“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh
The next day Cameron received paint supplies and canvas paper from her defiant mother. She was very excited when she learned what was being set up in her hospital room. Mark, the nurse, was setting up the paints and asked Cameron what paint colors and what size canvas she wanted. He picked out exact brushes for her and guided her to the seating set for her. He helped her learn just exactly where the canvas was and helped her when her brush glided off the canvas.
He told her exactly what the painting looked like so far and helped her get just the right amount of paint. Cameron painted for hours like this. She kept painting and painting until it was time for her bath. She still didn’t feel the same. It wasn’t enough for her anymore.
After her bath, she was exhausted and ate her dinner slowly. She shut her heavy eyelids as soon as she was done and didn’t wake until morning.
Again, it felt as though she wasn’t waking up when she opened her eyes that morning. She was refreshed, but finally remembered she couldn’t see.
Blind. That word wouldn’t come out of her mouth. She just couldn’t make her mouth shape that way. She wasn’t ready to admit it, she assumed. Cameron took her walking stick with her and headed to the bathroom. She ran into a few things, but finally made it to the bathroom.
After Cameron did her business, she went back to the bed and started thinking about what she could do today. She still wanted to find her new place in the world, since painting wasn’t enough for her anymore. She couldn’t think of anything.
Two hours later:
“I got it!” Cameron said as she was eating breakfast with Mark helping her pour her juice.
“Got what?” Mark asked.
“Can you ask my mother to bring me some clay?” she asked.
“That’s a great idea! I’ll call her right after you’re done with breakfast.” Mark exclaimed.
“Thanks, but I’ve lost my appetite. Can you do it now?”
“Okay, I’ll just clean this up and-”
“No, can you do it now and I’ll just wait till you get back and you can help me clean it up, then?”
“Okay, sweetheart. I’ll be back. You must be really excited about this.” Then Mark left the room.
Cameron kept eating. She wanted to show him that she could eat without his help, even though she liked the company. She dropped her milk, accidentally, and cursed. She could feel it seeping into the covers by her leg, but couldn’t find it. She felt so useless. So, Cameron started to cry.
When Mark returned, she assumed he was frowning at her, but then he started to laugh and she laughed with him. She heard him pick up the milk-felt it too. She noticed her other senses had heightened since she lost her vision. It was interesting. Not nice or bad, but interesting.
Mark cleaned up the mess and said, “I reached your mother. She’s coming right over with what she said was her special clay.”
“That’s her clay. I’ve never been allowed to use it before.”
“Well that’s nice of her.”
“Yea, I can’t see and suddenly I’m allowed to used her stuff. Wow.”
“Don’t think like that. She’s just worried about you.”
“I guess,” she said, “Thanks, Mark.”
Thirty minutes later:
Her mother rushed into the room carrying too many supplies for Cameron to sculpt. Half of the supplies she wouldn’t be able to use, because she couldn’t see, but her mother brought them anyway.
She dropped a few things next to Cameron’s bed and picked them up, but dropped others while doing so. Mark helped her pick them up and gave Cameron a blue block of clay. In her hand, she sculpted a blue moon with a face on it, but didn’t realize she was doing so. Mark let her know.
Mark told her the face looked sad, then mad, then sad again. So she didn’t mess with it again. She was tired of trying to sculpt. She told her mother, as she was leaving, to take the clay with her. Her mother did as she was asked, with a frown on her face.
Mark was filling in a crossword puzzle, as he asked Cameron for her ideas about clues. He asked her, “What do you do for fun other than art? Like maybe music or another craft?”
“I have a bunch of Jazz CDs. Umm…” She couldn’t think of much else. Cameron wasn’t a very social person. She had been made fun of as a child, so she wasn’t really sure she wanted new friends. She had never tried.
“I have a few CDs you might like, then. I could bring them along with a player for you to listen. I may help curb the boredom.”
“That would be nice of you. Thanks.”