True Stories: Love and a Lazy Eye

How I met the first guy who didn't care about my disorder.


By Taylor Tower

I am a lazy-eyed woman. My condition is called third nerve palsy, which is a pretty terrible name. I'm not one of the fortunate ones to get a sexy eye condition like Marcus Gunn syndrome. While "syndrome" just slides off the tongue in a seductive whisper, "palsy" sits heavy in the mouth.

Third nerve palsy means that my left eye can't move up, down or in, and my eyelid droops. It's like having the marionette without the puppet master. I had surgery at six months to bring my eyeball into alignment, and again when I was three years old to cut off half my eyelid so my eye wouldn't be closed all the time. My mom tried patching my good eye to strengthen the lazy one, but it didn't do anything, and she stopped. Between the ages of six and nine, the visual system develops rapidly, as complicated connections grow between the eye and the brain. It's held that treatment for lazy eyes loses all effectiveness after age eight, although a few recent studies challenge that belief. For me, anyway, my eye is as it is and forever will be.

The sight of my left eye upset me as a kid. When I looked in the mirror, I would peer into it as if it didn't belong to me.

The sight of my left eye upset me as a kid. When I looked in the mirror, I would peer into it as if it didn't belong to me. It had this lackadaisical gaze that set my skin crawling. In folklore around the world, a lazy eye is an evil eye, capable of casting terrible spells. Scientists refer to the right eye as the oculus dexter and the left as the oculus sinister. I was guilty by association.

I wanted to figure out how it had gotten that way and what I could do about it. My mom was no help, so I called my grandma on my dad's side. My dad didn't live with me and I only saw him once a year, so I thought my grandma would be able to tell me if any long lost relatives on that side had a lazy eye. She told me my dad had one when he was a kid. I asked her how it'd gotten that way, and she said it came from sitting too close to the TV and that it had gone away by the time he turned fifteen. I looked in the mirror when we hung up, imagining what it would be like when I was an adult, seeing myself through two perfectly round eyes.

My dad died when I was nine, and at fourteen I made a trip to visit that grandma. I stayed in the spare room, a room plastered with pictures of my father from all the stages of his life. I studied each photo carefully, believing I would see the steady improvement of my father's eye — the eyelid rising, the eyeball realigning itself as if by magic. A cluster of photos by the door showed my dad, a small, round ball of flesh, lying on a bearskin rug. Others across from the bed showed him standing in the kitchen of his childhood home, dwarfed by the refrigerator. Class photos from elementary school showed him grinning widely.

I stood in front of those walls of black-and-white for a long time. My dead father's eyes were perfect.   

 

That was the same year I started high school. I wandered through the halls unnoticed, as the popular kids had open makeout sessions at their lockers. All of my friends were boys who considered me one of the dudes. I secretly loved them all. As each of them got his own perfect-eyed girl, I started telling everyone I was asexual.

Then I met Noah at a Weezer concert. A friend and I skipped school to wait in line in the rain. We got there at ten in the morning to camp out for the show, which didn't start until eight p.m. Noah was already there, curled up in a lawn chair under an overhang, playing Weezer on a little blue stereo. His arms were inside his shirt to keep himself warm, so that his sleeves hung at his sides like deflated arms.

He looked different than the boys I went to school with.

He looked different than the boys I went to school with. I loved how small he was — how manageable. We sat cross-legged on a blanket he had brought from home and played Uno all afternoon, and ate bologna-and-Kraft-single sandwiches. When the line started to grow, he packed his things into the trunk of his hatchback. As he leaned into the trunk to get all his stuff to fit, I caught sight of the rim of his underwear poking out of his pants and felt an unfamiliar rush of warm excitement in my gut. We joined my friend back in line and Noah stood in front of me, shivering as the rain continued to fall. In an act of bravery, I rubbed his back in a mock attempt to keep him warm. He didn't move away, or ask me to stop. At the end of the night, he drove my friend and me home and gave me a Radiohead t-shirt.

Commentarium (36 Comments)

Nov 28 11 - 2:50am
mjpv

Oh my gawd that was weirdly heartwarming. Wow. Quality writing, too.

Nov 28 11 - 4:24am
M.

Amazing

Nov 28 11 - 6:04am
big mac

hang on.......why did he decide that his dream girl must have a lazy eye?

Nov 28 11 - 2:36pm
teetea

right. I don't think it matters. You believed it, didn't you?

