David was nearsighted. At the age of twelve he received his first pair of glasses. He carried them in a case in his backpack, and when the teacher wrote something on the chalkboard, he retrieved them discreetly and placed them on the bridge of his nose. If possible, while taking notes, he kept his left hand on his glasses in order to take them off as soon as the teacher stopped writing on the board. He hated his glasses.
He liked being nearsighted, though. He found that he could hold an ordinary object, like a pencil, only two inches from his eyes, focus on it, and inspect the detail of the wood grain as well as if he had a powerful magnifying glass at his disposal. Some mornings he awoke on his stomach, and as he avoided the cold of the hard wooden floor he became absorbed in the minute texture of his pillow case. Each thread radiated smaller threads, which shimmered in their virtual invisibility.
David enjoyed all optical games and illusions he found in books. He liked the two dimensional pictures, generated by computer, which appeared three-dimensional if you focused your eyes somewhere behind them. David trained himself to easily manipulate the focus of his eyes in order to see these pictures.
At about the age of twenty-two, he discovered with excitement that he could see through things. He still wore glasses, ever-thicker ones, but his frequent optical exercises had given him something much better than 20/20 vision. He could look at a door and see the contents of the room behind it. He could look at a person and see their skeleton and the workings of their internal organs. He had X-ray vision. As time passed, he could see further and further into things. He could see, for instance, not only the contents of a room, but the history of the contents of a room. He could not only see the beating of a person’s heart but the secrets it contained.
As he walked down the street, most of David’s time was taken up with the examination of the world beyond the facade that most people saw. His vision dug deeper. When he looked down he could see the stars in the southern hemisphere.
He bought a light, expandable stick because he was constantly bumping into things. He used it to tap the ground and navigate the immediate world by sound.
One day a man asked him, “So, you have not always been blind?”
“Blind? What gave you the impression that I am blind?”
“I’m so sorry sir, I didn’t mean … I just thought …”
“Everything is black. In deep space it is all the same. My vision is much too long. I am not blind. I wish that I were.”