Saturday, November 16, 2013

Betwixt and Between

by Specs4ever

School just hadn't interested me. All the time I sat in classes, I daydreamed about being somewhere else. So, once I got my diploma at the end of grade 12 I left school and went out into the workforce. Unfortunately I had not listened when others told me how hard it was going to be to make a living for myself without a decent education. My first job was as an apprentice mechanic at a new car dealership, and I did all right, but the wages were barely enough to pay the rent on my one room apartment. I stuck with the apprenticeship until I was a trained, licensed automobile repair technician, but as soon as that license was in my hand, I gave my notice. I had been working on some of the vehicles that were owned by one of our major customers, and Mr. Smith had told me that if I ever needed a job, I should come to see him. I did, and he hired me. Mr. Smith owned a construction company, so as a result he needed mechanics to work on his equipment. The pay was a little better than at the garage, but the hours were a bit longer, so I was finding out that this really wasn't much of a step forward.

Mr. Smith was one of the main honcho’s in a group here in Arizona that was called the Minutemen. In the evenings, and on weekends these people went out and tried to find groups of illegal aliens that were being smuggled into the country from Mexico. They didn't actually confront any of the illegals, but if they discovered a group, they informed the Border Patrol, who came and escorted the illegals back across the border. I wasn't too enthused about joining the group, but I did agree to come along once in a while.

And that is how I happened to be sitting in the driver’s seat of my old beat up Chevy 4 x 4 pickup on a dark and stormy night, looking at miles and miles of desert through night vision binoculars. The Border Patrol told us publicly that we were a real asset to them, and that we should call them immediately if we saw suspicious movement through the desert. However, in private we were told that we damned well better make sure that there were real illegals for them to apprehend, and that they didn't want to waste their time being called out unless we were sure of this. So, the rest of the guys and I tended to be a little skittish about calling in the patrol until we had a confirmed sighting. But, tonight, with the wind whipping the huge Saguaro’s around, even with the night vision binoculars it was hard to get a confirmed sighting. A couple of times I thought I saw shadows flitting from cactus to cactus, but I couldn't be sure. This was going to be a wasted night.

Finally, I started the truck, and I moved closer to the Saguaro’s where I thought I had seen movement. Against instructions I got out of the truck, and I started to walk down into a gully that ran along behind the cactus. I looked at the tracks in the sand, and I could see that there had been movement through the area, but I couldn't be sure if this movement had taken place recently or not. The wind whistled, and I thought I heard a faint cry for help. So, I walked in the direction I thought the cry had originated from.

Using the beam of the flashlight I clambered down across a couple of large boulders. Sitting up against the wall of the gully was a young lady, obviously of Mexican extraction. She looked to be about 15 or 16, and she had beautiful dark skin, and long black hair tied up into a ponytail. I shone my flashlight towards her, and she looked away from the bright beam.

“Where is the rest of your party?” I asked in my basic Spanish.
“I'm all alone,” she replied in excellent English.
“How did you get here?” I asked.
“Are you an Illegal?” I asked.
“I am American. I was born in Los Angeles,” she told me.
“What are you doing here?” I asked
“I was with my brothers and my uncles. I stumbled, and my glasses fell off. I don’t know who stepped on my glasses, but they are smashed. I can’t see anything without my glasses, so my brothers left me here to go for help,” the girl said.

Well, I am extremely attracted to girls who wear glasses, but I really wasn’t sure how bad her eyesight could possibly be. After all, if you see a girl on the street, or in a store wearing glasses, it is pretty obvious from the lens thickness, the cut in, and the power rings how strong her glasses are, but it has been my experience that even girls with as low a prescription as –2D will describe their uncorrected eyesight as terrible. So, I suggested that maybe we should try to find where her glasses fell, and that maybe they were not broken as badly as she thought they were.

I took her arm, and using the flashlight I led her back down the gully. I noticed a tricky area, and I suspected that that might be where she had stumbled, so I led her over to the area. I searched with the flashlight, and I found a pair of black plastic framed glasses, broken across the top on one side, and near the nosepiece area on the other. The lenses were missing. So I searched a bit more, and I found one lens that had been completely shattered. I held it up to my eye, and tried to look through it. It appeared to be extremely strong, and it was made from glass. Then I searched a little more, and I found a part of the other lens. When I looked at this piece I knew I had a really high myope on my hands. Much of the lens near the nosepiece side was gone, but the edge that went to the temple was still large enough that I could tell that the lens had been ground with a bit of a myodisc effect. Probably the original lens had started out as about a –6D precut blank, and the higher prescription had been ground into the lens, leaving the original edge of the lens blank quite visible.

