My father wore these circle-rimmed glasses in his later years. They looked about the same as the ones my grandfather had for much of his life. I'm sure it was by choice on my father's part, even if I could never get him to admit to it. When I came back home after many years and my mother was showing me the photos she had compiled for the service, I looked real hard at my father's face with not having seen him since leaving. The tension beneath his eyes, the slight pinch in his nostrils. I thought about how something in his hardened expression made him seem as distinct from my grandfather.
I got my first pair in my mid-teens, this dull and wiry frame that my mother had picked out for me. Nowadays I can only remember how ugly they were, even if I hadn't any sense for such a thing at that age. As soon as I got them, I returned to my habit of reading by flashlight or playing my Game Boy beneath my blanket, late into the night and with so much of a strain on my vision.
When my glasses broke for the first time, it was on the morning of a school day. I'd end up having to wait a week for them to get replaced. Getting to school and navigating the halls wasn't much of a problem, but I remember having trouble distinguishing the faces of the people around me.
It was the one class we shared, back when we barely knew each other. The lights were dimmed and we were watching something by VHS, a documentary about healthy eating habits with a very mawkish narrator. I couldn't see the screen and so I remember I kept squinting at the heads of people sitting in front of me, trying to distract myself. You were closer to the front door. Whenever you turned around, I guessed at your expression based on how you moved. Mostly it was that your face was narrowed in my mind, eyes in awe. I did much the same with everybody else in the room.
Later that night and in my room, I would doze off and look around. I looked at the pattern on my bedsheets. I looked at my ceiling, out the window. I thought of how often I felt like I could see the outline of a face, however soft, and I wondered why I had felt this need to determine any such expression.
When I was up there, I sometimes went jogging around the lake while you were at work. I kept my glasses in the study room, didn't put on my contacts. I felt it too bothersome with how much the sweat would get in my eyes. But I stayed cautious. I made sure to stay on the footpath along the concrete road. If my knees would ever buckle, I would right myself and stretch before continuing. The more I ran the same trail, the more comfortable I would get with keeping my head askance and peering out into the water. I never gave much thought as to what I was looking for, if anything. There were streaks of light like little fibers in my blurred vision that I would come to count with each passing day.