One summer day in 2053 Heidi is seen lying on her hospital bed; after more than 27 years of visual impairment she is now looking forward to a new beginning. On removing a metallic strip that covered her eyes for a week after surgery, Heidi notices she can see blurry lines and colours – mostly shades of white and grey. She was thrilled and could hardly contain her excitement.

A few days later Heidi was gifted her vision back. She was eager to leave to hospital and venture out to rediscover the world. As a teenager Heidi spent her summers at her local and vibrant coffee shop. The hospital was a gloomy place for her not only because of its symmetry and monochromatic tones of beiges and whites but also because it was void of everything she was visually familiar with.

She stepped out of the building with her sister Sadie. It was a bittersweet moment she would remember for the rest of her life. After more than 25 years she saw light; but everything looked generic, similar to computer games she played as a child. She decided to visit her favourite coffee shop, the one she frequented as a young girl.

After a 5 minute drive her sister pointed out to the place. Heidi stared in the direction she was being pointed to but could not recognise a thing. The last time she had seen the shop was a day before she had lost her sight; it was a moment that had become a memory.

The wooden doors were polished and lacy curtains decorated the windows. Pretty little cosmos flowers adorned the entrance of the shop and added beauty to the old stools and tables that may have been around for over a century. The interior had wooden floor boards and panelling which helped balance the light that poured through shop’s glass roof.

Heidi remembered Mrs. Wallace at the counter by the register. It was an old machine handed to her by her grandfather. She was proud of her treasure and boasted of it more than she did about her delicious baked goods. The carving on the machine and the old school typewriter like buttons made the register a treat to the eyes.

The vibrant place with centuries of history to it was now a bland structure filled with cubicles. The register was gone and the flowers were now replaced with white neon lighting. She could not help notice the lack of a human presence; all that there was now were screens at every table which greeted and charged patrons. The happiness that filled the room was now replaced with a dead silence punctuated by hushed whispers.

Heidi’s heart sank as thoughts began to creep into her mind. What was the use of regaining her sight if it only allowed her to witness the emptiness formed in the world. It would have been better to have remained blind with mental images of what the world might be like.      

This post is part of Flash Fiction and Painting with Words.

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