by Tom the HungarianIt is hard to be an only child, harder still an only daughter and hardest of all to be the only child and daughter of an elderly father and a much younger and very glamorous mother. And that's me! Martha. My father is filthy rich. He started with nothing, got into property management, started purchasing property for himself on a modest scale and, then, he discovered that
he was a genius in the field. He had an uncanny ability to pick up old neglected properties and redevelop them; to recognize future trends and purchase cheap land in the right place. Today he owns the City we live in and owns half the State in which our City is located. I do not know how much money he has but it is in the nine digit range. Not surprisingly he did not have time to get married until in his late forties. Then he married a woman twenty-five years his junior and absolutely gorgeous. She claimed descent from an aristocratic Italian family but was born in this country. Her relatives in Italy were all counts and countesses, she claimed. How much of this is true I do not know. What I know is that she was extraordinarily beautiful, graceful and elegant. If she was not really a countess, she ought to have been. Dad was about 5' 6" or 7", quite a bit overweight with short legs and a large potbelly, an almost bald head and very myopic eyes which forced him to wear thick lensed glasses. Mother was 5' 11" in her stockinged feet but never hesitated to show up Dad's short stature with high heels or platform shoes and when she wore those, she was spectacular! She had a perfect figure, slim but with well-developed and rounded breasts, beautiful white skin, the face of a greek goddess with black eyes and straight black hair which she wore long. She also had 20/20 vision. Why she married Dad? The only theory I ever considered plausible was: for money.
I was born after two years of marriage. It was a long, painful process and Mom decided "never again". She did not want the inconvenience of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth and - above all - she was concerned about spoiling her figure. So I became an only daughter. I was, of course, the apple of Dad's eye. He loved me and spoiled me and I could not do wrong in his eyes. Nor was there a limit to money spent on me. For Mother, I was a disappointment. She was happy to have a daughter and fully expected me to be a carbon copy of herself, tall, beautiful, graceful and naturally elegant. I was nothing of the sort. I looked far more like my dad than her. I was short, dumpy, clumsy, chronically overweight and without gracefulness. Even the most expensive and elegant outfit looked geeky when I put it on. The only things I inherited from mother was her beautiful white skin and lovely black hair. My eyes were pale, wishy-washy blue like Dad's and I also inherited his inclination for obesity. So I was a disappointment to Mother and he made that very clear to me from as far back as I can remember. I was always scolded for my clumsiness. She always criticized my posture, my way of walking and moving and sitting and doing.
My eyes were my Dad's in more than just color and appearance. It was when I was attending the City's most exclusive kindergarten, at the age of five, that I first started being conscious of trouble with my eyesight. I realized that I could not see things in the distance that my friends and schoolmates could. I did not say anything to my parents, at first, because I instinctively felt that Mother would not be pleased and I did not need more trouble with her than I already had. After I entered first grade in the City's most exclusive and shamelessly expensive private school, however, things became harder. I could not see the black board, my grades suffered as a result and my shyness did not help to endear me to the teachers. "Look at her," - Mother said to Dad. - "Just look at her! And she is stupid too! Look at her grades! Is she going to be the first kid in this school to flunk first grade?" Finally, I gathered up enough courage to tell my parents about the trouble I had with my vision and that I thought I needed glasses. Mother's answer was brief and simple: "Nonsense! You don't need glasses!" That was the end of that question for that year but I somehow managed not to flunk. During the summer my visual problems were less intrusive. I was supposed to play little league and once again proved my clumsiness. I never managed to hit the ball because I did not see it but as far as Mother was concerned it was just my native lack of any physical coordination. And to tell the truth, apart from my eyesight, my coordination was not the best either.