“Well, they are totally shattered. You were not kidding when you told me that you can’t see anything without them were you.” I said.
“No, I wasn't. I have worn them since I was just a little girl, and my eyes have just kept getting worse and worse.” She said.
“Well, I can help you get into Phoenix, and if you don’t have anywhere else to go I suppose you can stay at my place for the night. I have a couch that is pretty comfortable. But, first you have to tell me your name, and I would like to know your age.” I said.
“I am Maria Elena Sanchez. I am 19 years old. I do not have anywhere else to go, and I can’t see anything anyway, so I will take you up on your offer.” Maria said.

I guided Maria back to the truck, and we drove back into the city. My mind was racing. Here was a pretty little Mexican Senorita, with looks that most guys would die for to have for their girlfriend, but for me she had a glasses prescription that I would die for. I strongly suspected that the little tale she had told me about having been born in the USA was a fantasy, and that in fact she was an illegal. However, she spoke extremely good English for an illegal, so I really didn't know what to think.

When we got to my apartment, I guided Maria upstairs to the door. We went inside, and I helped her to the bathroom. Then I got out the spare clean sheets, and made up the pull out bed in the couch. Once Maria was settled, I went off to bed. The next morning when I woke up I wondered if I had just had a wonderful dream, so I got up and walked out into the other room, where Maria was still lying in bed.

“Thank you for your kindness.” Maria said.
“Well, I would have loved to take advantage of you and make mad passionate love to you, but you are pretty helpless without your glasses, so it just didn't seem to be the right thing to do.” I replied with laughter in my voice.
“Maybe when I can get new glasses we can change that.” Maria said.
“I would love that, but first of all we had better figure out how we are going to get you new glasses. I guess that if you had a spare pair with you, you would have already been wearing them.” I said.
“No spare pair. My glasses were so expensive I almost couldn't afford the one pair I had.” Maria replied.
“Well, today is Sunday. I know there are optometrists on duty at some of the optical chains at the malls, but I doubt that you have any money, and I sure don’t have any extra to spare on a waif who I found in the middle of the desert. If I do put up the money for an eye exam, and order you a new pair of glasses, how will you pay me back?” I asked.
“I don’t know. If I could find my brother’s or my Uncles they might be able to help. But I was going to Los Angeles, and they were going to Chicago to work, so I don’t think they will be anywhere to be found. And probably the coyote’s will have taken all their money.” Maria said.
“I thought you said you were legal. If you are legal, why are your brother’s not?” I asked.
“My brother’s are 2 years, and 4 years older than I am. They came illegally to Los Angeles with my parents, but I was born there. Then when I was around 10 years old my family was deported. I was born at home in our apartment, and my birth was never registered, so I was deported to Mexico also. But when I went back to Mexico, I was considered an American, even though I didn’t have papers. I am going to Los Angeles to see if I can get proof that I am legally an American.” Maria said.
“Ok, how do you plan on doing that?” I asked.

Maria fumbled around in her pockets, and pulled out a sort of wallet. She extracted a business card from the wallet, and holding it very close to her eyes she said. “If I can find Peter Lo from the Los Angeles Police Department he can prove that I was born in Los Angeles.”
“How?” I asked skeptically.
“When my mother was giving birth to me she was screaming loudly in pain. This policeman came rushing into our apartment, thinking that my father was beating my mother. When he came in and saw the midwife helping my mother he helped the midwife get me out. There was something wrong with the way I was coming out, so he saved my life.” Maria said.

It took a while to digest the story. It sounded plausible, however to find a beat policeman after 19 years who could swear that Maria was the baby that he delivered that evening was going to be a bit of a task. While I was thinking, I made us both a cup of coffee.

“Here is what we are going to do. We will see if we can have your eyes examined, and get you a pair of glasses made up as quickly, and I am afraid as cheaply as possible. While we are waiting for your glasses to be made, I will give my boss notice, and I will give up the apartment. Then we will go to Los Angeles to see if we can find this policeman.” I told her.
“You would do this for me? What is there in this for you?” Maria asked.
“Oh baby, I would then own you, lock stock and barrel.” I said.
“What is this lock stock and barrel?” Maria asked quizzically.
“It means that you are mine forever. You have to promise to love, honor and obey me forever and ever.” I said.
“And will you also promise to love, honor and obey me forever and ever?” Maria asked.
“There is no doubt in my mind.” I replied.
“But you haven’t seen me with glasses on yet. They are really thick and strong.” Maria said.
“That will be even better. Have I ever told you how much I love girls who wear strong glasses?” I said.
“You are fooling with me aren't you? Maybe I can get contact lenses, and you will still like me. I wanted to get contact lenses at home in Mexico, but we didn’t have enough money.” Maria said.
“Believe me, contact lenses are out. It is you wearing glasses that I want. And if we can’t prove that you are a legal American I will marry you and sponsor you for immigration.” I replied.
“You can’t. Unless I can prove I am American I have no country, so I can’t get a birth certificate anywhere.” Maria told me.

