Read Online Books/Novels:
Love and First Sight
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
0316305359 (ISBN13: 9780316305358)
Love is more than meets the eye.
On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?
As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?
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Vice Principal Larry Johnston extends his hand.
To clarify: I don’t see this. I hear the swish of his shirtsleeve.
“Nice to meet you, William.”
The fabric sound plays again—the hand retracting.
“I’m sorry, I guess you can’t do that now, can you? You probably want to feel my face?”
He grabs my arm and smacks my palm against his cheek, knocking me off balance so I have to step into the musk of his aftershave.
“Where do you normally start? Eyes? Nose? Mouth?”
He shifts my fingers across the front of his face with each suggestion. His skin is rough and pockmarked, like the outside of an orange.
“No, actually, I don’t do that,” I say, pulling my hand away. “I identify people based on their voices.”
“And… also…” I add. I can’t resist.
“Yes?” he asks, all eager to please.
“Well, I don’t usually touch faces, but I am gifted with a heightened sense of smell that allows me to recognize a person’s pheromones, which are concentrated just below the ear, so if you wouldn’t mind…?”
I touch my pointer finger to my nose.
His excitement drops. “Oh… you want to… smell… my ear?”
“Pheromones are like faces to me. Only if it’s not too much trouble, sir.”
“Oh, no, no trouble at all. I just… No trouble, certainly I would like to accommodate you.”
He steps close enough that I can feel the heat of his body, which is a signal that (a) he is falling for it—sighted people always do, the suckers—and (b) I’ve taken the joke far enough. I don’t actually want my nose anywhere near his old-guy earwax, after all.
“Mr. Johnston, I’m kidding.” I hold a hand up to stop him. It sinks deep into fat rolls, presumably around his midsection. I hope. “A joke, sir. I don’t want to smell your ear.”
When I pull my hand away, I wonder if it leaves a visible handprint or even fingerprints in his squishy flesh. I’ve heard that happens when you press an open palm against a soft surface like sand, dough, or wet paint.
“Oh, right, yes.” He lets out a forced chuckle that sounds like a wheezy smoker’s cough. “A joke. Yes. Very funny.”
Mr. Johnston’s voice is deep and grizzly. If you listen carefully, you learn that a particular set of vocal cords produces audio vibrations unlike any other in the world. Voices are the fingerprints of sound.
“Shall we head to your first class?” he asks.
He grabs my arm from behind and starts to push me out of the front office. I’m sure he thinks it’s helpful to lead me like that, but I instinctively swap our positions so I am holding his arm instead.
“I’d prefer we walk like this,” I say. Now I’m in control. I can let go at any time.
“Yes, all right, that’s fine,” he says.
I’ve spent most of my sixteen years around other blind and visually impaired people, so this is the first time I’ve actually had to execute a Hines Break in real life. Fortunately, Mrs. Chin made me practice so many times I could do it automatically with Mr. Johnston. The main purpose of this little arm reversal is that it puts me in charge. To put it in dating terms, I can now be the dumper rather than the dumpee.
I’ve heard the horror stories: Blind people standing on street corners waiting for a crosswalk light to change, only to have a well-meaning but annoying stranger come up from behind, grab their arm, and say (overly loud, of course, because they always assume we are all deaf, too) “LET ME HELP YOU!” and shove them across a street they were not intending to cross. And then the stranger lets go and disappears into the void (“YOU’RE WELCOME!”), leaving the blind person stranded on an unknown street corner.
I feel the floor change from the carpet of Mr. Johnston’s office to the hard tile of the hallway as I follow him through the doorway.
“Can we start at the front door?” I ask. “That’s where I’ll be coming in each morning, I assume.”
“Isn’t that where you came in today?” he asks.
“Yes, but my mom took me from there to your office.”
“Well, then, simply imagine that instead of turning into the office, you walked in this direction toward the stairwell, and you’ll be on your way to first period.”
He starts to walk, presumably toward said stairwell. But I stand still, gripping his arm tightly so he is forced to stop. (Behold the mighty power of the Hines Break!)
“It doesn’t work like that. I can’t…” I drift off.
I hate sentences that start with “I can’t.”
But as it happens, I was born completely blind, so one thing I truly can’t do is imagine an overhead map and then make up different routes or shortcuts. I can walk from A to B, yes, but only if I memorize a list of actions: How many steps to take and when to turn and then how many more steps to take before I’m there. I can sniff odors like a bloodhound and echolocate sounds like a bat, but it is simply impossible for me to infer a new route using my imagination.