Hearing Nothing

Flash Fiction

“Grampy, the plumbers are here to take a look at the busted pipes!”

Elijah yells toward the back of his grandparents’ shotgun house — screams loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

“You wanna give me my pipe? Yes, boy, that’ll be all right. It’s in the den on the coffee table.”

Elijah shakes his head and cautions the plumbers with his right hand and then directs them to the bathroom on the first floor which is where they will begin their work.

“No, Grampy! The pipes! The busted pipes from the storm. The plumbers are here to fix them!”

“Mice!!! When did we get mice?! Lemme get up and find some traps, boy. We can’t have no mice cohabitating with us. No, siree.”

Elijah presses two fingers to the temples of his head and massages slowly. He then walks toward his grandfather’s bedroom and enters the room with a defeated look on his face. He stands near the window, breathes out, and begins again . . .

“Grampy, the plumbers are here to fix the pipes. There are no mice and you stopped smoking that godawful pipe three years ago.”

He looks at his grandfather, places a hand on his shoulder, and smiles gently.

“Well, if you wanted company boy, why didn’t you just say so? Sure, they can spend the night.”

A look of bewilderment shot across Elijah’s face as he tried to understand exactly what his grandfather was going on about now.

“Grampy, for who to spend the night? This is about the pipes, Grampy. The busted pipes!”

His voice was at a measured shrill with just enough volume to alert his grandmother in the kitchen. She came running to her grandson’s aid.

“Gerald! Pay attention to me, please. Elijah said the plumbers are here to start work on the busted pipes from that winter storm! They’re in the bathroom downstairs, that’s where they’ll begin!”

Although she was shouting, Sue’s voice was just as serene and peaceful as if she were speaking calmly to an infant. Elijah thought to himself, surely his grandfather would not hear her.

“Now, Elijah is going to keep watch over them while they work on the pipes and I’ll finish dinner.”

A brief moment of silence waltzed in on them and Elijah and Sue awaited Gerald’s response.

“Sue, of all the things in this world you could call me, I never thought a sinner would be one of them. And if those plumbers don’t hurry up and get here, we’re going to spend another night in this house with no water!”

Sue looked at Elijah, smiled, and gave his hand a pat.

“Today’s almost done, Elijah. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe it’ll be a good day for him.”

Elijah gave his grandmother’s hand a gentle pat and smiled back at her.

“Maybe.”


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.

“It’s a Mild Case” and Now I Must Move Forward

Living with keratoconus and so long to A Cornered Gurl

This was originally published as an informative letter via A Cornered Gurl on Medium. I know some of you are writers and readers of the publication (on Medium only), so I am sharing it here as well. Hello to each and every one of you.

Workspace/Blue light glasses|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My optometrist diagnosed me with keratoconus at just the right time. Per my ophthalmologist and corneal specialist at the Duke Eye Center, it’s mild in both eyes with no scarring and no advanced hazing. I have a six-month follow-up to assess my status at that time and to have additional corneal images taken. At the beginning of next year, I’ll be fitted for scleral contact lenses. These will help to reshape the corneas in both eyes and continue to enhance my vision over time. This is a lifelong condition, there’s no cure — but using these methods will aid me in the future regarding my sight.

The best thing about getting this in my 40s is there’s a better chance of it not continuing to progress at a rapid rate and slowly easing up as long as I do what I need to. The follow-up in six months will determine if I’m headed in the right direction to keep me from having any invasive treatments or surgery.

My ophthalmologist showed me what corneal transplant surgery would entail by using the eye model in the exam room. Let’s just say, I truly don’t want to have to endure this surgical procedure. I would rather not walk down that scary road, thank you very much.

Not only was I given a great deal of information about my condition and what to do during these next few months to keep my vision on the up and up, I was also advised to get some Pataday eye drops to help with my allergies and keep me from rubbing my eyes when they itch.

At this point, I am relieved there is no cause for surgery or invasive treatments and I will continue to do what I can on this end to help my sight. This break away from A Cornered Gurl and a few other obligations allowed me time to rest and do other things that do not require my focus totally pressed upon, into, or on some technological device far more than I need to be.

I enjoyed it. I relished the lack of responsibility with these obligations and I wish to move forward with that. At this juncture, I am ceasing all publishing in A Cornered Gurl, indefinitely. I do not have the words to appropriately express how loved each of you as writers and readers of this publication are but I fully believe this is what I needed to show me I can no longer do what I used to.

The body has a way of making one aware when one needs to completely change one’s habits.

I am changing mine.

I will leave the publication up. It feels a bit jumpy to disable or delete it, especially when there are so many powerful, vulnerable, and expressive pieces of work here. If I published your work, I was delighted to. If you are featured in this publication, you are meant to be. If you were rewarded in any way, you deserved it.

