It was a hot and humid day. I had the day off and neither of us felt like doing much of anything except for lounging around. Rosemary, however, kept things lively and entertaining like she usually did. Never was there a dull moment when she was around.
I was so absorbed in my book that I never noticed that Rosemary had shut herself in the closet in the first place till the pounding began, along with the cries for help.
I tossed my book aside, jumped up from the couch and quickly ran down to the storage closet the banging and cries were coming from. “Hang on, hang on!” I shouted. Concern made my long legs carry me to the other end of the room in seconds. I tugged at the door, but it wouldn’t open. Rosemary continued to cry out in panic. “Relax, sweetheart. I’ll get the door open.” After a few more tugs, I managed to pry it open.
A hyperventilating Rosemary spilled forth from the closet.
“What in the world happened?” I asked with furrowed brows. “How did you get stuck in there?”
“I went… I went…,” Rosemary said, gathering in fresh breaths of air, “in there to see if the plastic butterfly I got from the cereal box this morning really does glow.”
I stared at her incredulously for a moment, then I burst out laughing.
“The air was so stale in there I thought I’d suffocate.”
“It’s a good thing I was here to rescue you then.”
“A very good thing,” agreed Rosemary as we headed back towards the “living room.”
Shaking my head, I said, “You get into the strangest predicaments.”
The next series of shrieks to erupt came from the bathroom a few hours later. Again I threw down my book and ran towards the peels of panic. I banged on the door. The door opened immediately.
“What’s going on?” I asked quickly.
From what I could make out from my vantage point, Rosemary had accidentally sprayed herself in the eye with perfume. I had her rinse the eye, then I came out of the bathroom shaking my head, although I could see that I was amused at the same time. “You and your catastrophes, girl!” I called back. “Maybe you need to sit in one spot longer than five minutes since you’re so accident prone. You might be safer that way.”
Rosemary’s final surprise came about an hour later after she’d been sitting at the table drawing. “Looks authentic to me,” she said after a while, pulling back to look at something she’d drawn on an envelope.
“Yeah?” I said, placing my book down beside me. “You decorating envelopes?”
“Oh, I’m decorating them, alright. With stamps.”
I gasped in shock when Rosemary handed me the envelope. “You drew on a stamp?”
Rosemary nodded proudly. “We were out so I thought I’d just draw one on.”
I gave a slight chuckle and said, “This is wonderful work, Rosemary, but you can’t just mail these out like this.”
“Why not? It’ll go through.”
“Maybe so, but this is a major felony offense here. You can’t be doing things like this, ok? You need to behave. You’re not alone anymore. The consequences of your actions reflect on me just like mine reflect on you.”
“Ok,” said Rosemary.
“You get where I’m coming from?” I asked with a smile.
I bent over to kiss her. “Is this the only one?” I asked when I stood back upright.
“Yes. You can confiscate it now, officer.”
I laughed. “Yes, I think I better do that.”
Later on that day, Melanie stopped by for a visit. I was quick to tell her about our adventurous day and to show her Rosemary’s mischievous talent. She laughed heartily.
Later, Rosemary decided to go for a walk. “I’m going by the mailbox. Want me to mail these bills out you got on the desk here?”
“If they possess real stamps I do.”
Melanie and I laughed.
It was after Melanie left and Rosemary had returned from her walk and was in the shower that the bad news came. I knew the call was from the eye doctor Rosemary had seen because I recognized the name I addressed the caller by as being that particular doctor.
I listened for a few moments, dismay steadily taking over my features. “So there’s nothing that can be done?”
I sat down hard in the chair by the desk. It was as if the energy had been sapped right out of me.
“Nothing at all? There’s no cure?”
I leaned on the armrest and rubbed the bridge of my nose with my thumb and forefinger.
“What’s this thing called again?”
I pulled my hand away. It was trembling.
“How long will it take?”
My eyes watered over.
“Seven to eight months? Oh God, this is just terrible… Well, she’s definitely not going to be happy about it, that’s for sure… Are you sure there are no treatments available?”
I glanced towards the closed bathroom door.
“So all she can do is just go with the flow?”
I ran a hand through my hair.
“Do you think there’ll ever be any treatments or procedures to correct this?”
