I sensed his presence. My body was a whirlwind of pleasure as I smelled
This was the fourth day I felt his presence envelope me as I sang,
and I could feel his eyes on me. It was an unnerving feeling, but
it felt good as I continued singing. I wanted to embrace his presence,
but common sense returned as I finished the song. I couldn’t
make love to myself on the stage because of a presence, could I?
I bowed instead, and smiled as the audience clapped for me. I was
blessed with a fabulous voice and being blind did not interfere
with my talent.
“I’m here,” said my sister Candy. “Are
you ready to go back to your dressing room?”
I smiled at her and said, “Take me to my favorite table please.
I don’t think I can get around in this crowd.”
“You should just go into your dressing room and relax for
a while,” Candy said.
I frowned as I sensed her mood. Candy had been afraid for me ever
since a former boyfriend had thrown acid in my face after I broke
up with him. He didn’t take rejection well, but payback is
a bitch, and he paid me back in spades.
I had been blind for four years now, and had adjusted fairly well,
but in a large crowd it was easy to get disoriented. Candy was practically
pushing me toward my dressing room when I bumped into a body that
felt like a tree trunk. “I’m so sorry,” I said,
mortified. “Candy where are you?”
“Wait here just one minute, Zera. I’ll be right back,”
Candy said as she led me to a corner and pushed me into a chair.
Suddenly, I realized that the man I had just bumped into had followed
us. His scent was mesmerizing me. I had never felt anything like
“May I join you?” he asked.
“Well, actually, I was just going to go out front and have
a drink before we go home,” I replied.
“Then please, allow me to escort you to your table,”
He took my arm and guided me smoothly to my regular table, gently
sitting me into my chair. I was spellbound as I said, “Thank
you for your help. I don’t know what happened to my sister.”
“I believe I saw her talking to someone as I reached you.
Would you care for a drink?”
As I hesitated, he said, “Forgive me, I didn’t introduce
myself. My name is Bruce Greenwood. I’m a huge fan of yours.
I come every week to listen to you. I think you have a remarkable
“The software genius,” I exclaimed, covering my mouth
with my hand, completely overlooking his compliment on my voice.
He chuckled, and I liked his laugh. “That’s me,”
“I have several of your programs,” I said. “I
love the appointment book that sends you alerts on your computer
so you don’t forget your day’s appointments. It’s
“It’s my best one,” he said, proudly. “I
like to think my programs will make a change for the good in people’s
I was thrilled to be talking to this software giant that I had
admired for several years. I realized I hadn’t introduced
myself, so I rectified that right away. “I’m Zera Hayes.”
I could hear the smile in his voice as he said, “Yes I know.
Your name is on the marquee out in front. So tell me Zera Hayes,
have you always wanted to sing?”
“Yes I have. I consider my voice as a gift from God that
I must use and treasure,” I replied.
“It certainly is a treasure. If you’re not thirsty
right now, would you care to dance?” he asked.
I wanted to dance with this man who seemed to be perfect in my
eyes. There was something inside me pushing me toward this complete
stranger, wanting to get closer and closer to him and his deep dark
voice, but another part urged me to run, to get as far away from
him as I could. What was fueling our mutual attraction? What did
he see in a blind woman? I wondered about his looks; was he as handsome
as that voice made him appear?
He helped me up and I followed him to the dance floor. I was nervous
as we started to dance, but soon my innate sense of rhythm took
over and we were dancing in complete harmony. I took a deep breath
and inhaled the scent of his masculine cologne, a deep woodsy scent
that inflamed me. It seemed like we had been dancing partners forever
as he guided me around the floor and I didn’t miss a step
with his strong arms around me.
Soon my head was resting on his shoulder as I felt the music carry
me away into a world of make believe. Bruce seemed so caring and
nice, and I thanked God for this moment.
We had two more dances before Bruce took me back to our table,
this time sitting down next to me, so close I could feel the heat
from his body.
“How about a cold drink,” he asked.