Thank you . . . Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. Since ACG will be retired, I am deleting our Twitter account as well. A little over a year is really probably all I can stand of “true” social media.

For your time, mind, and eyes, I am grateful and appreciative and I wish all of you well.

Peace and blessings, beautiful people.


A Cornered Gurl via Medium and Twitter are the only two platforms I will no longer host or participate in; WordPress is home. I have to have a creative outlet and I’ll still be on Medium.

A Break From WordPress

Enjoying nature and loving on my plants a bit more.

**Previous letter issued to A Cornered Gurl via Medium . . .

On February 19, 2021, I was diagnosed with keratoconus. In short, the corneas are bulging forward; shifting and moving away from my eyes. I am currently scheduled for my consultation with the Duke Eye Center on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

I am curbing some of my computer/device screen time and doing other things on this end to make things a bit easier on these eyes of mine. Because of this, effective today, I’ll be taking a two-week break away from WordPress. I would like to get back to my creative writing here on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

I hope each of you will continue to create great posts with creative content for the community to enjoy and please know I look forward to reading your blogs upon my return.

I offer you peace and blessings.

Humbly,

Tre

Second Dose: NaPoWriMo#5

Hello, Me. Let’s Take Care of You

**I am sharing this here as well. In about another week, I will do a post for WordPress announcing my two week break from my participation here. I always like to give a head’s up to you guys as you’re not just a great community here; you’ve become family too.

My new glasses; a favorite book. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt


A much-needed break from ACG

On February 19, 2021, I was diagnosed with keratoconus. In short, the corneas are bulging forward; shifting and moving away from my eyes. When I first noticed the dramatic change in my vision, I thought surely it had to be aging as various body parts tend to depreciate as one gets older. However, I was sadly mistaken.

The glare, sensitivity to light, misshaped corneas, and astigmatism all revealed it was definitely something more. I sat in the patient chair directly across from my optometrist as she explained this new thing heaved upon me.

She said “keratoconus” as if it was second-nature to her. I asked her to repeat it. And then again. After her repetition of the word, I asked her to please write it down. She spoke and as she did, I sat there dumbfounded by the words that tumbled out of her mouth. What is this thing and why am I its new host?

Noting my “lazy eye,” she inquired if I had ever worn an eye patch as a child. I am sure the look that shadowed my face spoke louder than I ever could. “No, I never did.” It was all I could say. I was still practicing (in my head) this new word I’d never heard. Keratoconus. Keratoconus. Keratoconus.

“Please, if you don’t mind, can you repeat it one more time?”


“I’m referring you to the specialists at Duke. They will examine you, determine the level of damage, and set a course for treatment.”

“Is this curable? What am I looking at as a worst-case scenario?”

I had so many questions. Referral to Duke? Treatment? Level of damage?

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was twelve years old — contacts since I was seventeen. Not once did I ever truly envision the possibility of losing my sight entirely or requiring some form of surgery to set my vision back to a suitable standard. I never thought I’d need contacts designed especially for corneal deficiencies that cost an arm and a leg.

None of this ever crossed my mind.

I have new glasses now. New contacts. And with both, my sight is a bit better, but there’s still a glare and some things are still blurry. But this is due to cornea damage. More about this and whatever treatment designed for my case will be discussed on Thursday, April 22, 2021, during my consultation at the Duke Eye Center.


I have already begun implementing methods to help salvage my sight: reduced my daily screentime, purchased blue light glasses, purchased new glasses and contacts (as mentioned above), and now . . . I will be taking much-needed breaks from a few obligations to help limit my time in front of a computer screen or laptop.

Effective March 31, 2021, I will temporarily pause publishing in A Cornered Gurl. I will not be accepting any new writers or new submissions at that time. The tentative date of my return to duties in this publication is Sunday, April 25, 2021. If I feel, at that time, that I do not want to move forward with continuing to host the publication, I will make an announcement about that fact.

From March 31, 2021, until April 25, 2021, I am asking all current writers to not submit any new work to ACG. If a draft is received, it will be sent back to you referencing this letter. I am asking any writers interested in A Cornered Gurl to please not send any requests to become a writer via email. If received, it will be sent back to you referencing this letter.

I want to move through this new phase of my life continuing to learn more about this condition and press forward with any tools I may need to help me save my sight. I truly hope you understand this.


You will still see me on Medium as I also edit for P.S. I Love You and I will have writing published from time to time but I will not be nearly as active.

I want to say thank you to each of you who took interest in this publication and decided to support it. Without you, ACG would not be the publication it is — a safe and creative space for writers unafraid to break out of the box. You have my complete and total adoration.

I wish you kindness, understanding, love, peace, and a hell of a lot of writing and creativity.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.

Peace and blessings.


Originally published as an informative letter in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.