My right eye is a health freak. At his urging, we’ve been eating better and getting in shape. We especially enjoy hiking. My left eye is reluctant, but we bribe him into coming along—he’ll do anything for a pixie stick. (He won’t admit it, but he likes the view at the top, too.)
I thought everything was fine until we needed a new pair of glasses. “That’s odd,” the optometrist said. “The vision in your right eye has improved. Normally that’s related to blood sugar levels, general health, that kind of thing. But with the vision in your left eye getting worse… You almost have to ask if they’re both in the same head.”
When we got home, I pulled out a mirror and had a talk with my left eye. “That’s it. Sugar makes you go blind. No more candy for you.”
He gave me that look. We had used it on the phys-ed teacher once.
“No, seriously, dude. Think of diabetes.” I plucked the lollipop from his socket and gave it to the dog.
The next morning, I woke to find my eyelashes felted with dog hair tracked from the floor, and there were eye-sized gullies in the sugar bowl. I locked up the sugar, but my eye continued to wander. I woke to drifts of empty cough-drop wrappers, and after I stopped replenishing my supply, the cellophane from forgotten Easter candy and dinner mints. I tried taping my left eye shut at bedtime, but he rolled in his socket all night trying to get out. None of us slept. When our new glasses arrived, the left lens was already too weak.
I sent my eye to fat camp. “Remember,” I told him, “I’m only doing this because I love you.”
My right eye wept from the strain. I had to give up hiking—my good eye alone couldn’t keep us from stumbling. We wore an eye patch to work. We counted the weeks until my left eye came home.
He was a changed eye when he did, listless and yellowed. I inserted him gently into his socket. “He’s homesick,” I told my right eye. “A little dry from the plane. He’ll be fine.”
Only he didn’t get better. He drooped. He wouldn’t track with his brother. I tried to entice him with art and fireworks. I gave him eyedrops. I ate carrots. We watched sunsets. Nothing helped.
One morning, I woke to find my right eye matted shut with dog hair. My good eye. I scraped away the gunge and pried open the lid. He stared defiantly back at me in the mirror. My left eye peeped at me from the other side. He seemed perkier this morning. Less yellow. I plucked a candy wrapper out from under his lid.
“Yours?” I asked my good eye.
He didn’t deny it.
They watched me warily. It was a relief to know they were working together again, even if I had become the bad guy. But maybe they were right.
“So,” I asked them, trying to smile. “What’ll we have for breakfast? Shredded Wheat? Or Cocoa Puffs?”