Visualize your one-year-old daughter. She has pale petite lips, light molasses colored hair, and her little feet wear miniature Converse. Ones just like yours.
Your husband is young, though not as young as you. He has a poor sense of fashion, though yours isn’t much better. You have red hair—not the natural kind—the deep wine red that’s in style. It’s been in style for years. You have unblemished, dewy skin and not a wrinkle in sight.
Imagine you can never see those descriptions again.
Your daughter is gone with your husband. They’re at Grandma’s house. You’re at home studying for a biology test.
You know something is wrong when half of the textbook page suddenly goes blank. Half of each word, gone. Half of your face, dissolved.
The vision in your right eye disappears. You’re unable to read, therefore, unable to drive. You don’t know whether to call an ambulance or risk going to sleep and waking up without the ability to see. You try Googling it, checking off the symptoms in the WebMD symptom checker, though you’re not sure if you’re checking off the right ones. It confirms the worst, of course.
You brace yourself on your suede couch and let it happen. Surely it’s nothing serious. Your head is pounding as your vision continues to fade, your body generating humidity between your skin and shirt. Everything goes dark every other second. You relive the haunted house strobe lights from the previous year over and over again. The zig-zag lights move across your line of vision until they stop right in the center. Your right eye is taken over by the problem you get when you look at the sun for too long. But it’s just your right eye—your left is untouched. Swirls and glistening stripes leave you seated. Your head feels like it’s spinning out of control. And then suddenly, it’s gone. You can see again.
It happens every few months, only now, you can’t see your daughter or your son. Those miniature Converse are no longer miniature, and that husband is no longer your husband. Your hair is no longer red, but instead, a plain brown. And your skin is no longer clear, showing its first signs of aging. But that terror, that terror when you think that it’s more than an ocular migraine, that’s still there. You fear it’s something worse every time. You fear it’ll eventually kill you. It forces you to pull over on the highway. It forces your mind to stop reading. It forces you to keep your latte in your stomach, though not from the pain like most unlucky sufferers, but from the anxiety when you realize that this time is worse than the last.