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  • Writer's pictureLuella Schmidt

Peripheral Vision

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

TW: Suicidal Thoughts


Bad things happen when it rains. I don’t mind it so much if I’m out and about. I even enjoy a nice walk around the neighborhood in the rain. But I’m stuck inside today and it’s so dark in my room. I woke up feeling pretty good, too, such a shame.


I suffer from a genetic disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. I call it RIP for short. Like RIP my fucking vision because it’s basically toast. It could be worse. It’s not painful and I can still see. But it’s only a matter of time. First, it comes for your night vision. I haven’t driven at night in a decade. Then it comes for your peripheral vision, and the tunnel through which I navigate my world will keep shrinking and shrinking until… lights out.


I try not to let it get me down. I am gathering my clothes and toiletries for a shower when I see the first one. Feathery and gray, it seems to hover near the ceiling to my left. I turn my head quick and it’s moved. Now it seems to be on my right, near the corner where my comfy reading chair, colorful rug, and stack of unreads lies. I try to spend a little time reading there every day because I know the clock is ticking. I rush to my favorite corner, my sacred corner, and everything appears safe and untouched. Just to be sure, I push my stack of books and magazines over, scattering them around the floor and looking around and between them. Nothing. I crawl under my comfy chair to inspect the dark corner and my head gets stuck a little bit. I thrash around and I eventually get loose. All clear.

Wait! There’s another one, to my left near the curtain! I don’t turn my head this time to try to catch it. Instead I stand completely still and try to make out what it’s doing. I try to keep my room as cheery as I can. My curtains are an abstract pattern of dark blues and purples. It reminded me of Van Gogh’s Starry Night when I bought them and I don’t want that demon thing messing with my curtains. But I force myself to stay still and I watch. This one is not dark gray like the others. It is silvery, almost shimmery, and it reminds me of my wedding day. The way it floats in the corner of my eye, I can remember floating down the aisle with the love of my life like it was yesterday. God we were happy. I was sure my shiny new spouse would discover all my flaws and drop me like a hot potato so I made sure to leave first to avoid the heartache.


I can’t help it. I have to look. This time, I turn my head and body at the same time and rush at it. “GAH!” I yell as I jump toward my curtains. Nothing. Dammit. I look like a lunatic.


I need to lie down for a moment. This is exhausting. Fucking rainy days, man.


I squeeze my eyes shut as I lie down and I hold one hand over them for good measure. My bed is so comfortable. Even though I’m a grown ass adult, I still keep one little stuffed dude on my bed. It was a gift I gave to my kid when he was little. It’s a white dog about the shape of a fire extinguisher with sewn black circles around his eyes and a cute little hat. He’s a little stained, but he has no holes. I like being reminded of my kid at that age. I know he’s pissed at me for leaving, but I know he’s better off without me. You just have to stay ahead of things, you know? Get the fuck out before they trample you with their needs and feelings and judgment.


OK let’s take a look. I’d really like to get my day going and maybe hang out with some friends later. It’s Wednesday and that means movie night. I haven’t missed a movie night in months. It’s likely that I will lose my ability to see color as my vision fails so I really try to enjoy movies as often as I can. I move my hand away and open my eyes. All is well.


Finally, I am able to get showered and I have just put on my underwear and socks when another damn demon shows up. It’s red and it’s a big one. I’ve seen this one before. Again, I grow still, afraid that if I try to look straight at it, it will vanish.


“What do you want with me?” I yell, an actual real life fucking tear slipping down my cheek.


But I know. Red was the theme color of my business. Red logo, red website banner, red swag. I was so awesome at it. God what a rush that was. My calendar was jam packed with meetings and lunches and conferences and happy hours. I loved being able to bury myself in it.


Fuck, the more I reminisce the bigger this red demon prick is getting. I refuse to look.


My early workaholic days were when I was the happiest. All that constant striving. People stopped assuming I needed help and stopped giving me labels like “narcissist” or “emotionally stunted” and just let me fucking be. Instead, they assumed I was happy because I was successful. It was the first time in my life when there wasn’t enough time to think. To reflect. To confront myself. God I miss those days.


I realize I’m still crying as the red demon finally fades. I’m still standing in the middle of the room like an idiot wearing only underwear and socks.


I sit on the bed, spent and breathing heavily. Finally, the last one arrives, as it always does on demon days. He’s small, black, and fierce. I see him hovering in my left peripheral vision, right at my nightstand drawer. I slide sideways on the bed, within reach of my drawer, but I don’t look at him straight on. I never do. I reach for my gun in the drawer. He watches with approval. I spin the barrel, knowing that only one chamber is able to release me of these demons forever. I spin again. Where it stops, nobody knows. I put the gun to my head and I pull the trigger.


Click.


I sigh. Not today. Better luck next time.


<<<>>>


Extra thanks to my brother, Doug Terrill, who called me last night and said, "I think you should write a story about demons you see in your peripheral vision." Thank you for the prompt my dude, here it is, 3 days before Halloween.

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