Before I stopped seeing, I started dreaming a lot more. The dreams, if they can be called that, gradually increased in frequency and intensity. The whimsical visions of my dreams spilled over into my waking life, the line between the two states smudged. In the unravelling, I discovered a senseless, feral urge to read.
Books multiplied on the shelves overnight, in the dark, while I was asleep. I wandered into used bookstores and rifled through the pages with a hunger for ink. I pored over the manuscripts in my office, the paper rustling under my fingers. Boxes filled with paperbacks arrived at my doorstep. I cracked open their spines. Words crept under my front door, slid over the carpets, climbed into my bed. I read passages out loud, swirling the syllables around my mouth like sips of white wine, relishing their taste on my tongue.
I didn’t look for meaning in the metaphors and motifs. Blindness as punishment– for offences against the gods, as with Erymanthos who saw Aphrodite bathing. Blindness as reward– to the master miniaturists of the Ottoman Empire for a lifetime of devotion to their arts. Neither fit.
I began to prepare myself. I put a blindfold on, wandered around the living room with my arms wide open, memorizing the spread of furniture. I counted the steps from my bed to the front door. I draped all the mirrors. I strained my ears and listened to the silence coming alive, the murmurs taking shapes of their own. Vulnerability lodged itself in the pit of my stomach, tightening and squeezing. I blinked hesitantly, stared at everything a little longer.
I welcomed the dreams, dark and dishevelled but full to the brim with activity, with colour. When I went to sleep, I could see. When I woke up, I opened my eyes. And I opened my eyes. And I opened.
Ikjot Kaur is an Indian student, amateur poet and unpaid jasmine tea brand ambassador. Her work is upcoming in perhappened mag. When she’s not busy googling why Catherine of Aragon is so underrated, she is musing about words and languages on https://offshoots.substack.com/.
This is her first feature on The Fictional Café.