“A Coke is fine,” I said with a smile.
“I’ll be right back with our drinks,” he told
I absently noticed the background noise; music and conversation
punctuated with laughter as my mind roamed.
Something about Bruce reminded me of Foster, the aggrieved boyfriend
who had blinded me. I had spent three years with him, believing
he was my absolute soul mate before I found out that he was a jealous,
insecure man who went into rages whenever I failed to account for
every minute I spent away from him. He tried to make me sever contact
with all of my friends, wanting me to devote my life to him alone.
How could I ever trust a man again?
“What are you doing out here?” my sister said. “I’ve
been looking all over for you.”
“Well, where were you? You just dumped me in a corner and
left me,” I frowned.
“I was talking to a high school buddy of mine,” Candy
said. “Is that okay?”
“I’m having a drink with Bruce Greenwood, the software
developer. It seems that he likes my singing.”
“You don’t even know this man. He could be anyone.”
I smiled because I knew Candy was rolling her eyes and I wished
I could see her doing it. She was thirty-five, three years older
than me and a little plump. Candy, a registered nurse, lived with
me, a devoted and loving sister who showered on me all the attention
I could handle. Sometimes I was glad to have her leave for the hospital,
just so I could have some time alone.
When I first became blind I was terrified, but with the help of
family and friends, as well as therapy and specialized training,
I was managing fine.
“Here we are?” Bruce said, setting the glass down so
it touched my hand. I was grateful for his thoughtfulness. I hated
to grope around looking for something.
“Who are you?” Candy asked with all the candor of a
big sister. “There are no booty calls on this sister.”
I was appalled at her words and wanted to run and hide. “Candy,
please be quiet. This is Bruce Greenwood and Bruce this is my rude
sister, Candy. Please forgive her lack of manners.”
“What do you want with Zera?” she asked bluntly.
“Candy, please control yourself,” I said “What’s
wrong with you?
“Zera, how about you give me your phone number and I’ll
call you at a better time?” Bruce said.
“No,” I said firmly. “My sister will excuse her
appalling lack of manners and then leave us alone.”
“Don’t come running to me when he uses your ass,”
she said, stomping off.
“How about a stroll on the beach tomorrow afternoon?”
“It sounds wonderful,” I said, as I gave him my address.
Why was I so accommodating to a perfect stranger? I just had this
feeling that we were meant to be.
“Will your sister be there with her shot gun?”
I laughed at his joke. “I’ll talk to her. Candy is
very protective of me. She’s protected me since we were kids
and she’s gotten worse since I lost my sight.”
“I’m just glad you have someone who cares so much.
I can’t image the pain and suffering you endured.”
I blinked back tears. “Foster was once a good person and
I loved him. With God’s help, I was finally able to forgive
him, but forgetting is very different.”
“I’m so sorry,” Bruce said.
I shook my head. “Eyesight is something most people take
for granted. I never expected to be blind and I allowed myself to
be a basket case for a while. I finally decided feeling sorry for
myself was a sin and determined to get on with my life. My face
was burned so badly, the plastic surgeon was unsure how much he
could repair but everyone assures me that it looks very natural.
Not exactly as I looked before, but not a monster either,”
“You’re a remarkable woman, Zera and I want to get
to know you a lot better. You’ve learned to see with more
than your eyes.”
I smiled. “Thanks.” He was piercing my soul and I welcomed
Bruce came over the next day and we took that stroll on the beach.
He described the water’s color as we walked along, bringing
the colors vividly to my mind. We also spent some time talking about
our lives. Bruce was forty-five, tall, dark-skinned and handsome.
I never thought I would have another man in my life, but I knew
I wanted this man.
Bruce allowed me to help myself, but when it was necessary, he
was right there to lend a supporting hand. It was a magical time,
although Candy disapproved of our relationship and moved in with
Two months flew past and the relationship deepened, but we had
not yet gone to bed together. We had done some deep kissing. Bruce
was a very good kisser, his lips like toffee, and I loved the taste
of him. He was my everything and more.
