The Pink Eye **The First Draft of the Beginning of my Memoire**
Posted Feb 11 2010 1:46pm
**I've decided to go ahead and start writing the first installment of my life story. This is a very rough draft of the first chapter. Let me know what you think! Would you be interested in reading more? Thanks for your feedback!**
When I was a kid, having “the pink eye” was like having the cooties. Nobody wanted to even be in the same room with the kid who had the sick looking eye, let alone sit in a desk near the kid. So, if you looked like you may have “pink eye”, you were band from coming to school until you had a note from the doctor, indicating that you were cleansed of the highly contagious, icky, pink eye. One spring morning, seemingly out of no where, the white of my right eye was eclipsed by a pink veil of sickness and pain. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was eight-years-old and in the third grade. Up until that point, illness and I had no acquaintance. Little did I know that illness would soon be introduced to me as my new cell mate. As I did every morning when my mother called my name to wake me up for school, I took a deep breath of the new morning’s fresh aroma, hopped out of my bed, and turned the light on in my peach and green decorated bedroom. As the frosted dome flashed with a burst of light, surprised gripped me as the light plunged down, causing my eye to shutter with an unfamiliar pain. My eye began to weep as I squeezed my eye lid shut in order to hide the sensitive eye from the glaring light. I walked over to the other side of my room and took a look into the smeared mirror that crowned the scratched up surface of my walnut dresser. I lifted my eyebrows high to force my protective eyelid to let me take a look at the aching eye. The brown of my eye looked like it was a perfectly round island in a sea of pink waters. Clear tears poured from the corner of my pink eye, pass my nose, down to the corner of my lip, and then finally to my chin. I lifted my right cheek high to squeeze that painful eye shut. Closing it seemed to be the only relief from the sharp pain. With my hand covering the offended eye, I walked across the small hallway that separated my room from my parents’ sanctuary. My daddy was sitting on the edge of the king-size bed that he and my mother shared, lacing up his mud stained boots. He was already dressed in his clean, yet dingy looking work clothes. He looked at me, his oldest child, and asked me what was wrong with my eye. I sat down on the bed next to him, pulled my hand away from my face, cranked my eyebrows up yet again, and force my apprehensive eye to expose its sorrow. My daddy, who was a tall, strikingly handsome, yet unrefined man, gently touched my right cheek as he peered into my eye. He squint his hypnotic green eyes as he looked into my painful eye. Without saying anything to me about what he perceived, he yelled to my mama, who was in the bathroom getting dressed for work. “Margie, Ann looks like she has the pink eye.” My mother immediately turned around and stepped out of the bathroom. She had on a black bra, a full-length white slip, and off black stockings. Her round face looked like a freshly painted canvas of beautiful brown and burgundy tones. Her ears were adorned with large, gold loops. Every strand of her black wavy hair was brushed perfectly in a conservative, yet stylish bun in the back of her head. She walked over to me and leaned her pregnant stomach towards my face as she lifted my chin to look down into my sick eye. Within sixty seconds, I was diagnosed. “Yeah, she does have the pink eye. She’ll have to stay home with Mama today. I’ll take her to Dr. Silverman’s after I get off.” Staying home from school was never fun if you were really sick. So, news of my declared absence from school was rather disappointing. I actually liked school, even though my mama was also my teacher. I lifted my body up from the bed and moped across the threshold of my parent’s room, sighing and frowning with every step. Daddy called out to me before I could make it back across the hall. “Go wash your hands. You don’t want to give your lil’ sister the pink eye.” Frankly, I cared very little about my three-year-old sister, Paula, at this point. For that brief, selfish moment, I was thinking about myself. I didn’t feel like being sick. I wanted to go to school. And I certainly didn’t want to have any type of condition that would cause me to be pegged as “the girl with the cooties.” However, I did what Daddy said to do. I stopped, took a sharp left and entered the restroom to disinfect my hands of the yucky eye disease. Later that afternoon, right in the middle of one of my favorite “Woody Wood Pecker” shows, my mother showed up to my grandmother’s house to pick me up to take me to the doctor. I kissed my grandmother goodbye and followed by mother to the gray Thunderbird that was parked on the gravel covered driveway. I looked up and daringly opened my right eye, hoping that both of my eyes could stare at the brilliant star that hung majestically like a dynamic jewel in the endless, blue sky. As soon as my eyelid cracked open, light assaulted my fragile eye. Tears escaped my eye as I barricaded my eye shut. I hopped in the car and closed both of my