Writer - Karen Arbogast
Two hours until game time and it’s still in my right eye. Black spot shaped like a kidney bean. Appeared this morning when I woke up; now floating vitreously in my eye, whipping behind it a tail of white larvae-like rings.
Snap my eye all the way to the right and it’s gone. Snap it back to center and it reappears whipping its tail; slithering herky-jerky in its pool of jelly. I look in the mirror; search the surface of my eye. Nothing. Must be inside it, then.
Later today our family will head out for Crosley Field, in this, the summer of Johnny Temple and Jim O’Toole. Johnny, batting over .300 and Jim, exceeding all expectations as a Redleg. I should be singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame with my sister -- dreaming of peanuts and crackerjacks -- but instead I am scared to death about a black kidney bean embedded in my eye.
This is all the fault of that crazy Mrs. Cernak. Most evenings she stops by our front porch to horrify us with stories about surgeries she has had or illnesses she has endured. Stories we don’t want to hear, but listen to politely. When we see her coming, we duck into our house. Too often, though, she sneaks up and traps us on our porch.
Last week she told us about her eye tumor. The doctor couldn’t put her out to remove it.
“So he shot my eyeball full of Novocain,” she said.
And during the surgery, she told us, he took her eyeball from its socket and placed it on her cheek.
I wondered if she could still see out of her eyeball while it was on her cheek, but I didn’t know how to ask.
This afternoon at the ballpark, while Johnny guards second and Jim winds up to pitch, I will miss it all because I will be snapping my right eye to the right, then snapping to the left, snapping, snapping and snapping some more trying to dislodge the kidney bean; to break it off from whatever it is attached to in there and get rid of it.
But I won’t get rid of it. Instead it will probably get bigger and bigger until there is no more ignoring it and I won’t be able to see past it and eventually I will have to tell my parents and then before I know it, I’ll be in surgery and the doctor will shoot my eyeball full of Novocain because he can’t put me under, either; and already I shudder as I feel it being removed from its socket and placed upon my cheek….