“Oh, sorry,” I said. My tortoise-frame glasses flew from my nose into a volcano of papers that erupted from his arms as our shoulders collided.
“Oh it’s you,” Dr. Spencer snarled. He kneeled to gather his belongings. “Why don’t you watch where you’re going?”
How could I? He ran into me as he exited his office while talking on his cell phone. “The least you can do is help me find my glasses. There they are. Don’t move. You’ll crush my only pair. Hadn’t you caused enough damage in class already?”
I stepped back, as a cat retreats from an approaching dog. He snatched a pair of tortoise-frame glasses from between my feet and squared them to his face. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more important business than you.” He squeezed past me and the wall and sprinted down the hall.
Damage? Surely he didn’t mean my question, asked at the end of his Astronomy 101 lecture earlier today? “Dr. Spencer, as we know, 95% of the observable universe consists of dark matter that can’t be seen. The remaining five percent is regular matter. Only half of regular matter can be found. Dr. Kincaid postulates that the missing matter, also known as Baryonic matter, is located in intergalactic space that can’t be seen. How does Dr. Kincaid’s theory square with your research?”
“Rubbish,” he boomed. “If you had read your homework assignment you would have realized that Kincaid’s findings were fabricated to promote his theory of missing Baryons to undermine the thesis of my book.”
Rubbish? Was Kincaid’s theory false? Eyeglasses lay on the floor behind me. Odd? How could my glasses have been knocked to my rear, opposite my direction of travel? I donned the tortoise-shell frames, the bridge a little tighter on my nose than usual, and lenses slightly out of focus, but unbroken. Memories of my first pair of childhood glasses flashed before me.
“Richard,” Mrs. Higgins asked. “Please read to your classmates what I have written on the blackboard. I’m so proud of my first grade pupils who can read.”
Read? Does my teacher want me to read those blurry lines on the blackboard? How can I read what I can’t see? Later that week, Mother and I drove to Dr. Sandburg’s office.
“Near sighted.” Dr. Sandburg rubbed his chin. He adjusted tortoise-shell frames to my nose. A crisp world of writing burst into view.
Later in class I read from Mrs. Higgins’ blackboard, “Dick opened a cardboard box. Puff jumped into Jane’s arms. ‘Poor Kitty,’ Jane said. ‘You were lost. I couldn’t see you.’” I basked in Mrs. Higgins’ approval.
Beep – beep – beep my cellphone alarm brought me back from my memory. It’s time to head to the library to study. Maybe I’ll take another look at Dr. Spencer’s book.
“I owe Mr. Wilberg an apology,” Dr. Spencer announced to the classroom as heads swiveled in my direction like spectators at a tennis match. “I couldn’t see Mr. Wilberg’s point of view until Monday afternoon following our confrontation in the hallway. Monday night I re-read Dr. Kincaid’s research. I saw things differently; a little blurry at first, but then his theory on lost matter became crystal clear.”
“And I too, sir,” I interjected. “I’m afraid I judged your work from my limited perspective. Only since Monday night was I able to see your vision.”
Heads swung back to Dr. Spencer. “Now, Mr. Wilberg, please come to the front of the lecture hall so that I may exchange your spectacles for mine.”
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Richard Wilberg, MS, PLCC, ACC
Creativity Coach for Personal Fulfillment and Career Success
About the Author
I write personal essays, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and self-development articles from my home in Madison, Wisconsin.