So, as soon as it was 11:00 am Maria and I headed to one of the larger malls.
We were in luck. The store was open, and there were 2 girls and a guy hanging around drinking coffee. After determining that the male was the optometrist on duty, we did the necessary paperwork, and he took Maria in for her eye examination. It seemed to take him forever, but finally, after about 30 minutes Maria was led back into the store by the doctor. He kindly guided her over to the fitting table, and she sat down. There were still no other customers, and both the female opticians, after taking a look at the prescription that the doctor had, looked through the different frames that they had in the racks. Finally they had compiled a selection of about 10 pairs, which they preceded to try on Maria. I managed to get a look at the prescription, and I was both amazed and pleased to see that Maria had a prescription of –17.00D in each eye. This was better than I could ever have hoped for. Of course, with a prescription this strong, Maria didn't have a hope of being able to see herself wearing any of the frames that had no lenses, but the opticians took some pictures with a digital camera, and Maria attempted to look at herself on a TV screen. Even this was a hopeless task for her, but we finally came up with a frame that both the opticians and I liked on Maria. So that is the one we chose.

I explained that we didn’t have any money for any bells and whistles on the glasses, and we were going to have to go with the cheapest lenses we could order. They both seemed a little disappointed, but one of the girls brightened up a little.

“Hey, I think if we order the cheap regular plastic lenses for this prescription we will likely get the next thinnest lens up back from the lab. And they won’t charge any extra for this. They will have the higher index lens blank in stock, so they will likely substitute it for free.” Carla, the youngest optician said.
“Well, worst case scenario, if they do not substitute a thinner lens, should we specify that they use as thin a lens blank as they can, and leave the area around the prescription as a sort of myodisc carrier?” I asked.
“I don’t think we should specify anything. I think we should just order the lenses, and see what they supply. I am sure that they will do their best. But if you specify, they will try to charge extra.” Helen, the other optician replied.
Just then John, the doctor came back from his office. It still wasn't noon yet, and although there were a few people walking about in the mall, we were still the only customer’s.
“I might have a temporary solution for the problem.” John said.
“What would that be?” I asked.
“Well, in a city like this, of 4 million people, approximately 40% are myopic. Of that 40%, which would be 1.6 million, 10% are high myopes. And of the population of high myopes, there are 10% that are extreme myopes. So, theoretically, within the boundaries of this city, we should be able to find 16,000 people that have prescriptions of over –15D. I figured that there has to be someone out there who could provide Maria with a pair of temporary glasses.” John said.
“Well, I am sure there is, but the problem would be finding them. You would have to search the database of every optometrist and ophthalmologist in this city, and that would be impossible. It would take so much manpower that they could make a hundred new pairs for Maria in that time.” I replied.
“Well, up until 2 years ago, you would have been correct. But thanks to a government funded computer program that was set up on a trial basis in this city, I have already searched the data bases.” John replied.
“Tell me more about this computer program.” I asked.
“Well, the FBI determined that it was pretty easy for someone to hide in this country. They can change identity overnight. But, what they can’t change is their eyesight. So, for example, if Jane Smith, a white female born on 04/06/72, with an eyeglass prescription of OD –4.25 x –1.50 x 110 and OS –4.50 x –1.25 x 95 were to disappear, the FBI thought that it would be a good idea to be able to track her by using her eyeglass prescription. After all she can’t hide her myopia forever. So, 2 years ago we started entering everyone’s records into a computer program that can do searches by name, by prescription, by D.O.B., by sex, and by race. I can go to that program, enter a prescription, and within seconds I can have all the matches for that prescription. Then I can check all the other parameters, and lo and behold if Martha Jones, a single white female with a date of birth of 06/04/72 was discovered to have a similar prescription, they would have a person of interest to check on.” John told me.
“I thought you said the date of birth was 04/06/72?” I responded.
“I did. That is the easiest thing to change for someone born in the first 12 days of the month. They just reverse the month and date. It is much easier for them to remember that way.” John said.
“So are you telling me that you have searched the data base, and have come up with a match for Maria’s prescription?” I asked.
“I have searched the data base. I have come up with 6 prescriptions that might work. Of the 6 I have phoned only 2 have answered. I left your home number with the other 4, and I have explained the problem, asking them to phone you today if possible.” John said.
“How close are the 2 prescriptions of the people that you have spoken to?” I asked.
“One lady is –16.25 x –1.75 x 90, and –16.50 x –2.00 x 75. The other one is –16.00 x –1.00 x 15 and –16.00 x –1.25 x 95. Neither of them are perfect, but I think Maria could wear either pair without too much trouble for a few days.” John replied.
“How about the other 4?” I asked.
“Three of them are about the same. I didn’t find any astigmatism in Maria’s case, and all of the 5 have a whole diopter or more of astigmatism. One lady is a bit more promising, but she has a prescription of –17.50D x –0.50D x 90 for both eyes. I think Maria could handle the extra strength by pulling the glasses a little bit away from her eyes, but I can’t be sure of that. And, I don’t know if you have noticed, but Maria’s eye structure is that of a very high myope. Her eyes are protruding quite a bit. If her eyes were in the usual position, she would have a vertex distance of about 12mm from her cornea to the back of her glasses lens. But, Maria has a vertex distance of 9mm.” John said.
“What does that mean?” I queried.
“Well, it means that if Maria had a 12 mm vertex distance she would have required about –1.00D stronger prescription in her lenses. But since Maria’s eyes are closer to her glasses, she needs less power. So, she would have to keep this other ladies glasses a little bit further from her eyes than she might feel comfortable with. Or, she might feel very comfortable with the glasses, and the other ladies prescription could adversely affect Maria’s prescription.” John told us.
“What should we do about ordering Maria’s new lenses?” I asked.
“Nothing will happen until tomorrow anyway. My suggestion would be to hold off until we see if any of these people call you. And, you might be able to pick up the old glasses of these other 2 people on your way home.” John replied.