I hung up just as Rosemary came out of the bathroom. She wore the same dress she had on the day we were reunited. Her damp hair clung to her arms and back. One look at me told her something was up.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
I rose from my chair. It seemed to take a tremendous effort to do so. “Well,” I said reluctantly, “let’s have a seat on the couch and I’ll tell you about it.”
Eyeing me with curiosity, Rosemary took a seat next to me on the couch.
I gently took her hands in mine and said, “That was the eye doctor.”
I sighed heavily. “And the news is not good.”
“I have to wear glasses?” Rosemary asked.
I shook my head dubiously. “I wish it were that simple, Angel Eyes.”
“Then what is it?”
I hesitated, trying to remain calm.
“Just come out with it, Katie,” Rosemary said, alarm now evident in her voice.
I took a deep breath and got right to the point. “It’s macular degenerate disease. You’re going blind, sweetie.”
Rosemary simply stared at me, stunned by the news while the tears that had been threatening to spill forth from my eyes finally did. I wiped them away.
Rosemary began to tremble. She shook her head violently from side to side. “N-no. No, no, no. NO!”
She burst into tears and I attempted to pull her close to me yet she pushed me away. “Rosemary, please don’t push me away,” I said beseechingly.
“No, this can’t be true,” Rosemary said, again shaking her head adamantly. “There’s got to be some mistake.”
“I wish there was, sweetie. Please just listen to me and trust me when I tell you that life can still go on and…”
“It can?” Rosemary said incredulously. “How, Katie? What kind of a life could I possibly have?”
“The same life you have now, only without your eyesight.”
Rosemary’s eyes narrowed and she said, “You make it sound like it’s no big loss.”
“I’m not trying to make it sound that way, babe. I know it’s a big loss. I’m only trying to point out that your life doesn’t have to end with your eyesight.” My eyes pleaded for her understanding. “I know it’s going to take time to adapt, but you’re not even going to be completely blind. The doctor says you’ll be able to see bright light, and maybe traces of color, though no detail.”
“Gee, lucky me.”
I tried to gather Rosemary in my arms once again to comfort her, but she was inconsolable.
“There’s got to be some kind of surgical procedure I can have done.”
I shook my head. “If it was the lens, then yes, but because it’s the retina that’s affected, nothing can be done. I’m sorry, babe.”
Panic rose in Rosemary’s voice once again. “I can’t live my life like that, Katie! I won’t live my life like that. Too much of what I do depends on my eyesight.”
“Oh, come on, sweetie. You can learn other things and you can learn to improvise. Instead of reading as you normally do, you’ll read using Braille. You can still use the computer. You don’t need to see to type. The only thing you won’t be able to improvise on is images. Meanwhile, you can still think, you can hear, you can feel, you can taste and you can smell your wonderful incense.”
“No fucking way!” Rosemary screamed, tossing a throw pillow at me.
I caught the pillow and set it down gently. “Would you rather be dead?”
Rosemary glanced at me. “You know, as a matter of fact, I would. Yes, that sounds like a wonderful idea.” She looked upwards. “Perhaps I should go up there, no safety cable, and just let go once I get to the top. What do you think, Katie? Think I’d do more than break my arm from that high up? It’s more than twenty feet. Way more.”
My eyes narrowed at the words I was hearing. I knew only too well what Rosemary was capable of. “Then I’ll make sure you’re not left alone for one minute.”
Rosemary looked at me and rolled her eyes. “Relax, Katie. I may not look forward to living, but you don’t have to take me that literally.”
“Why not? Look what happened after that bitch at Valleyhead said you weren’t serious when she caught you getting ready to jump from that other room before you actually did. The one that was bigger with the bathroom connected to it.”
Rosemary continued to stare at me.
“Well, you certainly proved her wrong later on, didn’t you?” I continued, full of emotion. “I was there, Rosemary. I know everything that happened.”
Rosemary shifted from anger to desperation. As the desperation overtook her, she wept in my arms while I rocked her gently back and forth.
“The thought of never seeing your beautiful face again makes me depressed beyond words.”
“This face?” I said trying to lighten the mood. “Rosemary, this face isn’t going to stay this way forever. It’s going to age soon enough, so you won’t be missing much.”
“Instead you’ll get to see me age.”
“But you’re so beautiful that no amount of age could detract from that.” I kissed her tenderly. “You’ll always be my beautiful Angel Eyes.”