Nov 28 11 - 4:55pm
JD

Maybe it was just a very sweet, albeit deliberately planted, gesture by the guy to let her know SHE was his dream girl, lazy eye included, to help her get over her insecurity about it.

Nov 28 11 - 10:39pm
hj

Maybe. :) Either way, as a mildly cross-eyed incel guy, it made me smile.

Dec 03 11 - 11:00am
gd anon

in my experience, your dream girl starts to take on the characteristics of the girl you're in love with, including whatever she sees as her flaws.

Nov 28 11 - 6:07am
Mr.Mm

Beautiful. I could read a novel's worth of this prose.

Nov 28 11 - 8:24am
Rachel

Seconded!

Dec 02 11 - 10:39am
AHHH

I'd buy it.

Nov 28 11 - 11:22am
minnie

awesome

Nov 28 11 - 1:45pm
Bruce

SO sweet.

Nov 28 11 - 4:32pm
Bill90210

Wonderful

Nov 28 11 - 6:42pm
P.s

Loved it.sweet/adorable truly isn't the word(s?)!

Nov 28 11 - 7:31pm
balls

Beautiful writing. The author doesn't have a website (gasp!), which made me sad. I'd love to read more.

Nov 28 11 - 9:57pm
Rawmerow

Awesome job. Writing is great.

Nov 28 11 - 10:13pm
rm

totally creepy.

Nov 28 11 - 10:50pm
Betty

Beautiful, I loved it.

Nov 28 11 - 11:28pm
ss

wow, this was amazingly good writing. so, so good. thank you!

Nov 29 11 - 12:18am
S'Mat

Love the resonance in the gifting of a Radiohead t-shirt

Nov 29 11 - 12:54am
CT

One of the best ones I've read on here.

Nov 29 11 - 6:14am
M

Gorgeous writing. More please!

Nov 29 11 - 5:16pm
Stokely

Loved it!

Nov 29 11 - 5:42pm
'Nother M.

Touching, and I'm irresistibly reminded of Flight of the Conchords, "We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady" lyrics:

'Dog, I’m sorry, but she had her eye on my guns
Are you loco? She was checking out my buns
No, bro, she had an eye on me
She had her eye on me
Well, how could she have her eye on both of us?
Wait a minute, are you talking about a girl with a lazy eye?
I think maybe she might have had a slightly lazy eye
[together]
We’re both in love with a sexy lady
With an eye that’s lazy
The girl that’s fly with a wonky eye
She’s smokin’ with an eye that’s broken
I think it’s hot the way she looks left a lot
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
We’re both in love with a sexy lady
With an eye that’s lazy [put your lazy eye on me]"

Nov 30 11 - 10:40pm
bk

Mmmm, this was really good. I loved your story.

Dec 02 11 - 12:25am
Ken Mondschein

+1 to the "great writing" consensus.

Dec 02 11 - 5:21am
cr

This was a great piece, heartfelt and real.

Dec 02 11 - 1:59pm
Ouch

I've been blind in my left eye since an accident when I was 2. This struck a lot of chords with me for sure, and unlike some of these I have no doubt this is a true story. Great work.

Dec 07 11 - 6:11am
Delia

Beautiful.

Dec 22 11 - 2:08am
Mimi

Really sweet...

Dec 30 11 - 3:59am
laura

very much enjoyed.
i saw a beautiful woman with a lazy eye, flanked by two guys on the train about a year ago. if she hadn't of had the eye, she would have been just normal hot, but it made her extraordinarily beautiful somehow.

Apr 26 12 - 1:11am
wow

i loved this. thank you. a lot. i never meet anyone who understands.

Jul 24 12 - 3:51pm
Mer

I have the same condition. Im only 12 and I have glasses that a 'supposed' to help me. My condition is very serious. I chose tO have surgery later in life. I've had my eye patched tons of times in my life. I think it's very embarrassing to have a patched eye at 12. It's hard to speak or be friends with people that this lazy eyed people are weird. That is why I have to pick my friends very carefully. I am so thankful to have friends in my life that help me go through this and comfort me. I haven't found the right guy that will like me for who i am yet. But i know god is saving a man for me.This boy and this story is amazing. It doesnt even matter if he got it from a video or anything. Remember gOd made you to be unique and different. He likes the way you are and everybody else should. You are pretty no matter what!❤❤❤❤❤