So, that is what Maria and I did. I had a city map in the pickup, and we found the residence of the first lady without any trouble. She cheerfully gave Maria her old glasses, and Maria was pleased to be able to see again, although she complained that things looked fuzzy. Since this was the pair with the highest astigmatism, I felt that the fuzziness was due to that. We then headed for the other lady’s house, which turned out to be quite a journey. When Maria tried these glasses on she was a bit happier with the quality of her vision. So, with 2 pairs of glasses for Maria, we headed home.

When we arrived home there was a message on the answering machine from a lady named Liz. The best I could figure was that Liz was the lady with the prescription that was a little bit higher than Maria required. So, I called Liz back, found out where she lived, and Maria and I took another ride in my gas guzzling old 4 x 4.

I had Maria take off the glasses she was wearing, since I thought that maybe if Liz thought that other people had donated already she wouldn’t be as willing to help out. I led Maria up to Liz’s apartment. Liz welcomed us, and immediately placed her old glasses on Maria’s face. Maria’s eyes lit up as she looked around.

“I can see great. These glasses are far better for my poor weak eyes than my other ones were.” Maria said ecstatically.
“They look wonderful on you as well. I think they look better on you than they ever did on me.” Liz said.
“Why are you not wearing them anymore Liz?” I asked.
“Well, these glasses are my glasses from 2 years ago. I am 34 years old, and my eyes seem to get a little worse every year. Now my new glasses, when I get them next week, will be –18.50D, so these old glasses are just a little too weak to wear comfortably. And, I think it is great that my old glasses, which I paid a heck of a lot of money for, can be used to help someone else.” Liz replied.

We thanked Liz very much, and we headed back to the mall. We told John that Liz’s old glasses worked great for Maria, and he suggested that we wait a couple of weeks, and then have Maria undergo another vision exam. He was a little surprised at how close Maria was wearing Liz’s old glasses to her eyes.

“You should pull them away a little further Maria. Where you are wearing the glasses right now is like you wearing glasses that are over –18D.” John said.
“But John, I see really well with these glasses right at this point.” Maria replied.
“Well, lets do another eye test in 2 weeks then.” John said.
We left and headed back for the apartment. We stopped for a quick burger, as we hadn’t eaten all day, and both our stomachs were growling. I couldn’t keep my eyes off Maria.
“Honey, what are we going to do for clothing for you?” I asked.
“Well, I will just have to wash what I am wearing, and wear them again. I am used to doing that anyway.” Maria replied.

