There is a frail woman who lives inside the back of my eyes.
I can only feel her when my eyelids are half closed, as she detests the sun.
She lost her husband and child a few years ago, and to bide the time, she—Louisa—works in the dusty wood shop that is my retina.
Each morning at 4:38 am, as I lay dreaming of love and avocados and friends back home, she creaks on over, tying her wispy white waves into a tightly knotted bun, ready to get to work.
While her main trade would have been to make grand dining tables and delightful rocking chairs, her heart has hardened and changed the way her hands make. Her medium is no longer earth and tree, but dark wind and air.
She is a cloud maker, a storm maker.
She makes clouds that she can hide behind, clouds that leave her in a blue-grey darkness in which she, for a moment, may forget her pain.
At around 5:43 am, she begins the trek to my corneas, dragging the lifeless clouds behind her.
They accumulate dust and dirt, yet she does not notice. She hasn’t been noticing much of anything lately.
By 6:14 am, she has reached the tip top of my left cornea, and with a needle that you and I would not be able to see, she proceeds to thread the clouds onto my eye.
With each loop and pass of her needle, the intensity of the sun pushing on my closed eyelids lessens and lessens until a soft darkness envelops her, much like the wool blanket her husband would wrap around her when she would fall ill.
Once she repeats the same to my right cornea, Louisa creeps home, ready to rest her head and hands in her lonely bed. She does not like to be around when my eyes open.
When I awaken, the world is dull and dark. Louisa lets out a small shriek when I rub my eyes forcefully, trying to remove the fog she so meticulously created for herself.
Louisa does not think she is worthy of the sun. She is afraid God will see her ribs poking through her skin. She is afraid His light will break her bones and rot her teeth.
I continue to rub my eyes, knowing I am worthy of a life where I do not have to see life through thick, dark cotton. But I have forgotten her hurt (it is only just the morning after all), so I gently blink, letting her know I have remembered her presence.
She whispers that her tragedy has made her hate God’s light. I clench my hands as I do not understand—I long to be blinded by His light, for each part of my body to be enveloped by His sunshine.
But her tragedy makes me leave her alone. I cannot evict her. She has lost too much.
So I wake each day with clouds sewn to my corneas, and I continue on.