I knew I was ready to take our relationship further and one stormy
day, as Bruce cleaned up the kitchen after cooking the best lasagna
I’d ever tasted, I retired to the bathroom, taking a long
shower using my new Mary Kay Happiness Bath Spa collection before
drying off and slathering my body with more lotion, also thanks
to Mary Kay. I got out my short red negligee, low cut and showing
plenty of cleavage and sprayed myself with Romance, a new fragrance
I was eager to try. I hoped it would live up to its name.
Bruce was still in the kitchen, completely unaware that I was getting
ready to seduce him.
I felt my long curly braids, which I wore straight down my back
because I preferred a simple style, to make sure they were in order.
My makeup was, hopefully, utter perfection. Candy was a makeup pro
and she had spent a lot of time teaching me how to apply makeup
after I went blind.
My body taut with anxiety, I took a deep breath, reached for my
cane and entered the bedroom, where I sat on the bed and waited.
I tensed as I heard Bruce call my name. I didn’t say anything,
knowing he would come looking for me. I heard a quick gasp of air
and knew Bruce had found me. I would have given everything I owned
just then to be able to see the look on his face. “Make love
to me,” I said, holding out my arms, amazed at my boldness.
Bruce didn’t need another invitation as he rushed over and
swept me up in his arms before lowering both of us onto the bed.
Our hands were roving madly over each other, the sparks sizzling
as we touched sensitive areas.
“You’re so beautiful,” he said. “I…I…I…”
Words failed him as he buried his face in my neck, his tongue sending
ripples of pleasure through my body.
I loved seeing this powerful man speechless, but soon I was unable
to speak myself as Bruce raised his hands to my shoulders and started
easing down the thin straps of my negligee. Bruce’s soft breath
on my breasts caused my nipples to harden painfully, but that was
soon replaced with searing heat as his mouth closed over one nipple,
laving it with his tongue, while his hands cupped the fullness of
I gently rubbed his back, eliciting moans of pleasure from him.
As I continued rubbing his back, he bit gently on my nipple, causing
me to scream as white-hot sensations shot to the core of my being.
Bruce stood up to remove his clothes and I moaned as I lost contact
with him. When he lay back down, he put my hands on his chest and
I began to learn every inch of my man.
Bruce was well built and his stomach was as flat as five loaves
of wheat bread. It felt so good to touch him and smell his male
arousal. I massaged his entire body, loving the moans I elicited.
When I reached his shaft, it was as hard as a rock. I began to
rub up and down on his palace of love and loud moans escaped him
as I circled, teased and played with his shaft until I had him gasping
He let out a loud groan as he tensed and then exploded, warm liquid
cascading down my hands as he pulled me to him for a deep kiss.
We pulled back, our eyes meeting. I could see this man with my soul;
I didn’t need conventional eyesight. I kissed his lips again
as I abandoned myself to him. Who was this Bruce Greenwood who could
come into my life, and rock it in this fashion?
I felt like I was on a roller coaster with no way to stop. I tried
to pull back for a moment, but my body would not co-operate as we
resumed our kissing. Before I knew it, I was on my back and Bruce
was laving my body with his wet tongue. As his tongue dipped between
my legs I felt the first fluttering of release and when he gave
me an expert flick of his tongue, I exploded with a soft cry as
my orgasm rushed through my body. Before my nerves had settled,
Bruce slipped on a condom and slammed into me. He was on fire and
there was no stopping this elevation of love. When he exploded in
me, the thunder and lighting outside sealed our love as we cried
out in satisfaction. I was deeply in love.
I awoke slowly the next morning, feeling Bruce’s eyes on
me as I rolled over to face him. “Good morning,” I said,
feeling a little awkward. It was difficult for me to tell what he
was feeling since I couldn’t see his face.
“Hi,” he said, his voice sounding different to me, a
“Is something wrong?” I asked nervously, not sure if
I wanted to hear his answer.
“I need to tell you something. I haven’t been totally
honest with you?”
