That was my father’s decision when I was born blind, the doctors recommending a minor procedure to repair my sight with the use of cybernetics. It was a common corrective measure for such a rare defect.
My father was a devout religious man, stern, a strong disciplinarian. He always pushed me harder than my siblings; always chastised me if I fell to self-pity. To him, I was just as good, if not better, than anyone else that had vision. He always used to tell me how blessed I was. “God saved you from having to see the shit of this universe.” he would say. Looking back, he was right.
My mother was a quiet woman, submissively obedient to my father in most things. When push came to shove, she would dig in her heels and stand her ground, mostly for her children’s sake. That isn’t to say my father was unloving or abusive; quite the opposite in fact. Together, my parents were a good balance, a healthy blend of couple whom I am thankful to call mom and dad.
Growing up, I was teased for my blindness. Some kids would make fun of the disability itself, while others made fun of my family, assuming low financial standing and social status is why my eyes weren’t fixed. I had no problem ignoring the first group; they spoke from ignorance. The second group, well, they spoke with maliciousness about my family; I had less patience with them. It wasn’t uncommon for my mother to lecture me on how unbecoming it was for me to be suspended from school again for fighting. Out of earshot of my mother, my father would secretly congratulate me for being a man, standing up for myself, and my family.
As I began maturing into my early twenties I had developed my other senses and perceptions to the level where many people, meeting me for the first time, were surprised and skeptical of my blindness. I worked diligently learning how to read people’s voices, the tempo and pitch of their tone, the strength they projected or lack thereof, and much more. I could feel the slightest sensation of movement across my skin, whether from someone breathing or simply passing by. I could tell the rough height and weight of a person simply from the sound and timing of their footsteps.
What my father had predicted for me at birth had indeed come true. I wasn’t vain, full of arrogance and misplaced pride. I was thankful to God for teaching me how to appreciate everything in life, and for granting me the patience and dedication to excel.
I graduated university at the top of my class on a full scholarship. My parents had never been more proud, which was a huge statement in and of itself.
“So, what now?” my father had asked after my graduation ceremony. “Are you going to join the priesthood? The planetary research department? Or maybe you fancy yourself being one of those capsuleers?” He laughed at his own joke.
Within four months I applied for the capsuleer program. Much to the surprise of my father, and myself, I scored the highest aptitude ever seen in the program within our entire region. Within days I was to be shipped to an orbital space station to begin the program.
The capsuleer program was known to be harsh. Many candidates didn’t survive the surgical processes involved in transforming a man into a god. My mother cried, refusing to let me go, but at the same time, full of so much pride that she threatened to burst at the seams. My siblings were a mixed bag of jealousy and congratulations, and I loved each one of them for their enduring sincerity.
My father wasn’t one to show much emotion outwardly. He shook my hand, patted me on the back, and said, “Never forget who you are. I brought you into this world and I’ll always be able to take you out of it.” He pushed passed me then, to hold my mother, and as I turned my head towards my family, perhaps for the last time, I swear I could hear my father sobbing.
“No, leave me the way God intended. It will teach me humility, if I survive.”
I smiled at the doctor’s reaction, I could hear he was flustered. I had just refused his request to correct my eyesight. Apparently nobody had refused free medical miracles before.
A part of me was thankful for the darkness that was a constant in my life; it prevented me from becoming terrified at the sight of the surgical equipment surrounding me. Had I been able to see the instruments used to create the melody of eternal life, I would’ve run away, screaming in terror.
A mask was fitted over my face, and I was told to count backwards from ten. I don’t remember making it passed seven.
That was over one year ago.
Since becoming a pod pilot, I have never ceased to marvel at the extended sight interfacing with my ships brings me. I marvel daily at the endless beauty New Eden has to offer.
I have gained wealth beyond my father’s wildest imaginings, and tended to my family, that they may never go without again.
I am a Director in a capsuleer corporation, a position of prestige even among immortals.
I have come to favour stealth bombers and Caldari ECM vessels, both of these allowing me to employ the same “disability” on others as I was born with. It is a poetic irony, taking away the sight of my enemies, and a sound strategy.
Even capsuleers need to learn humility sometimes.
My name is Philip. And I see you.