Back at the apartment Maria stripped naked, and wearing only her new, used glasses washed her clothing in my kitchen sink. She hung it up to dry, and I hoped that her clothing never dried. I have seen some beautiful ladies in my 24 years, but Maria was the most gorgeous one I ever laid eyes on. Her breasts were large, and firm. Her waist was trim and slim, and her rear end was absolute perfection. And her legs were muscled, and shaped in all the right places. This was one prime looking girl. And, looking full face at Maria, with the extremely strong glasses on her nose excited me beyond belief. She looked fantastic with Liz’s glasses. The lenses were obviously very strong because of the cut in, but they were very thin, so the lens edge wasn't really thick around the frame. When Maria moved her head to a slightly sideways tilt, I could see the massive power rings through the sides of the lenses. She finished her washing, and came and sat on my lap. She reached down, and she kissed me on my mouth, a nice sensuous kiss.

“Thank you Danny, for all your help.” Maria said.

I hugged her, and I kissed her back. That night we spent the night together in the same bed. In the morning when I woke up, I took Maria’s glasses from the nightstand where we had carefully placed them after making love the night before, and I placed them gently on Maria’s face. She stirred and gradually woke up. God she looked fabulous.

I tried to give my notice to my boss the following day, but he refused to take it. I must have been doing a good job for him, because he offered to give me 2 weeks off without pay. So, it was decided that I would work the week out, and then take 2 weeks to go over to Los Angeles to see if Maria and I could somehow straighten out her mess.

That day the other 3 people that John had phoned called Maria to offer her the use of their old glasses. So, after we ate dinned. Maria and I drove around to all three places to pick up the glasses. One other pair was pretty satisfactory for Maria, but the great looking glasses she had gotten from Liz were still the best pair, both for vision, and for appearance. The other pair that was the next best for Maria to see from was the pair I wanted her to wear. They were really thick regular plastic lenses, and I loved the coke bottle look they had. But Maria wasn’t fussy on wearing them after she looked at herself in the mirror with them on. However, she did agree to wear them for me when we made love again that night.
When I came home on Wednesday evening Maria was writing a letter in Spanish to her mom. She offered to read it to me, and she described how she had been left, at her own insistence, in the desert by her uncles and her brothers after she had broken her glasses. She then described how I had found her, and had really gone out of my way to help her out to get glasses that she could see with. She even told her mom that I loved her wearing glasses, and I blushed when Maria read the part where she wrote that she would be willing to marry me if I asked her. So I asked her, and she agreed that she would if we could get her lack of birth certificate corrected.

The week went by quickly. Friday night, after I had gotten my paycheck we went to a mall, and we bought Maria some more clothing. We didn't spend a lot of money, as I didn't have any extra to spend, but we did get Maria a new pair of hip hugger pants, and a blouse that tied off just below her substantial breasts. Some girls have high cracks, and the butt crack is visible above the hip huggers, but Maria didn't. Her butt looked fabulous in the hip huggers. We again made love Friday evening, and then we got up early Sat am for the 6-hour drive.

We rented a cheap furnished room for 2 weeks in a run down apartment complex. On the Monday, our first stop was the precinct that Peter Lo had worked out of. As I had suspected, Officer Lo had left the force, and no one knew where he had gone. Maria was crushed, but she suggested that we might be able to find her old grade school teacher. So we tracked her down using the phone book. Fortunately she lived in the same house, and Maria recognized it as we drove up. Maria and I walked up to the front door and Maria rang the bell. Soon the door opened and a lady in her late 60’s, wearing strong glasses with myodisc lenses peered at the 2 of us. Before she could say anything a flash of recognition showed in the ladies eyes, which were partially hidden behind the strong lenses.

“Well, I’ll be. It is Maria Elena isn't it?” she asked.
“Yes it is Ms. Watson. How could you possibly have recognized me?” Maria asked.
“Child, you are the spitting image of your mother, and with you wearing the strong glasses that you had to wear since you were a child, I knew immediately who you must be.” Ms. Watson said.

Maria and I explained the problem to Ms Watson. Ms. Watson made a couple of phone calls, and when she got off the phone she turned to Maria.

“Child, the midwife who was at your birth was Agnes Jones. She died a few months ago, but her daughter and her 2 granddaughters live over on Cherry St. Linda, the daughter is in pretty poor health herself, but she might have some way of helping you out. I knew Agnes, and her oldest granddaughter Melanie was in my grade 1 class a few years ago. Now that one is a work of art. She is a fat slug, with glasses that are likely as strong as yours are. But she is diabetic, has asthma real bad, and is so overweight that she has a hard time moving around. I’d almost be placing a bet on the odds of Melanie dying before Linda. But the younger daughter, Cheryl is a real sweet young thing. Her eyes are almost as bad as mine are, but she is a real nice kid, and is eager to learn, and she is very willing to help you.” Ms Watson told us.