Rosemary sniffled. “How are we going to make love?”
I laughed. “Same way we always do. Besides, we do it in the dark most of the time anyway.”
“How long will it be before I’m blind?”
“About seven to eight months. Between now and then your vision will gradually fade.”
“There’s got to be a way out this,” Rosemary said, determination resurfacing once again. “I’ve got to put a spell on it somehow.”
“You can try,” I said softly, “though I wouldn’t count on any significant changes, sweetie. I know you cured most of your asthma and allergy problems, but blindness is a whole different thing.”
Suddenly, Rosemary gasped, eyes wide with fright.
“What is it, babe?”
“Oh, my God, the baby.”
“Yeah? What about it?”
“What about it? We better hope to hell no miracle took place and that I’m not pregnant!”
I smiled, taking hold of Rosemary’s hands once again. “Sweetie, if a miracle happens of whatever kind, then don’t you think it was meant to be?”
“No, not this. There’s no way I can or will try to raise a kid without sight.”
Rosemary’s frustration grew. “Katie, you ask the dumbest questions at times!”
“One doesn’t always need to see their kids, Rosemary. They don’t seem them when they’re in school, they don’t see them when they’re…”
“But they need to see them when they’re alone with them and are about to get into something that could hurt them.”
“So we make sure there’s nothing around they can hurt themselves with until they’re old enough to know better.”
“It wouldn’t be that easy.”
“Most things aren’t, but what’s done is done, and if part of what’s done is a baby, then so be it.”
Rosemary shook her head. “I couldn’t see to play games with the child, I couldn’t see any drawings it may do. Think about it. If it was in a school play, all I could do was sit and listen. If it was a girl and she wanted to show her mom the beautiful prom dress she made, well, obviously she’d be out of luck, wouldn’t she? The child would come to resent me in time.”
“No, it wouldn’t. Not if we both loved it enough. Besides, the child would have at least one sighted parent.”
“Still, God couldn’t possibly create a baby under these circumstances. It wouldn’t be right or fair.”
“He didn’t create a baby, we did. So let’s just deal with what we created.”
“No chance,” Rosemary insisted. “If I find out I’m pregnant, I’m getting an abortion. It has to be that rather than adoption. If we adopt it out I’ll always worry it’s being abused somewhere, but with an abortion, I wouldn’t have to worry about that.”
“There’ll be no abortion, Rosemary.”
“Yes, there will be!”
I shook my head firmly. “You’re not going to kill our child.”
“It’s not murder at this stage. Use your common sense. It’d be no different than killing plant cells. It has zero awareness whatsoever.”
“I have awareness, Rosemary. Now, you can have your way with most anything else, but not this. I can understand resorting to abortion in cases of rape or incest, but not in this case.”
“We can not raise a child! What do you not understand about that?” Rosemary sighed with frustration, then said, “I’ll compromise with you as far as having the child, but it has to go once it’s born. Do you understand?”
“No, I don’t,” I said. “If I suddenly went blind, how would you like it if I said I couldn’t have a wife because of it and started looking for ways to either have you killed or given away to someone else?”
“Oh, why are we even arguing about this shit anyway!” Rosemary cried, weary with frustration, fear and sorrow. “We’re not having a kid anyway. You know the odds. Besides, there’s a huge risk of me having a miscarriage anyway. You heard what they said.”
“Yes, I heard,” I said with a sigh. “So tomorrow we’ll pick up a home pregnancy test and see if we’re arguing over nothing or not.”
Rosemary sniffed loudly, then said, “You think I am, don’t you?”
“I’d be surprised if you weren’t. You’re sick, you’re tired, you haven’t had a period in God knows how long,” I said, rising from my seat.
“Maybe it’s the eye thing going on that’s doing it.”
“I doubt it, but we’ll find out.”
“I meant it, Katie. If there’s one on the way, it goes.”
“And I meant it, too. If there is, it was meant to be and we should take responsibility for what we started.”
“Is this meant to be?” Rosemary asked, pointing towards her eyes.
I sighed yet again. “I wish I had all the answers for you, babe, and maybe someday I will. For now, all we can do is take whatever life sends our way.”
“Easy for you to say. I mean, I don’t understand what happened here, Katie. I was actually doing pretty good there for a while. Now I’m going blind with the possibility of a kid to deal with on top of it all.”
