Another kind of blind date

Today’s assignment: Tell the story of a blind date.

Reading about today’s assignment, another kind of blind date came to mind.

Until I was 20 years old I don’t think I ever knew a person who was physically handicapped. Then I moved to Denmark to go to high school and in the boarding house where I lived, there also lived two handicapped girls.

One of them, Ingrid, sat in a wheelchair since she’d been run over by a tractor when she was a little girl. Nevertheless she was an athlete and a speed devil in that wheelchair of hers, and she went to the Paralympic Games in Seoul and came home with several medals.

The other one, Rita, was blind. I think she’d always been blind, and like Ingrid she had learned to do everything without help.

Rita sang a lot and played the accordion and went to play at competitions. As a result she knew lots of people outside school.

I never found out where she knew him from, but one day Rita got a guest, a young guy about her own age, who too was blind.

They stayed in her room most of the time, and when they came out, Rita didn’t bother to present him to the rest of us, so of course we were curious; had Rita got herself a boyfriend? They sure whispered and giggled a lot.

That afternoon the rest of us did what we usually did: we sat on a bench in the hall right across the entrance, when Rita and her mystery guest came down from her room, whispering and giggling. They wore coats and had brought their sticks and, asked what they were up to, Rita declared that her friend wanted to see our town and that she was going to give him a sightseeing tour. And out they went.

One of the boys made a witty remark about two blind people helping each other across the street, and I remember looking after them, until they disappeared around a corner, and marveling about the paradox: What are you looking for in a new place, when you can’t see? Can a blind person sightsee?

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