We thanked Ms. Watson, and since it was past time for lunch we went to a small corner restaurant. After we ate we drove over to Cherry Street. We found the house and knocked on the door.

“Hold your horses, I’m coming as fast as I can.” A voice from inside said.

The door opened, and before us stood a really, really fat lady. She wasn't very tall, and a cigarette dangled from her mouth. She removed the burning cigarette, and coughed a deep cough.

“Are you Linda?” I asked.
“Yeh, what do you want?” Linda said, taking a deep drag on the cigarette, and exhaling a big puff of smoke in our faces.
“Your mom, Agnes Jones, was the midwife for Maria’s birth. Maria’s mom never got around to registering her birth, and we were hoping that she might have written something down.” I explained.
“Well, she probably did. Might be she even left the proper papers. What is the name?” Linda asked.
“Maria Elena Sanchez.” Maria said.
“That name sounds familiar. Come in, and I will have a look.” Linda said.

We followed Linda into a dirty looking kitchen. She plunked herself down on a chair, took an oxygen mask and placed it over her mouth, and fed herself some oxygen.

“Emphysema,” Linda said, “Didn't quit smoking in time, so it has got most of my lungs. Guess it will kill me, if the diabetes don’t do it first.”

I took a look at Linda. She wore an old pair of oversized plastic framed glasses with lenses that looked pretty darned thick. The edges of the lenses where they went into the frame at the nose side were all dark and dirty with encrusted crud, and the lenses at the temple side pressed into the fat jowls of Linda’s cheeks. This was one lady who had really let herself go.

After taking a few puffs of oxygen, Linda stood up, lit up another smoke, and went into the other room. From the dirt in the kitchen, I didn't even want to see any more of the house. It took about half an hour, but when Linda came back she had a rolled up document in her hand.

“What’s your birth date Maria?” Linda asked.
“November 16, 1986 is the date my mom told me I was born.” Maria answered.
“Well, you are in luck. Here is the certificate that my mom filled out at the time of your birth.” Linda said as a coughing fit overtook her.

She wheezed and wheezed her way over to the chair she had sat in before, and stabbing out the cigarette that she had in her hand she again took the oxygen mask, and placed it over her face. Just then the door opened, and the fattest young girl I had ever seen waddled into the room. Compared to this girl, Linda was slim. From the glasses, which looked to be thicker than Maria’s, I assumed that this one was Melanie, and I could see what Ms. Walker had meant. Without a word to anyone she waddled over to the refrigerator, took out a vial, and a needle, and shot herself in the arm with what I surmised was a dose of insulin. After putting everything back she headed for the back bedroom. Before she reached the door to the room the kitchen door opened and another girl walked in. This girl was almost as skinny as her sister was fat. I looked at her face, and checked out the glasses she was wearing. This had to be Cheryl, as the lenses of her glasses were the same type of myodiscs that Ms. Walker wore.

“Hi. I’m Cheryl. Are you friends of my moms?” Cheryl said.
“No, my friend Maria here had to get her birth registration from your grandmother’s things. Your mom found it for us. My name is Danny.” I said.
Cheryl walked over to her mom, and gave her a hug. Linda took her mask away and said, “ Hi Honey, how was school today?”
“Fine mom. Can I go over to Ms. Watson’s, She said if I came over after school she would help me with my schoolwork.” Cheryl asked.
“Sure, run along.” Linda said.

After Cheryl left Linda told us that Melanie was in very poor health, and it was going to be a toss up as to which one of them passed on first. Of course we expressed our sorrow, but I was mostly interested in what would happen to Cheryl if Linda died. So Linda informed us that Ms. Watson had taken a liking to Cheryl and was going to look after her, since there was no one else to do so. Finally Maria and I could take it no longer. We had to leave that filthy house, so we thanked Linda, and left.

It was then too late in the afternoon to go to the registry office to take care of registering Maria’s birth. So, bright and early the next morning we headed downtown. Of course bureaucracy works infinitesimally slow, and by the time we found that they would not take a 19-year-old document to register a live birth anymore, it was almost noon. I could see the tears behind the strong lenses of Maria’s glasses as we walked out into the sunshine.

“It’s not that bad honey. All we have to do is get Ms. Walker to swear that she has known you from the time you were a baby.” I said.
“But she only knew me from the time I went to school. We need someone else. And, what is this form that we have to have filled out at the Department of Homeland Security?” Maria asked.
“Well, since you were deported, and you shouldn't have been, we have to get that corrected. So let’s go there now.” I replied.