eyes as Mama drove to Dr. Silverman’s office. His office was only ten minutes away from my grandmother’s house. So, the dark ride didn’t last long. Dr. Silverman was an elderly, extremely friendly, white man, who ran a family medical practice in the middle of the ghetto. His unglamorous office sat on the corner of two of the most beat down streets in Houston. Partially bald up Paper, empty soda cans, and beer bottles garnered the edges of the tar covered streets. Old cars and trucks parked around the brown, brick building, providing the community with proof that Dr. Silverman was one of the most popular doctor’s in the ghetto. My mother and I walked into Dr. Silverman’s tidy, little office. Brown paneling covered the unexcited walls. The tile floor looked as if they were swept and mopped only a few hours before we arrived. It was always clean in Dr. Silverman’s office. Likewise, it was always crowded in his office. Every plastic chair that was lined up against the walls were occupied by distressed looking black and brown folks, who were all waiting to be seen by the good doctor. Dr. Silverman was a favorite in the community because he offered inexpensive medical services to poor, working class families. Many of his patients had no health insurance, which meant they had no options. So, they would sit in Dr. Silverman’s office and wait, no matter how long it took, to be seen by someone that seemed to know what they were doing. My family had health insurance at this point, but they didn’t have it always. Dr. Silverman was declared the family doctor long before professional incomes and comprehensive health insurance coverage was introduced to my once impoverished daddy and mama. So, for loyalty sake, familiarity, and the convenience of a doctor that accepted walk-ins, we would travel to the ghetto from our suburban home to see Dr. Silverman. After checking in at the front window, we waited in the crowded waiting room to be seen. At first Mama and I had to sit apart from each other, being that the only available seats were scattered in between people that gave no indication that they would shift to allow the pregnant mother to sit by her young child. After a few names were called, a seat next to Mama became available. I quickly jumped up and claimed the vacated seat as my own. With my left eye, I looked over at the Jet Magazine that my mother was flipping through. Pictures of beautiful, successful black men and women were on every other page. As Mama slowly flipped through the pages, I quickly took a glance at the beautiful woman that was crowned Jet’s Beauty of the Week. Her coffee brown legs were so full and long, giving my chocolate dipped Barbie a little competition. Her thick black hair rested perfectly across the top of her supple left breast as if the photographer choreographed the seductive pose to offer picture perfect femininity. The only thing the young woman wore was a bright, white smile and a shiny red bathing suit that exposed her narrow waste and bell curved hips. I secretly wished that I could one day be a Jet Beauty of the Week, showing off all of my future goods to all of Black America. After sitting in the hard, uncomfortable chairs for nearly ninety minutes, it was finally my turn. “Angela Bradley”, the nurse bellowed. Even though my name is Angela Braden, I’ve learned from a young age that most people will hardly ever say my name correctly on the first try. I blame it on pure laziness. My name clearly doesn’t have some of the letters I hear people say when they call out my last name. I jumped up, knowing the nurse was finally calling for me. My mother lifted her body up from the plastic chair, stomach first, every other part of her second. We traveled down what then seemed like a long hallway to an empty examination room. Once I was in the examination room, I knew that we were simply going to wait a little while longer. But at least, we were a little closer to actually being seen by the doctor. After about fifteen minutes, Dr. Silverman popped open the interior door to the examination room. I always wondered what was on the other side of that door. I tried to take a sneak peek as he entered, but before I could take a look, the tall white man, with the white hair, who was dressed in the white coat, slam the white door, leaving me to wonder yet again, what was on the other side of that door. After waiting for nearly two hours, Dr. Silverman looked into my sick eye for about two minutes and into my unsick eye for half a minute, and loudly announced to my mother what she thought she already knew. “Looks like she has pink eye. I’ll write a prescription for some medicine that’ll clear it up right away. She can go back to school in a couple days.” He firmly shook my hand, shook my mother’s hand, and quickly exited the office, going back into the part of his office that was never seen by any of his patients. My mother and I waited quietly until the nurse returned with the prescriptions. As the nurse entered, I tried to look pass the door as she entered the tiny office. The door quickly closed behind her. I silently sighed. “I’ll be back to normal in a couple days.” I thought as I followed Mama out of the freezing, clean office back into the humid, dirty landscape that surrounded the clinic.