It was in the swimming pool that I had the opportunity to try on the glasses of a girl whose parents recently joined the Country Club. Mother looked down on them as "nouveau rich" as if my Dad had inherited his money from many generations of aristocrats. For some reason I still fail to understand, this seemed much more distinguished and honorable to Mother than earning it yourself. Anyway, the girl, she was a year or two older than me, took off her glasses and went swimming and I tried them out of curiosity. The effect of concave lenses on a myopic person who has never looked through one is, of course astounding and exhilarating. I was so engrossed in this new experience of actually being able to see distant objects with some degree of clarity that I did not notice the girl returning.
"Can you see with them?" - was a natural question for her to ask.
"I see great with them!" - I answered enthusiastically.
"Then you are nearsighted and need glasses!" - was her only too correct verdict.
When I told my parents about this experience, Mother said the exact same thing as she had before.
"Nonsense! There's nothing wrong with you eyes. You don't need glasses." Dad tried to argue with her and suggested that my eyes ought to be tested but Mother knew better and I do not think that Dad ever won an argument with her throughout their entire marriage.
In second grade things went worse than in the first probably because my eyes were worse. On the other hand I discovered methods for helping myself. I squinted , I managed always to sit in the front row of seats, I got my friends to help me with their notes. In the movies I always sat right up front except when we went together with my parents. Dad suspected my predicament and pretended he needed to sit close to the screen even though he actually had 20/20 vision with his glasses. I did not dare complaining to Mother but I did talk to Dad. And one afternoon, when Mother was out playing bridge, Dad came home from his office unexpectedly and said to me,
"Where?" - I asked.
"We'll have your eyes tested."
"We went to the optometrist and he quickly established that I was very nearsighted, indeed, and precribed lenses with -3.5 and -3.0. He found no astigmatism. He also told off my father for not paying attention and not bringing me much sooner. Poor Dad said nothing in reponse.
When, that evening, Dad told Mother what we had done, she exploded. She threw a tantrum and created a scene as if she could claim sole authority for my upbringing and Dad had grossly exceeded his rights. She had strange theories about eyesight and nearsightedness. She basically believed that nearsightedness was a form of laziness and with willpower one was able to overcome it. Mother also firmly believed that wearing glasses and getting used to them had a detrimental effect on one's vision and that it was all a big plot in the business interests of opticians, optometrists, ophtalmologists and manufacturers of glasses. I got definite marching orders. I was NOT to wear glasses under any circumstances and she forthwith confiscated them. Dad brought me another pair a week or two later but I could only make limited use of them. I slipped them on in the movies when the room was darkened, watched TV in my room with them on, used them occasionally when Dad and I went somewhere together, just the two of us, and also with some of my close friends when we went skiing or for a hike where I could be sure not to be seen by someone who knew Mother. I dared not using them at school because Mother was close to the teachers and kept a careful tab on my behavior and meager accomplishments.
The next two years were an increasingly horrible nightmare for me as my eyesight was getting worse rapidly. I was living most of my life in a fog, stumbling around in vague fear, missing most of the worlds beauty and interest. My school grades continued abysmal and I think I would not have passed had it nor been for the huge tax-deductible donations with which my dad supported the school. Finally, towards the end of my fourth grade year, my teachers and even the school's headmaster realized what was going on and called my parents to a conference where the school nurse testified about my poor eyesight. Mother could not resist any longer and she took me for my first eyetest in two years. The result was catastrophic. In two years my precription rose to - 6.0 and - 5.25. In addition I have also developed astigmatism and needed additional correction of -0.75 and 0.25. When Mother saw my glasses she produced another one of her temper tantrums.
"No, no, no, noI I will not allow you to wear such monstrosities! Those lenses are far too thick and ugly! I've tried to make you look like a classy young woman and thats impossible with these!"