I sat back down next Rosemary, took her hands in mine and focused my brown eyes on her green ones. “But there’s something you have now that you didn’t have before and that’s someone who loves you very, very much.”
Rosemary shook her head slowly. “You’re obsessed.”
“Yes, you truly love me, but you’re obsessed with me, too.”
I appeared thoughtful a moment, then said, “Well, perhaps I am, but either way, you’ll never have to go through any crisis in life alone.”
Rosemary shook her head sadly, tears once again streaming down her cheeks. “I want more than anything to be with you for the rest of my life, but I can’t. Not if you insist on keeping the kid if there is one. If you love me and you want me to be happy, then you’ll let me go.”
I blinked, surprised and hurt by what I was hearing. I was also a bit angered as well. “Hey, we made a promise to love each other no matter what till death do us part, and neither of us is anywhere near dead. I took my vows seriously and you said you did, too. Now a lot of people may believe the right thing to do is to let someone go who wants to go, but I believe it’s right to stick together and to hang onto the one you love. This means I will not let you go. Besides, don’t you think having a baby goes hand in hand with loving someone? That it’s so much a part of two people loving each other and being together?”
Rosemary shrugged. “I was never really sure it was what I wanted. All I know is that you wanted it and I loved you enough to want you to be happy and so I had the procedure done. I didn’t know I was going to go blind. But I do now, Katie, and so it has to be either me or the child if you’re going to insist on having it be born.”
My eyes narrowed. “Don’t you dare go giving me ultimatums like that.”
“I’m sorry, Katie.”
I rose to my feet. “I’m very sorry this is happening to you, but you are not going to kill our kid, give it away or throw me away because of it.” My voice rose as I continued. “You made your life with me and I made mine with you. Don’t even think for a minute I’m going to let you just throw that away, child or not, blind or not. I’m not some old garment you can just toss aside at will and neither is the child. We don’t throw in the towel just because we’re having a tough time!”
“This is a little more than a tough time,” Rosemary said, rising to her feet and slowly shuffling over to the bed.
“What?” Rosemary asked, turning to face me.
I snatched my keys from the desk. “Let’s go to the drugstore right now and get the test. The sooner you know if there is no baby, the sooner you can be all relieved about it, and the sooner you know if there is, the sooner you can start dealing with it.”
Rosemary hesitated a moment, then followed me to the door.
We returned about ten minutes later.
“Ok, the test takes about fifteen minutes, so just drink up till you feel you have to pee and let’s get it done and over with, ok?”
Rosemary nodded glumly, nerves so taut that it wasn’t until nearly an hour later that the test could be conducted. Once it was done, Rosemary plopped herself down on the bed, emotionally exhausted, to await the results.
Sorrow filled my eyes as I watched her. I strode over to her and sat beside her on the bed.
“I’m sorry I’m not all excited like we expected we both would be,” Rosemary said softly.
“It’s ok. You’ll come around in time.”
“Will you be the one to check the test when the time’s up? I can’t deal with anything else right now. All I want to do is sleep.”
I nodded before I rose to sit at the computer and wait. When it was time, I headed to the bathroom to check the results of the test. When I emerged from the bathroom, it was hard to tell by my expression what the results were.
“Did you check it?” Rosemary asked shakily.
“Yes, I checked it.”
“Is there a baby?”
“Yes, there’s a baby,” I said with a nod.
Rosemary immediately began to pray aloud for a miscarriage.
“Oh, come now, Rosemary. You know praying is a waste of time for you. You said so yourself.”
Rosemary continued to pray despite my words, hands clasped together.
I kept talking anyway. “You’re wasting your time so you may as well stop. You said it yourself about how God has our plans mapped out for us before we’re even born and that there’s no use in praying for changes in the inevitable. He’s made up his mind.”
Although softer, Rosemary’s pleas went on.
My fists clenched, though I continued on. “Do you want a daughter or a son?”
“Please, please, God…”
“A girl may be more expensive, but boys are more trouble. At least that’s what they say anyway. What do you think?”
I slid into bed next to Rosemary. Her eyes suddenly snapped open and she fell silent. She gazed at me a moment, then burst into tears before falling asleep in my arms. I cried myself to sleep too, though I knew my heart was just as full of joy as it was of sorrow.