Everyone falls. Everyone daydreams and falls into states of preoccupation, falls into the arms of another person, falls to the ground. Can you remember the last time you fell to the ground? I know it happens, but how often? Is it a story you tell about that one time you fell and were so fucking embarrassed? Or maybe you cried? Did you hurt yourself? Were you drunk? There is no judgement here. I have fallen and been embarrassed and cried and hurt myself, and yes, I have been falling down drunk. But, the falls that shake me the most, are the falls that can only be blamed on RP.
The last time I fell to the ground was 2 days ago. I wasn’t spaced out or preoccupied. I wasn’t in a new environment. I was dropped off in my usual spot, ready to navigate a curb I have encountered a thousand times. I thought I had mastered the terrain, but it must have been luck all along, because the curb came out of nowhere and sent me to the pavement. I don’t fall in slow motion. When I fall, it is an explosive second of pure noise that gives me no opportunity to think. It’s a sucker punch, a kick in the gut. Everything solid becomes weightless, and just as quickly, that breath of weightlessness becomes a slab of concrete waiting to crunch my bones.
When I hit the ground, I pause and always have the same thought, “not again, not fucking again”. I quickly check for points of pain or injury and then prepare myself for the kindness of strangers. Witnesses to the fall ask if I am ok, which I genuinely appreciate, and I ensure them that I am, sometimes making a joke about being clumsy, but all I want to do is get up and run away. I want to run away from the culprit, from the scene of the crime, from RP. I want it to be true that I am just clumsy rather than going blind.
This most recent fall was outside a hospital; a good place to fall I suppose, in case I really got hurt. I fell hard, but unlike Hollywood, the ground was smooth, so I didn’t come away with scraped hands and knees. I felt a bit banged up , but nothing catastrophic. A kind man helped me up, admiring my tattoos as he grabbed onto my wrist, and after thanking him profusely for his kindness, I walked away from the scene as quickly as possible, thanking a few other people who had come to make sure I was ok. I think it was the fall heard round the fucking world.
I found a quiet bench, sat down and inevitably, started to cry. I don’t cry because of the pain. I cry because of the reminder that I am different, broken, flawed. I cry because I am still trying to pretend that I am normally sighted, and every fall is like being shaken into a realm of existence that I don’t want to be in. I cry because Zelda (my cane) is in my bag and I know I wouldn’t have fallen if I had been using her. But, I am stubborn, or perhaps foolish.
I don’t want RP. I don’t want this disease that makes everything I do harder. I don’t want to have to use the cane. I am not ready to give up the fantasy of sight. I need to keep pretending, for just a little while longer.