As far as she was concerned I was the one to blame. I have invented intentionally this whole eye problem for the express purpose of upsetting her. She did find an answer to the problem, however: she ordered contacts for me. For the next three years I was happy. I did not like those thick lenses any more than Mother did and wearing contacts satisfied everyone's needs and requirements. My school grades shot up like a rocket and everybody, including myself and excluding Dad, was surprised to discover that I was, actually, a very bright girl. Dad, of course knew that all the time. I was still not pretty, graceful or elegant and boys still did not line up to take me out and I still remained painfully shy and highly introverted. I was getting now regular, twice a year eye examinations and I was given regularly an increased Rx at each examination. By the end of sixth grade when I was going to be transferred to an equally exclusive but even more expensive private high school, my Rx was -10.5 and -9.25 and the astigmatism grew to -1.75 and -0.75.
In my last year in grade school several momentous events took place unconnected with my eyesight. My breasts which had started growing some time earlier, did so now rather more rapidly than my classmates. I was the first to need a bra and my bra size was noticably larger than anyone else's amongst my contempraries. That this was a cause of embarrassment and self-consciousness goes without saying, even though Mother was, for once, happy about something in me and said repeatedly that I had inherited her gorgeous breasts. My first period also arrived and added to my psychological and practical problems. But the biggest issue was my discovery that my Mother was an unfaithful, adulterous wife. This happened when I got sick one day at school. They called my home but there was no answer, so one of the teachers drove me to my house. I found the maid in the kitchen (she was not supposed to answer the phone) and she told me that Mother had a gentleman visitor. I did not find them in our living room, nor in Mother's study or the so-called family room. So I concluded that maybe the man left unbeknownst to the maid and I looked for Mother in her bedroom. When I got there, I knocked on the door and, receiving no answer, I opened it. I found mother in bed with a man in the midst of a most vigorous sexual encounter. They never noticed my entry and I never told anyone about it but it was a shattering experience for a young girl.
That summer we went to the French Riviera and spent most of our time on the beach. According to European custom a lot of women took the sun topless and Mother caught on to this custom quickly. She still had beautiful firm breasts and men walking past us glanced at it greedily. She soon started pressurizing me to do the same. I was terribly embarrassed and anxious but finally she pushed me into doing it much against my Dad's wishes. The first time I noticed a guy looking at my naked breasts I turned beet red but after a while I got used to it. I had very nice breasts, nothing to be ashamed of. Eventuallu I quite liked guys looking at me. It was my first truly erotic experience. When I started masturbating I often used this as my fantasy. When Dad had to return to the States for a while on business, Mother developed a relationship with a guy in his twenties who spent a lot of time in her hotel room. I had no doubt what was going on. Dad came back after a couple of weeks of absence and that is when my first contact lens problem also happened to develop. I got sand in my eyes a couple of times and ended up with my eyes very red. The French doctor recommended I not use contacts for a few days. Mother vetoed my wearing glasses so there I was blind as a bat. I could only see clearly to a distance of less than 4 inches and in the restaurant I had to hold the menu card very close to my face. Mother screamed at me and simply refused to believe that I could not read the menu otherwise.
"You are just annoying me and making a point!" - she said although it never became clear whay 'point' I was supposed to be trying to make.
I was also bitterly complaining on the beach that I was unable to see the sailing regatta that was going on. I was not allowed to bring my glasses, so Dad finally, offered his own.
"That's ridiculous! Your glasses are much too strong for her," - Mother objected.
When I was, finally, allowed to try them, it turned out that I had overtaken my Dad. His -8.0 and - 8.75 were too weak for me but close enough to help considerably. None of us had actually reralized that my eyes were now worse than Dad's and this was a shock even to me.
Problems with my contacts became more numerous the following school year. My eyes turned red quite often with, presumably, mild cases of conjunctivitis which lasted only for a few days. The first few times, I just stayed home from school for a couple of days but when the problem continued reoccurring and lasted longer, this was not possible. Mother, finally, had to give in and allowed me to go to school wearing my glasses. Except for my closest friends nobody had seen me with spectacles and many of my classmates did not even know that I was nearsighted. My arriving with my thick lenses created quite a stir. There were lots of negative comments and teasing especially from the boys. Things were going from bad to worse. My myopia continued worsening and my tolerance to contacts lessening. By the beginning of 9th grade and around my fifteenth birthday, I had to give up the struggle and accept that I could no longer use contacts. Mother was devastated but with my eyes now having an Rx of -12.5 and - 11.0 and astigmatism of -2.5 and 1.25, there was no alternative and she had to accept that I was an ugly duckling and that she had been cursed - horror of horrors! - with a bespectacled daughter..
