Chapter 2 – Hilda Jo
The cardboard box sat on the floor, upturned and empty. The flaps splayed out like the lazy limbs of a cat before a warm fireplace. Hilda pushed the edges of the contacts flush against the back wall of the medicine cabinet, the one she never used, with their prescription numbers out stacked smallest to largest. That way, if she needed them, she knew how far away she roamed into the blurry zone. Each box held six months’ worth of vision per eye, so there was time to mess it up until she needed to find more farther out. She guessed that man they ran into the day before might be able to find a few in his travels. She’d have to keep that in mind the next time she saw him. Perhaps take some of the boxes on either end of the spectrum and exchange them for more in the middle. Then, of course, she could resort to glasses, but she’d hated them when they were available in the plentiful past and didn’t have a pair in the desperate present. Didn’t like how they sat on her nose, nor how they felt like tiny anvils on the tops of her ears by the end of the day. She could have suffered through it, she supposed. Still, that choice to make was no longer an option unless an ophthalmologist survived the pandemic. Somehow, she didn’t think so. “A pity…one of many,” she said to herself as she closed the mirror over the metal and felt the magnet latch. And the sound of it startled Mitch from his afternoon nap on the rug. His collar jangled as he eyed her from the living room floor.
“Don’t fuss, Mitch. I’m all right. I bet you’re hungry.” She scratched beneath his collar and felt the German Shepherd’s hefty weight lean against her leg. “Big baby…let’s make your dinner.”