Breath & Shadow
A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature
Breath and Shadow
Volume 14 Issue 3
The Right Fit
By Kristy I. Kassie
"Christ," Shawn beamed over a steaming Tim Hortons French vanilla, "did we really do the clothes and the haircut in an hour? Thanks, babe."
Across from him at the food court booth, I savored a chocolate-glazed donut. "You're welcome. You're going to look great for your interview. Thanks for being so patient."
"I couldn't do it alone. Department stores are bloody confusing."
I replayed the past hour. Meeting Shawn at the mall entrance and weaving our way through the afternoon shoppers - most who either didn't see our white canes or chose to ignore them and ran into us anyway . Navigating to and through the Zellers men's department. Picking out black pants and a blue long-sleeved shirt plus matching tie. Hunting down directions to the fitting room, locating the checkout to pay, backtracking to Tip Top Tailors and charming the manager into tying the tie because neither we nor the Zellers clerk had a clue there. And, somewhere between that and Shawn treating me to coffee, he got his hair cut.
I flashed back to an almost identical scene two years before. Brogan, now my ex, needed banquet attire. No white canes because he disliked us "looking blind." No asking for help, either. That was a sign of incompetence. I was a woman and women were shopping experts. His mother would have picked out an entire outfit and paid for it in ten minutes and there I was circling Hudson's Bay with only a shirt as evidence of an hour's effort. We were hungry and tired after a full day's work, and every extra minute on our feet was my fault.
Waiting for the train home, Brogan said, "I think we should see other people."
Standing across from him, longing to get out of my high heels, tears of exhaustion, exasperation and, most of all humiliation, filled my eyes. I should have done better.
Back in the present, I mused at the difference between Shawn and Brogan. Was it that, even though the tunnel vision in my right eye meant I could read print and window shop, Shawn understood my limitations? Maybe.
Maybe, with Shawn, you're confident being yourself, an inner voice whispered.
in that lightbulb moment, I knew why I couldn't stop grinning like a schoolgirl. I was damned proud of myself.
I polished off my donut and dismissed Brogan.
No use in comparing apples to assholes.
Kristy Kassie was born in Trinidad and Tobago and now resides in Vancouver, Canada. She is a legally blind ESL Instructor, Private Tutor and Reporter with a passion for creative writing. With only light perception in her left eye and tunnel vision in her right, resulting from hydrocephalus in infancy, Kristy strives to empower instead of enable and will try anything and everything at least once. Visit her at: http://www.kristyk.ca.