The next eight years brought many changes. I finished high school, was accepted to one of the Ivy league schools, finished it summa cum laude and was about to enter Harvard Law School. I was now a real high myope, no doubt about it: -18.5 and - 15.5 with astimatism at -3.5 and - 2.0. I refused wearing the high index lenses because of the distortion problems they created and opted for regular lense, however thick, giving prreference to seeing well as opposed to looking attractive. I had actually given up on looking attractive. I never grew taller tha 5ft 5' and having put on weight I weighed 180 lbs. I needed a size 16 or 18 dress, queen size panty hose, 38DD bra with 34 waist and 54 hips. Even my breasts ceased to compete with Mother's and distinctly showed the effects of gravity. I also exhibited stretch marks on breasts and hips. Unlike my Mother I did not bother with facial hair and I now sported a small but noticeable moustache, quite visible since my hair is very black. My Mother gave up on me and no longer even criticized my choice of dumpy dresses and suits. My parents had separated by then. She was 48 years old, still stunningly elegant and beutiful after numerous plastic surgeries, and was living with a man twenty five years he junior. Dad, 73 by then, lived very happily with a pleasant 65 year old widow, as dumpy as he himself and his daughter.
Mother invited me to a huge party she was throwing in honor of I no longer recall what. Lots of people, music, dancing, garden party, the works, all the best unlimited amounts of money could buy. She said she wanted to find me a husband. I told her I was not interested. I wanted to be a lawyer. Nevertheless she was so insistent that I did go to the party. I was no more successful contradicting her than Dad used to be. Nobody was. She did not waste time on introducing me to too many people. She had more important visitors to look after. But to my greatest surprise a very handsome young man asked me to dance without any previous introduction. His name was Larry, a young associate lawyer with an outstanding Boston law firm. We spent the entire evening together and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I had refused to stay in Mother's house and she, therefore, took a suite for me in the City's most expensive hotel. Although I could easily afford it, it was not in my nature to pay for such extravagance but, once again, I did not feel like arguing with her. Larry took me to the hotel. Both of us had drunk a little more than usual, albeit we were certainly not drunk, perhaps just a little tipsy. To my own surprise, I invited him up. He came and we had another drink. Then he started kissing me. I wanted to take off my glasses but he stopped me and said,
"Martha, I asked you to dance first of all because I'm crazy about women who wear glasses, especially strong minus lenses. I now know that we have a lot more in common than that. But I still beg you, don't take them off please."
After a little while we were making love. Luckily for me, he was a lot more experienced than I was. I asked him to stay the night and he agreed. I went to bed and he went to the bathroom to undress. He did not, of course, have anything to put on for the night but that suited me just fine. It gave me reason not to put on anything either. When he came out of the bathroom in the nude, I had a tremendous surprise: he wore glasses with very strong minus lenses.
"I usually wear contacts, Martha," - he explained, - "but, of course, I don't sleep in them. I'm just hoping you like glasses as much as I do or at least don't dislike them. I can take them off if you want me to. I can make love to you without them but I'd rather not because I do want to see you."
"You mean my glasses?" - I asked.
"No," - he answered, - "not just the glasses, you too."
We tried each other's glasses and found that the prescriptions were so close, we could comfortably use each other's.
We continued our relationship while I was at Harvard since, very conveniently, he lived and worked in Boston. When he asked me to marry him, I set one condition: that he give up wearing contacts for ever. He agreed and we got married and we now have three wonderfully pretty little daughters, each more myopic than the other.