They would not understand. I do not understand it myself. It has always been so. I wanted strong glasses not knowing why. I tried to struggle with the urge, I tried not to think about glasses, lenses, women with glasses, I tried to draw my attention towards another subject. Nothing helped. One day I gave up. I told a made-up story to an optician, and strangely enough he did not ask too many questions. He did what I wanted him to do. At the beginning I wore my contacts-glasses combination only at home. But soon I apprehended I needed to go out with the glasses on to be seen with them, to be perceived by other people as a high myopic person. My first glasses-trip started. As the time went on, I experienced a lot. I saw many monuments, castles, churches, national parks, I stayed at many hotels and ate in a number of good - and also bad - restaurants.
Although I met quite a lot of people I did not make friends with any of them. My normal life and my life as a high-myopic pretender were separated and were not possible to merge.

The story I want to tell you began in a large zoo in the eastern part of my country. I had the thick glasses over contacts and went there on one spring day to have my good glasses day. I hoped I would have some good lunch in the Greek restaurant in the zoo and I was looking forward to seeing all the exotic animals and birds. One of the reasons I chose that zoo was a brand new hall with tropical birds. There were very few people. That weekend, the zoo was almost without any visitors.

When I was sitting there on a bench watching the trees, bushes and birds and, of course, enjoying me wearing glasses, a young woman entered the part of the hall where I was. She had fair hair, pale complexion and very thin rimless glasses. She was good-looking woman however she was sitting in a wheelchair. I had noticed somebody in a wheelchair about a half an hour before I went into the new hall, but it was too far to recognize who it had been. I watch her rolling along the pathway between big leaves of tropical plants. When she was passing by, she looked at me and said hello. I nodded, lift my hand in a friendly gesture and tried not to watch too curious. She was alone. Soon she disappeared in the other part of the hall.

Next time I saw her was when I went out of the building with primates. I opened the door, went down by five stairs and there she was again. I smiled at her and turned to the left to see if there were more apes in the large runs outside. As there were none I came to the other part of the building soon. There was another door and another stairs. The blond girl was sitting in her wheelchair looking at the stairs. She did not look too happy. I realized she could not get into the building to see the animals.

"Pardon, may I help you get inside?" I heard myself saying.
"Oh," she blushed, "I ... I, you know ... ehm ... oh, yes please."
The situation must have been embarrassing for her.
"I hope I will manage to pull your whee ... ehm .. you up the stairs, so that you could see the apes inside. There are none outside, but if you get in, you would see all of them."

I wondered how smart I was.
"Well," said the girl, "I do not know, you see, ehm, I wanted to say I do not need to see everything."
I was looking at her face. She was blushing from her neck up to her forehead. I knew everybody likes watching gorillas and chimpanzees. She wanted to see them too, but she just felt self-conscious.

I made one more attempt to offer my help. I really wanted to help her. I could not leave her sitting there three meters far from door she would never be able to open without somebody's help.

"I may look slim but my hands are really strong." I played my role of a smart gentleman, "Do not worry, please, I will manage."
She bent her head, looked at her lap, bit her lower lip and said: "OK."

I took the handles of the wheelchair. They were new, no wearing. The wheelchair is not old, went through my mind, as I was turning the back of the wheelchair towards the first step. I bent the wheelchair backwards; the girl was almost lying. She closed her eyes, and there was a kind of tension in her face. I did not want to make her nervous. So I tried to clam her down.

I stopped and said: "Trust me."
She opened her dark blue eyes and smiled behind the thin lenses rather uncertainly. She had a white T-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. I noticed her legs were fixed firm to the wheelchair with three wide black belts. I concentrated on my task and managed to get her upstairs. We entered the building. As I had already read all the information about the animals I eased the atmosphere by telling her about what I had read. A young chimpanzee was sitting just one meter far from us behind a thick sheet of glass playing with vegetables. The animal kept replacing carrots and leeks as if it was counting them. Suddenly the young male looked at us and wagged his head. He seemed to signal there were not enough vegetables or the number of them was wrong. I laughed and girl was laughing with me. We looked at each other. If only she had as strong glasses as me, I thought.

The way out was easy. I managed to overcome all the stairs very well. I was really proud. I had never pushed or pulled a wheelchair. I thought I was very good at the job for the first time. The girl thanked me with a smile and rolled away. I stood there for a while watching her. What happened to her? Were her legs totally or partly paralyzed? For how long had she been confined in the wheelchair? I knew I could not ask her those obtrusive questions. But, you know, a pretty girl in a wheelchair is always rather mysterious.

