Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Entry #53

Blind Ambition
by JaneyV


Kathleen stood in her leathers and biker boots cursing the heat of the Southern Californian sun. She’d left Dublin a week before determined to do this one thing. She needed this like she needed air in her lungs. Images of James Dean and Marlon Brando, wild and free on the open road, thrilled her private fantasies as she’d led a life of quiet duty and middle-class respectability. She’d hushed those foolish thoughts before they’d made a sound. They were locked down deep inside.

It was during a routine eye-test that she first heard the term macular degeneration, thrown into air as though it was a wee thing, an insignificance. But as the months went by and the darkness crowded in, Kathleen realised that she simply had no more time left to ignore her longings. A few key-taps into a search-engine brought her here, 5000 miles from where her dreams had been imprisoned.

“Ready Kitty?”

“Ready when you are Mutt.”

He led her gently by the arm to his enormous Harley and helped her on the back. As the engine roared to life she wrapped her arms around his waist and clamped her legs to his outer thighs. She felt 21 again. The thought made her giggle.

She’d made it. She was on the back of a Harley about to ride Route 66 the whole way from Santa Monica to Santa Fe. She was 65 and damn near blind.

But I’m breathing at last! I’m still alive!

17 comments:

wrath999 said...

Cool gentle story. Very well done.
alex

Scott said...

Way to keep on living, Kitty!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Ditching a hearing aid is one thing... but losing one's sight unvoluntarily is another. Sweet story.

J.C. Montgomery said...

Great story. Way to show that aging isn't dying.

BernardL said...

Well told tale.

sandra said...

Wow! This is wonderful.

kgilebrt said...

I love the living with fervor themes. Good story.

laughingwolf said...

poignant and pithy, love it :)

Sarah Hina said...

Janey, this is so uplifting, without a trace of self pity. I just love Kitty.

Sometimes a trauma can force us to embrace our wildest dreams. You really elucidated that in this story. And that last line was like air racing through her lungs. 65 feels young here.

Beautiful job!

Missy said...

Sarah says it perfectly. It made me smile. Great piece!

Vesper said...

As long as we’re alive we can dream and, hopefully, even fulfill some of these dreams. A nice optimistic piece.

Dottie said...

I come from a family where many of the women go blind in their 50s and 60s. Your narrartor acted much as my mother when her blindness really set in. Eerie how well you pegged the phenomena. Excellent work.

Ello said...

Awwwww, so very sweet without at all being melodramatic. Lovely work Janey! Kitty is a character I want to read more about! I think I love her!

JaneyV said...

Aaaw shucks y'all -thanks so much for all the nice words. Kitty was inspired by all the women of my mother's generation who were taught to ignore their dreams. They grew up in a time of poverty and repression where the 'self' was ignored. These women put their husbands and children first always - often to the detriment of their own happiness. But I noticed that quite a few got to retirement and suddenly seemed more alive than they ever had. One friend of my mother's first started to travel, then there was a hot-air balloon ride and then she rode route 66 on the back of a Harley. She was in her 70's. There's been talk of a parachute jump……

Kitty's everywhere deserve to be celebrated.

Thank you everyone! xxx

Aerin said...

You know, riding a bike isn't that big a dream....getting your hair cut and enduring ridicule from your small son...oh, wait, wrong blog....

Nicely told, Janey - I like the first comment - gentle, without in any way losing its power or being watered down. Such nice characterization.

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

That was so inspiring!

May she ride on :)

Beautiful piece!

jason evans said...

What a perfect dream to have in the circumstance, because so much of the experience of a motorcycle is its feel rather than what you see!