by Ray Busler
They’d stopped wearing the penguin suits before I came here. You know what I mean, the habits. That’s probably why it happened to her. Now I ask you, who’d mug a nun? If a mugger knew she was a nun, I mean. They all look like gym teachers now, but come to think about it who’d mug a teacher? They don’t make much more than nuns, and believe me I know. Guess the muggers don’t though. They didn’t in Sister Angelica’s case.
She has a great family. That doesn’t sound right, she’s really got two great families, the one she was born with and the one she has now. Anyway, both stood by her. The security people found her in the airport parking deck with the front of her head bashed in. Can’t figure why they call these guys ‘security’. Lost and found would be more like it. They did manage to get her to the hospital.
It was nearly a year before we got her back. Everyone was looking forward to it, she was a big favorite with the kids. Even the boys in my woodshop class were excited about her homecoming, and these hellions carefully cultivate the ‘laid back’ attitude. She didn’t look so good when we finally got to see her at the reception. She’d healed, but her face would never be the same. That was only the obvious.
We’d been told, but we weren’t prepared for the truth. Mother Mary Clarence had spoken to me privately about it, she wanted the shop kids kept under control, tight control. They have a reputation among the nuns, but they are basically good boys and I told the principal I was sure she could count on my boys not to tease her.
When I saw her at the reception I was not quite as sure. Sister Angelica wasn’t blind, but she couldn’t really see. This is hard to explain. She could read, she could get around the halls, she could do everything you or I can do except one. There is a long medical term for it. I was told the name, but I can never remember stuff like that. She couldn’t recognize faces. Even her mother, her real mother, had to introduce herself every time they saw each other. I didn’t know how she was going to manage. Imagine, class after overcrowded class of kids, all dressed alike in those little uniforms, and her not able to tell one from another. I got a clue at the reception.
“Mr. Cohen!” She said as soon as I took her hand, and before Mother Mary Clarence could whisper my name. “You smell just like a pine board.” It made me proud of her and for some reason proud of myself. Anyway, I felt sure again.
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Ray lives in Trussville, Alabama with his long suffering artist wife of 40 years. That is she’s been married to him for 40 years, he is many things but not a child molester. Ray has won some minor prizes in publications for minor fiction once grossing three copies as his share of the treasure. Ray was second runner up in the third annual Wilford Brimley Look-Alike contest. Guess that’s about it, oh he has one remaining cat…so far.
10 thoughts on “Second Sight”
The shop teacher’s voice is terrific, as is the olfactory twist at the end. The name of the disorder–which is unimportant–is prosopagnosia. AGB
“prosopagnosia” Easy for you to say. Thanks so much for reading and your comment.
In fact I had a totally blind high school debate coach who recognized people by their footsteps. And I have a congenital difficulty with facial recognition, which is probably why I know the term. AGB
I don’t remember where I came across the term, but I stored the condition in my gray cells for future use. When I wrote the story I could not conceive a situation that cause Cohen to use the actual word. I have the opposite condition from you ; I never forget a face, or remember a name. Be seeing you, Mr. er… sir.
The importance of scent!
Charles, Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
Such a surprising ending in this well-written and moving story.
I am so glad you like it. Thank you for for letting me know.
I’d feel good, too.
I am glad to hear you express that. I hoped for that effect. thanks for reading and your comment.