So we set off for the government buildings. We did finally find a place to park, and we found the reception desk. After we had gone through the metal detectors, we went to the second floor, and explained our problem to another receptionist. We waited for what seemed to be an eternity, and finally we were led back to an office. I looked at the nameplate on the desk, and my mind began to race. The nameplate said “Peter Lo”, and the gentleman behind the desk was a kindly looking man of mostly Chinese heritage. Before we asked anything else I whispered in Maria’s ear to find the business card that she had from the beat cop that assisted at her birth. She got it out, and I took it from her fingers and passed it to the gentleman.

“Was this once your business card sir?” I asked.
He studied the card. “ Why, yes, it was. Why do you have it young lady?” Mr. Lo asked.
“We have been searching for you for 2 days now. By some stroke of good fortune we have landed at your feet. You were present at Maria’s birth and you gave her family your card. Maria’s birth was never registered, and she was deported to Mexico with her family when she was 10. But, since she had no proof that she was born in the US, she is now a person without a country. We have found her completed unfiled original birth registration, but the department of records wants more proof that Maria is who she says she is. And apparently we have to get clearance from your department as well.” I said.
“I remember that night. I was walking the beat, and when I heard the screams I thought I was heading for the middle of a domestic violence dispute. Imagine my surprise when I ended up assisting in a breech birth.” Peter Lo said.
“So you are the right man?” Maria asked.
“Yes, I am. You have turned into a beautiful young lady. Do you have the birth registration papers with you?” Peter Lo asked.
“Yes, they are here,” I said, and I handed them to him.

He turned them over and looked at some smudges on the back. Then he picked up the telephone on his desk and asked for a fingerprint expert. A few minutes later a girl entered the office and asked to take Maria’s fingerprints. Mr. Lo handed the girl the birth certificate, and asked her to compare the smudges on the paper with Maria’s fingerprints.

“Those were Maria’s fingerprints the night she was born. I used an inkpad, and I pressed the fingers of the baby’s right hand into the ink, and onto the registration. If Maria is who she says she is we will be able to get her birth registered by tomorrow, without any further ado.” Inspector Lo said.
“I am who I say I am, and now I will be able to prove I am an American.” Maria said.

A few minutes later the young girl was back. She handed Inspector Lo back Maria’s registration certificate, and Inspector Lo placed a piece of paper into the old fashioned typewriter that was on his side desk. He typed for a few minutes, and when he finished he removed the paper from his machine, and signed, and sealed it.

“Take this to the registration department tomorrow, and you should have no further problems. It must have been divine guidance that led you to this office.” Inspector Lo said.

We thanked him, and we left the building. Maria wanted to go by and speak with Ms. Watson, to tell her of our good luck, so we went to Ms. Watson’s house. When we knocked on the door Cheryl answered, and led us to the kitchen, where she had been doing her homework. Ms. Watson was sitting in the other room, drinking a cup of tea, so we went in to tell her about our good fortune. Cheryl followed us into the room.

“I am amazed. Before I met Maria, I had never met anyone who wore really strong glasses. Since I met her, it seems that a lot of the people I meet wear strong glasses. How strong is your prescription Cheryl?” I asked.
“I am around –23D in both eyes.” Cheryl mumbled, as if she were ashamed of that.
‘So, you are a little worse than Maria’s –17D. How strong are your sister’s glasses?” I asked.
“I think she has around –18D. I know her eyes are twice as bad as moms are, and mom has been –9D forever.” Cheryl replied.
“And just so you know young man, I am –27D in both eyes. Why are you so interested?” Ms. Watson spoke up.
“Well, I have always liked ladies who wear glasses, and myodiscs are very unusual, so I was just curious, that’s all.” I replied.
“Well, I am surprised that Maria doesn’t wear myodiscs yet. She was always reading, with her thick glasses stuck into a book when she was a child. But then again, I don’t think I wore myodiscs until I was in my late 20’s either.” Ms. Watson replied.
“Well, I like the way Maria looks in the glasses she presently is wearing so I really don’t mind if she never has to wear myodiscs. Of course, if she did have to wear them, I would get used to her looks wearing them, and that would be all right too.” I told Ms. Watson.
“Good answer son. You might just have found a decent one Maria. How did you manage to find him?” Ms Watson replied with a chuckle in her voice.
“He found me all alone in the desert in the dark of night, with the coyote’s howling all around me. My glasses were broken, and I couldn’t see a thing when Danny located me.” Maria said.

