Baby’s eyes

Today I woke up knowing I had a free day and wanting to capitalise on the time and send some emails etc. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t met my best friend’s baby yet so I thought maybe I should do that instead. Classic avoidance tactics. I ended up driving my car to Catford, so I could do an IKEA run. My car stinks of oil after I’ve driven it for any distance. It hates stopping and starting, the exhaust bangs horribly, if you don’t control the clutch extremely carefully the engine just cuts out. I shouldn’t be driving it. But Minnie needed an IKEA run and I wanted to see her baby. So I did.

I limped across London and finally met her little girl, Zephia. The house was full of life when I arrived. Min was having her hair done. The guitars were out. Min and Rhys and Brooklyn and Dolly with the baby.


I held her for a while as she slept, this tiny little parcel of life occasionally wriggling or exclaiming in my arms.

Then Rhys and Brooklyn and I went on the IKEA mission. I tried to warn them about the car, but nothing I said could have prepared them for the reality. It’s a hunk of junk. But it can do the Kessel Run in about 45 minutes, dammit. I know how to make it work for me, so I coaxed it to IKEA. We had meatballs. We bought the wrong thing. We made lots of people hate us by doing a double U-turn. I got a new bathmat, this time without rubber underlay, so you can wash it without it immediately going horrendous. Rhys got the wrong thing back home, everyone wanted to go to sleep, I left..

A while ago, an optician said to me, casually: “Oh, you’ve got blepharitis. Well, that’s you for the rest of your life, then.” I had red eyelids, and loads of crap built up on my lashes. She gave me the life changing news casually, almost as if it was nothing. “I work in a cosmetic profession. Surely there’s something I can do?” I responded. “No. Nothing. Just clean daily. Here, buy these expensive medical wipes. You need to use them every day for the rest of your life.” It was an ongoing source of distress and expense for about a year. I had new headshots done with red eyelids because it was impossible to stop them inflaming from the wipes. Minnie, as my best friend, fielded some of my distress, because I was silently sitting on a load of anxiety about it which only popped out with a few people.

I looked tired with red eyes consistently for about a year and a half. I tried Sananga, where you have an extremely painful sap applied to your eyes. I found it useful in other ways, but the blepharitis didn’t clear. I went vegan, wheat free, alcohol free, everything free for a month to see if it was dietary. Nothing. Then I cut my thumb in the kitchen at the Golf. I got infected and went on erythromycin. It cleared up almost immediately.

Maybe it will come back, but that optician was a nightmare, drawing me to a lifetime of expensive wipes and red lashes. I had recounted the story to Minnie before the happy resolution and never told her the ending. But while I was round hers, one of her baby’s eyes started watering and went red. And now she’s taking the baby to the doctor and I’m terrified that I am some sort of infectious monster, stumbling in to this glorious new person’s existence and giving it the emotionally complicated illness that I no longer have symptoms of.

I hope it’s the inevitable terror that comes with being a new parent. It’s worth checking it out though for peace of mind. The alternative is that I can never go near babies again and for a brief moment of peaceful contemplation, I’ve instantaneously infected my best friend’s beautiful first baby with a chronic eye condition…

Calming message from Minnie. Turns out the wrong IKEA thing was the right IKEA thing, which is just as well as we ended up sticking with it. Also she says it’s likely the eye is just an infection and not leper-Al. Maybe I’m not infectious after all. I do feel like I might be though. It would fit with my occasional image of myself as a vast awkward pachyderm.

I think I need to find a delicate person who makes me feel less ginormous and mawkish by association. Maybe it’s time for this blog to become a dating blog for a while. (It won’t. I’d sooner die )

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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