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Part II

She held her hands in front of her face, and rubbed her eyes, but still could see nothing.

She heard a knock at the door. Not knowing what else to do, she said "come in?". A click told her the door had opened.

"Hi, I'm Eric," said a pleasant voice, "I'm going to help you get home and make sure you're okay today. No problems so far?"

"Other than not being able to see anything?" She said, a bit sarcastically.

"You'll get used to it," said Eric, "I've managed to get along with only a few stubbed toes now and then."

"You're blind?"

"Yes, as a bat. Actually, I've heard that bats do have eyesight, reports to the contrary not withstanding. But I still like the expression."

"If you're blind, how are you going to help me get home?" She asked, puzzled.

"It might be a little intimidating the first few times around, but I've managed to get around town without killing myself or anyone else… At least so far!" He said with a slight chuckle.

Knock-knock! Another visitor at the door. "Come in!" she said.

"I've got some sunglasses for you," said the nurse - well, she was pretty sure it was the nurse, anyway. "You'll need to wear them ing sunlight. Since you can't tell if you're looking into bright light which could hurt your eyes. The lenses are opaque, so you won't have to worry unless you're spending a lot of time at the beach this week."

The nurse handed her a pair of plastic-framed sunglasses, and left, after telling her that she could leave anytime she wanted to.

"Since I've got a little more practice getting around than you," said Eric, "I'd suggest that you hold onto my arm to help getting around". He picked up her left hand, and placed it near his right elbow. She could feel that he had a strong arm, and that he was wearing (she thought herself very clever for figuring it out) a polo shirt.

"Best thing for you to do is try to stay just a little behind me - maybe a foot or so, and pretty close to my side. You might bump my foot now and then - don't worry about that - but I'll keep you from walking into anything that would hurt you."

"I'm a little scared," she said, which was not the complete truth - she was quite scared at the idea of moving around without being able to see anything. "Are you sure this will be all right?"

"I'll be very careful for you. You don't have to worry about a thing. Now hop off the table and let's walk slowly to the lobby." She slid off the edge of the table, and hesitated for only a moment before beginning to follow Eric's lead. Her first few steps, she shuffled slowly - just a few inches on each side - holding her other arm in front of her, waving it back and forth.

"Relax a little. I'm going to open the door, and we'll be out in the hallway after that. You got to see the hallway when you came in, didn't you? I've never measured it, but I know it's nice and wide, and there are no bumps or things to catch your feet on. Okay?"

She took a deep breath. "Okay, I'll try to loosen up a bit. This is scary for me, though."

"No problem, I'll take care of you." He opened the door, and led her into the hallway. "Now, we're facing straight down the hallway, and the lobby is probably almost 100 feet in front of us. Why don't you try to just walk in a normal way. We'll take slow steps, but you can relax a little and know for certain that there's nothing at all in front of you, all right?"

Freezing in place, she began to cry. "I can't do this!" she said, clinging to Eric's arm with both hands. "I just can't. How can I last a whole week like this! I just want to be able to see!"

"It's okay. I know it can be scary. I wasn't always blind. Losing my eyesight was a gradual thing for me, but early in my training, I spent a good amount of time practicing getting around while blindfolded. It was scary for me, too. But it's not the end of the world, and you're holding on to someone who's going to bump into anything that we bump into ahead of you, and I don't like mashing my nose, okay?"

"All right. I'm sorry. I just don't really like this. But let's try walking now."

One step at a time, they began walking towards the lobby. Her first dozen steps were hesitant, and she was pulling backwards, but slowly she came to realize that she was safe, and could walk with some confidence.

"We're going to be in the lobby soon," said Eric, "You'll feel the tile floor end and the carpet begin. There's just a slight bump - maybe a quarter-inch - at the end of the hall, coming up in just a few steps. We'll slow down so you're not surprised by it."

The last few steps were taken with care, until her foot found the end of the tile floor.