Of course Ms Watson and Cheryl had to hear all the rest of the details, so Maria told them the whole story, including our luck in finding Peter Lo. Once the story was finished, Maria and I were about to leave, but before we could get going Cheryl asked if we could give her a ride home, so we did. Cheryl had her bicycle, which I was able to put in the back of the pickup.

“Thank you very much Danny. I have a hard time riding my bike at night, because my eyesight is so bad.” Cheryl said when we dropped her off at home.

“If I hadn’t had the pickup, how would you have gotten your bike home?” I asked.
“Oh, I would have done what I usually do. I would have walked it home. But this is way better. Thanks again.” Cheryl said.

After we started on our way towards our apartment Maria said, “ I feel so sorry for Cheryl Danny. She is such a nice little girl. It is not good that she has such bad eyesight at her age.”
“Well, there is nothing we can do about that Maria. She is just lucky that she has Ms. Watson for a friend. I can see what Ms. Watson meant about her sister possibly dying before her mom. They are both really unhealthy.” I replied.

It took a few days before we were able to get Maria’s birth certificate. During that time we spent a lot of time with Ms. Watson. Cheryl was there a lot of the time as well, and on the Saturday before Maria and I were going back to Phoenix, I took Maria and Cheryl to Disneyland. They both loved it, although Maria remembered having been there with her parents and her brothers as a young girl.

Maria was very sorry to be leaving Ms. Watson and Cheryl behind, but she had agreed to come back to Phoenix, and marry me, so we went back. Once we returned to Phoenix we went back to the mall and had John do another check up on Maria’s eyes.

“I don’t know how this could be. I know that this prescription that Maria is wearing is stronger than what her eyes tested at the last time, but now I am finding that Maria could use an even stronger prescription. Her prescription now is almost exactly the same as the previous prescription that the lady who gave you the glasses that Maria is wearing now had before she got her newest glasses. I wonder if Liz would agree to donate another pair of her old glasses?” John asked.
“Well, all we can do is ask her.” I said.
“Maybe I will do that. I have spoken to Liz a few times recently, and she seems very receptive towards me. This would be another good excuse for me to chat with her.” John spoke, with a silly little grin on his face.

So, John spoke to Liz, and Liz was more than willing to donate another pair of her glasses to Maria. Maria was a little surprised at how much better she could see again, but she was very thankful. John did start seeing Liz, and Maria and I went out with them a couple of times. The first time we went to supper Maria and I insisted on treating them, and they accepted.

After we married and had spent a couple of months of living in Phoenix, I realized that Maria wasn’t very happy. Ms. Watson had suggested that we could move in to her house, and live with her, so I finally suggested to Maria that I would be agreeable to doing this. Maria was quite excited about the prospect, so I ended up giving my boss my notice. John and Liz and Maria and I went out for dinner again, and John gave us the good news that he and Liz were going to marry. This was going to mean a trip back to town for the wedding, as Liz wanted Maria to be a bridesmaid.

We hadn't been back in Los Angeles for much over a month when Cheryl’s sister Melanie died suddenly in her sleep. I was asked by Cheryl to be a pallbearer for her sister’s funeral, and when I looked at her eyes through the strong myodisc lenses at the tears that were welling up in them, I couldn't refuse her request. That casket was darned heavy. After her sister’s funeral, we didn't see Cheryl over at Mrs. Watson’s house for a few days. Finally Mrs. Watson realized that Cheryl was likely taking care of Linda, so she dispatched Maria and I to see if we could help Cheryl in any way.

Cheryl let us in, and we were surprised that the house appeared a lot cleaner than it had before. When I mentioned this to Cheryl, she confirmed my suspicion that she was the one who had been doing the cleaning. Linda was in bed, and had been there since the day of Melanie’s funeral. Since Maria was not working yet, we decided that Maria would come over and look after Linda during the day, so that Cheryl could get back to her schooling.

It was only a month later when Linda passed away. Again I was a pallbearer at a sparsely attended funeral. I didn't really like doing this, but it meant a lot to Cheryl. Cheryl and Maria had formed a special bond, and I liked Cheryl very much myself.

So, now there were 4 of us living at Ms. Watson’s house, and I was in strong glasses heaven. I was earning a good wage as a mechanic in a new car dealership. Ms. Watson had a decent pension coming in from her years as a teacher. Cheryl had sold Linda’s house for a nice sum of money, so she was fairly well set should she decide to go to university. And Maria had gotten a job in a clothing store in a nearby mall. Everything was going very well for us, and we were all very happy that my little stint with the minutemen had led to this.

June 2006

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