I realized the wheelchair did not turn me off. I liked her face. Her hair was beautiful; her features were very even and tender. Her eyes were very nice, dark, and blue. And the wheelchair ... Well, it is a pretty peer kind of thing. I thought nobody can feel completely well seeing a young pretty woman confined in a wheelchair. My feelings and thoughts were mixed. I walked away not knowing were I was going to. Then I spotted big cats. I entered the part of the zoo where there were lions, tigers, and leopards. I love those animals. I love the smoothness and the strength of their bodies. I sat on a bench behind a large trunk of a chestnut tree. A huge lion lay on the grass. The loftiness of the animal drew my thoughts away from the paralyzed girl.

Then all of a sudden I heard a female voice.
"Do you like lions?"
I turned my head to see the blond girl sitting in her wheelchair beside me.
"Yes, I do."
"Me too." she answered. "I like all cats." She smiled.

We started talking. I found out she was not nervous any more. Her voice was unusually low-pitched.
We talked and watched the animals and then we went on doing the tour together. I found out I liked her presence. It felt much better to be with her than to walk alone. I asked her if she would like me to push her wheelchair. She accepted and we moved faster to another part of the zoo. I remember her looking at my glasses several times. I can distinguish when people look at me from when they look only at my glasses. She did not ask how strong they were. I would not probably mind, because I had made up a fictitious story about my "poor" vision a long time ago, but as she did not ask I did not have to lie.

I would like to know why she was in the wheelchair, why her legs were bound so firmly to the construction, but I did not think it was appropriate in the situation.

We had lunch together in the Greek restaurant. We already made the introduction stuff, so I knew her name was Mary.

The meal was fantastic. We had very good red wine too. When we were brought our cups of coffee with thick cream on it I lit my cigarette. She pulled out a box of Marlboro light. I took my lighter and served her. We smiled. I wanted to say something about smokers who are getting to be a chased minority in the world of non-smokers, but she started to say something so I swallowed my speech. She stopped too.

"Sorry. What did you want to say?"
"Oh, nothing important."
"No, tell me."
"No, it is stupid."
"Oh no, I was going to say just a stupid remark about smokers. Say what you wanted to."
"Oh, I was going to say something about smokers too."
We started laughing.
"Well, smokers seem to be rare animals these days."
"I was going to say the same thing!"
We laughed again enjoying the cigarettes and the atmosphere of two tobacco conspirators. I felt contented and I could see she was very relaxed too. Good Greek wine and meal can make miracles.
"Paul, would you mind me asking a question?" she asked then.
"Yes." I was waiting; somehow I knew what she was going to ask about.
"How many diopters do you have?" she put the question I had expected.
"Oh, eighteen, minus eighteen, it may be more than you have ever seen in anybody's glasses."
"That's a lot."
"Yes, but I can live with my glasses quite well."
"Can you drive?"
"Yes, I can, my vision with glasses is good." I answered. "You may think the glasses are horribly thick and ugly, but they help me see."
"No, I do not think they are ugly. I did not want to offend you. I am sorry."
"Mary, you did not offend me. I just know that most people think that my glasses are too strong to look nice. But your glasses are very nice."
"Yes, I know, I had them made in a very expensive shop. I chose the shape of the lenses myself."

Shapes do not interest me as much as diopters. I could not see anything unusual at the shape of the lenses, but I did not tell her. I said I liked the shape instead. As she dared to ask about my imperfection, I decided to find out something about her condition as well.

"Mary, may I ask you a question too?"
"Yes, I know what you want to ask ..." said my blond partner.
"Really?" I lifted my eyebrows.
"You," she said and flicked the ash from her cigarette, "want to ask me why I am in the wheelchair."
I swallowed.
"Yes," I answered slowly, "however, I am not sure if my question ... you know."

Suddenly I was sorry that I started the topic.

"I am paralyzed." she said simply. "I cannot walk. I have to use the wheelchair, because my legs would not support me."
"I am sorry." I felt I was blushing.
"You do not have to be sorry for me. I do not need anybody to be sorry for me." She looked straight into my eyes. "Only sometimes I need somebody to help me with stairs."

She smiled. I knew she was not angry. We finished our cigarettes. I paid for both. She protested, but I did not let her pay. There was still a lot of animals to see in the zoo, so we continued our tour. I pushed her wheelchair, squatted down to point from her height to look at the animals, and helped her with more stairs. I noticed she kind of enjoyed me holding her in the backward, lying position when I was pulling the wheelchair up stairs. She usually closed her eyes during the operation, but when I was pulling her up many stairs to get us to a place from where you can see a big part of the zoo, she opened them and smiled. She must have been enjoying my care. I thought it was something to be proud of.

We did not speak about her disability any more. Neither she asked more questions about my strong glasses. It seemed that we were able to accept each other including those conditions. I felt as if we had been friends for a long time.

In the afternoon, when it was time to go, we said each other good-bye. I offered her I would help her get home, but she refused. I gave her my phone number, but she did not give me hers. So I was sitting in my car on the empty parking lot, thinking. Will I ever see her again?
to be continued

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