Terence was fifty one when he was diagnosed to insensitivity to light. “The optic nerves to your retinas are insensitive to light!” The optometrist had said after an hour long of examination.
Terence had heard of the sensitivity to light or short vision or the long vision but insensitivity to light; “blind spot” as the optometrist termed it was a new terminology for him.
The week had begun quietly; his daily chorus resumed after a leisurely weekend with his friends. 7:20 am wake up call, then breakfast followed by catching 8:20 am train to work. By Wednesday, he had hit the blind spot; excruciating head-aches then blackened vision. He crawled himself onto the sofa, as he felt the magnitude of the lightening strike in his head. He steadied his shaky hands and managed to lie down for a second or so. Outside the sun was a hot shade of orange with sweltering temperatures melting even the plastic litter scattered around his once pristine neighbourhood.
Since the rubbish collectors went onto their umpteenth strike over the pay cuts on their already meagre salary, the whole town had became rancid; chicken carcasses scattered on people’s porch by feral foxes, plastic bin-liners, straws , cigarette butts, leftover pizzas. Neighbourhood children no longer played in the once beautifully manicured parks and pristine woodlands but were locked in their bedrooms hooked on computer games. This wasn’t a vision Terence imagined when he so desperately wanted for the foreigners to leave his country and for the whole neighbourhood to be filled by people like himself again; pristine white and full of nostalgia for a bygone era. Post-war era nostalgia!
Steadying his shaky hands, Terence dialed 999 to no avail. The operators were also on strike. Even if he had gone through one, there was a massive shortage of doctors and nurses since the folks were given referendum on to keep the foreign hospital staff in Terence’s hometown or not. Terence of course had ticked “Kick them out while you can!” box. After all who did she think she was the “darkie” nurse refusing to change Terence’s soiled bed when Terence was so engrossed in his phone so that when the urge to go to toilet came and passed, he soiled his bed for the umpteenth time. She deserved to leave his whitewashed town of course she did. Now, of course he wasn’t so sure whether he did the right thing! What remained of his indigenous town-folk in the health system were on strike as well over the pay cuts. This is not what the mayor promised; Terence and his fellow indigenous folks of the whitewashed town, when he pledged to kick out all the folks of impure blood from the town if only Terence and his folks ticked “Kick them out while you can!” box at the referendum so that Terence now felt cheated and cursed “Tick necked cunt” of a mayor. The money saved in “Kicking the impure blooded folks” was meant to go Terence and his “ maties”’ pockets directly so that Terence and his ” maties” could go on lavish holidays on impure blooded folks’ countries to cool down in the pools and drink rum and coke on taps until they became sick.
Terence steadied his hands but he was parched and his glands were swollen so that no words came out of his mouth when he opened his mouth to call for help from his neighbours. He closed his eyes which was a useless task as the insensitivity to light veiled his once striking blue eyes. Those eyes captivated the hearts of many “darkies” a while back when he was in the British Army serving in India. Both men and women “darkies”! Often he wondered how many brown children he fathered. Did any of them have the same striking blue eyes as him? Would their skin fade becoming almost beige with the old age like his skin? Would any of them overcome with nostalgia, come looking for him in this whitewashed town? If they did, would Terence recognise them as his own children and greet them with open arms? Or would they repulse him as did the “darkie” nurses and doctors in the hospital?
Terence steadied his hands but his sweaty forehead clouded his vision even more. He opened his eyes briefly staring at the several light bulbs lit all at once above his head. He could see the light but they had no affect on his peripheral vision. Lights stirred no emotions in Terence which was the most frustrating thing for him to bear. He was burdened by heaviness both by the mass of his enormous body which creased and folded on his thighs and arms and stomach so that he resembled a sea lion. And heaviness in his soul! There was no body to care for him anymore. His wife was long gone; left him for another man when Terence refused to stop drinking. His numerous male lovers left him when Terence was diagnosed for having insensitivity to light and thus piled on the weight. His personality became rotten with his heavy drinking. He punched a couple of them when they refused to perform oral sex on him. He kicked and tried to throw one out of the window when the young man threatened to out him to his wife. He didn’t treat his wife any better either. When she refused to cook his favourite meal; steak and chips once, he had kicked her in the stomach causing her to miscarry their baby.
Terence steadied his hands and allowed himself to shed a tear for a bygone era mostly- a bygone Terence who was hedonistic to the core yet he enjoyed life; there was a lightness to his core in his youth. A lightness of soul and flesh! A younger Terence who was colour blind yet he loved men and women of colour. With the insensitivity to the light, Terence’s colour blindness had vanished and nowTerence despised nothing more than colour. Crimson dresses of his wife would often send him into a frenzy of rage; yelling, kicking and screaming. It was believed that the rest of the middle aged men-folk of the town were also inflicted by the same disease; insensitivity to light. Although the cursed disease was never spoken of; it was a taboo but was referred in passing, in euphemism. Terence’s friend Mike the elder is said to have the lunar rage when he attacked a black man (one of Terence’s ex lovers) on the street at the sight of pale yellow of the full moon. The man suffered grave injuries. The town’s mayor murdered a couple of Asian women who cleaned his house and tended his children in the heat of orange July sun. Yet these men received no jail sentences any more as the lawmakers of the town were also said to be inflicted by the same disease so that the law was changed; any men or women of colour if harmed will see no justice. Homosexuals and men and women who expressed a desire to go into politics on a left leaning party too would not see any justice if any harm was done to them so that the blind spotters- those who were insensitive to the light took full advantage of such law battering women to death whenever they saw them wearing clothing of colour or dabbed their faces in rouge, battering men to death who carried a left leaning party membership card, mass lynching homosexuals when they were caught carrying the rainbow flag. Blinded by the blind spot, Terence no longer considered himself as homosexual these days so that he also ticked “Kick batty boys out while you can” box at the ballot.
Terence steadied his hands, unzipping his pants at the fleeting thought of a black male escort he once saw. He tried to find his penis which had disappeared among the many grey folds of his lower abdomen. The stroke struck once again, this one was a fatal blow. Then a picture of one of his naked brown male lovers slipped out of his pocket on the floor. Outside the sun shone mercilessly on the blind spotters as if taking its revenge on them on disrespecting its gift- the light, the lightness, the knowledge, the light that inspired the scientists, the philosophers, the lovers, the art lovers, the poets, the writers! When the policemen found Terence, his face was ashen and his tongue was stuck out of his mouth so that the policemen took pity on him rather than spitting on his carcass for engaging in “the ultimate sin”.
“El fin!” whispered a policeman to another. “Let this be the end of the cursed disease; the blind spotters!”
“Amen!” replied the blue eyed policeman, taking a rainbow flag out from his bag and covering Terence with it.