“Jocquetta, you don’t have to do this; it’s ok,” says Dr. Bridgestone. “I know, but I feel I need to go and speak at the conference because I’ve spent so much time talking to the blind and learning about what it’s like being blind, and now I’m blind, so how can I not step up and beat this challenge.”
“Ok, but Jocko will stay with you all the time.” “I don’t thank so,” says Jocquetta. “I don’t think I need him in the bathroom with me.” She laughs. “Ha Ha, very funny, Jocquetta.” Says Dr. Bridgestone. “I’m impressed with how you’re handling everything.”
“Thanks, Dr. Bridgestone, me too.” “You can call me Carol Jocquetta.” “Ok, Carol, should we get going? I’m getting hungry?” “Sure, son, can you get all of Jocquetta’s things and bring them down to the car?” “Sure, mom.” During the ride, Jocquetta is thinking about what she will say because she can’t read the speech she wrote.
So she’s thinking I can’t get emotional when talking about becoming blind. I need to be strong, showing those who can see that being blind is just a part of life for some until I discover the cure. I know I’m so close; I need to figure out my missing function.
Everything works unless you are in an inferior lighted area. What could it be? For sure, I’m close; I know it. Now that I can’t see, I have to figure this out. I can’t go on being blind forever. What if I am blind forever? I don’t know if I can continue my work. Wait, I am blind, so I better figure it out.
I’m so glad Jocko is with me. The only thing he is too damn perfect is why I keep looking for something terrible it’s weird; he is so much like the man I always imagined I would be with; maybe he is the one he is caring, loving, cute, thoughtful.
I like Carol a lot too, not just as a teacher, but what if she becomes my mother-in-law? The whole family is what I dream my life will be like. We are getting close to the convention. I hope everyone is there.
I can’t get emotional when talking about being blind. So again, keep it together; there will be so many people looking at me; wait, it does not matter because I can’t see. It’s weird for some people; public speaking freaks them out, but I’m freaking out because I won’t be able to see how they’re reacting to my speech.
Maybe I can tell by the crowd noise; wait, if they’re quiet, perhaps they’re listening; well, I’m overthinking it. So I need to go with my instincts. Like it’s the last down, 10 seconds left, and we have to get a touchdown.
“Jocquetta, what are you thinking?” say’s Jocko. “Um, not sure I just don’t what to let my emotions get the best of me when I talk about becoming blind on the flight here.”
“I get it, J, but it will be great; just tell me how I can help?” “Be my eyes, and please have patience with me. I’m getting a minor freak out because now that I can’t see, it scares me to think that I may not be able to cure blindness.”
“I get it self doubt can get to all of us, J. My coach used to say if you want a great hotdog, you better have mustard, and if you’re going to when a game, you guys better walk out there believing you’re going to win the game. Because without the other, you have already lost the game; it’s all in your minds.”
It was a beautiful day in Paris there were people everywhere. Since all the vehicles travel underground, the air is so crisp and clear you can see for miles, plus there are so many green trees, flowers, and walking areas it’s like you are in a green space.
Jocquetta speaks; first, she was not on the list of the guest who would be speaking, but when they found out she was a guest of Dr. Bridgetone, they asked if she could open the convention up with a short speech.
So they went to this quiet cafe close by; it was small, and the smells were incredible Jocquetta noticed that even though it had been one day since she became blind, all her other senses had come alive. Noise seems to be enhanced the most. Walking blind made her feel afraid because she knew there was probably something in front of her as she was walking, and she did not want to get hurt or look stupid.
Everyone ordered food and drinks; the conversation was mostly about what they would do after the convention, should they fly back home or spend time in Paris.
After eating, they walked to the convention early, making Jocquetta feel a little better because walking blind is not easy as she found out. But she was still nervous. Everyone thinks she is confident in everything she does, but she has self-doubt all the time.
When they got to the event, the lines for the visitors were long. Finally, they all got to their seats when a young woman walked over and said, “Your Jocquetta, right?” “Yes” “Hello, I’m Lorna, your personal seeing assistant.”
“Hi Lorna, wow, don’t I feel special.” “You are special, Jocquetta. Did you know that we only had the convention filled to 20 percent? Then it was announced that you were coming and going to speak. We are sold out, and people are out front hawking their tickets for big money; it’s like we have a rock star in the house.”
“No way; oh my gosh, now I’m freaking out.” Then Jocquetta felt a hand on her shoulder. Jocko whispered so he would not startle her, “You got this, J, there’s no challenge you can’t handle. I will go up there with you if you need me to.”
“Thanks, Jocko, but I’m good. I have my new friend Lorna to help me, right Lorna?” “We got this, Jocko; she’s in good hands.”
Lorna and Jocquetta walked up to the front of the auditorium. Jocquetta could hear people say her name; one woman got so excited that security had to stop her. Jocquetta could tell something happened when they got to the front, but Lorna told her it was a lady who fell but was ok security was helping her.
She walked to the podium, holding Lorna’s hand. Lorna grabbed the mic, handed it to her, and then walked off the stage.
When Jocquetta went to speak, she walked into the mic stand knocking it to the ground, dropped the mic, and started to feel like she would have a panic attack when she heard, “I got you, J. Stay right there. I will remove the mic stand, then face you towards the crowd.”
“Jocko, how did you get up here so fast?” “When I saw the security tackle that crazy lady getting ready to give you the biggest hug ever or something crazy, I ran down here. I’m not leaving your side ever. I was freaky out. I was not here to protect you.”
“Ah, your so sweet, Jocko; that’s right, you better not some crazy lady hurt me.”
By Michael Vance Pemberton
I woke up one day and decided to learn to write. I pray and hope I’m getting better.
Chapter four comes out on May 22 2022.
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