Our daughter’s first English word was glasses. I wear disposable lenses, and I’d brought a new pair of contacts with me to put in once we reached Ethiopia, but had kept my old pair in for the flight. I figured it would be good to start fresh. And then Zinashi was with us before I remembered to change, and I was worried that she would find it strange that the new mom-lady was suddenly wearing glasses, so I made a big deal of explaining that I was wearing glasses like Ababi was wearing glasses and blah, blah, blah (I’m sure that’s what she heard), suddenly she looked at me and whispered, glasses. Small and sweet and perfect, before she had her full voice and volume. When I put in the contacts later that day, she seemed curious about where my glasses went. I had no idea how to explain contacts in Amharic, so I just pointed to my bag, where I had indeed stowed the glasses.
After that day, I didn’t wear my glasses again. I can sleep in my contacts just fine, so I do, and it’s just much easier that way. I wore that same pair of lenses the whole time we were in Ethiopia (aside from that first day), and when I got home, I didn’t think to take them out right away, even though a month had passed. Pretty soon I developed a strange attachment to them. These were the lenses through which I saw Ethiopia, through which I looked at my daughter as she got comfortable with us, through which I saw our homecoming and so many of Zinashi’s firsts. I know it’s odd, and that these lenses are not my eyes, and that it’s a little bit yucky to leave them in so long, but…I just couldn’t remove them. Tonight I finally cried uncle when they were all dried out and cloudy, and my eyes were starting to itch. I’m wearing my glasses, the same glasses that prompted our daughter’s first English word, and so I guess that’s all right. She’ll see me in them in the morning, before I slip in the fresh contacts I’ve got waiting for me, and be excited.
Now, if I can just bring myself to throw away the old lenses. I’m pretty sure it would be creepy to keep them, wouldn’t it?
I mean, wouldn’t it?
Somebody better say yes, or I’ll end up squirreling them away in a tiny jewel box or something.
(Gross, Mary. GROSS.)