I was scared now. “Okay,” I said, my voice quavering
“I’m not really who I told you I am,” he confessed.
I laughed nervously. “Well, who are you then?”
“Foster Hines,” he said.
I jumped out of bed, getting caught up in the bedcovers and falling
to the floor, screaming as I fought to unwrap them and get myself
Foster grabbed me and I screamed in fear. “Get out!”
I shouted, tears of pain and betrayal running down my cheeks. “What
kind of joke is this?”
“Zera, please listen to me,” he begged, but I wasn’t
having anything to do with him as I fumbled for the phone and put
my finger on the 9, ready to call for help.
“I want you out of my house right now or I’m calling
the police. If you ever come near me again, I’m calling the
police. Do you understand me?” I asked harshly.
I couldn’t believe I’d been fooled like this. How could
I not know I was making love to Foster? Was I really so stupid and
blind? “Get out,” I wept helplessly. “Now!”
“Please, let’s just talk about this,” he said
softly. “After last night, don’t you see we belong together?”
“Get out,” I repeated.
I heard the soft rustle as he gathered up his clothes, dressed
and left the room, all without saying another word. As I heard the
front door close softly behind him, I fell to the floor, crying
as I thought about the lies and deceit Foster had heaped on me.
He had played me for a damn fool. How could he think he could just
walk into my new life after he had been the one who had destroyed
my old one? I sobbed even harder as I realized the grim truth; I
was still in love with him.
May turned into June and I was still upset and saddened that Bruce
was Foster. He called me several times until I finally threatened
to get a restraining order on him. He still came to the club, although
he never said a word to me. I could feel his presence and I kept
my eyes turned away from him as I sang my sad songs of love lost.
How could I possibly continue my life with someone who had blinded
me? Who took my eyes away from me?
“Let’s go out for dinner Zera. You’ve been cooped
up here too long.”
“Leave me alone, Candy,” I snapped. “I told you
I don’t want to go anywhere. If you’re hungry, go ahead.”
“Zera, I need to talk to you and I want you to promise me
that you won’t say a word until I’m finished. Will you
do that for me?” she asked.
How could I refuse her anything? She had put her life on hold for
several years while she helped me rebuild my life. “Of course
I will, Candy,” I said, reaching out and grabbing her warm
chubby hands with my cold fingers.
“Remember, let me finish talking,” she warned, squeezing
my hands. “Foster called me last week and asked me…no,
he begged me, to talk to him. I refused and hung up on him. After
several more calls, I finally gave in and agreed to meet him at
Starbucks. I figured there would be plenty of people around if I
needed help.” She paused to get her thoughts in order. “When
he came in, I took a good long look at him. Now that I know, I can
see that he’s Foster, but Foster with a difference. This new
Foster is gentle and kind. I saw that firsthand while he was at
the counter getting his coffee and a little girl ran into him, spilling
her drink down his pants legs. She fell back on her little butt
and started to cry. Foster sat right down on the floor with her
and made silly faces until she started to giggle .Her mother ran
up, all apologetic and offered to pay for dry cleaning and he just
told her to forget it. There was still a smile on his face as he
started walking to my table.
“Now Zera, you know what the old Foster would have done.
He would have been screaming at that baby and her mother, threatening
to sue and I don’t know what else kind of madness. Suddenly,
I was ready to hear what he had to say.”
I was getting interested in spite of myself. Candy was right on
the spot with the reaction of the old Foster. I kept my mouth shut
and waited for her to go on.
“He sat down and there was an awkward silence for a few moments,
neither one of us sure about how to start. Then Foster started to
talk, slowly at first and then as he saw I was listening to him,
he sped up. The story he told me convinced me that he’s a
changed man. I could tell you the story, but I think you need to
hear it from him. Would you be willing to meet him somewhere and
listen to him? I’ll go along and if you get uncomfortable
at any time, we can leave. I have his promise that if, after you
hear his story, you still want him out of your life, and he’ll
leave and never bother you again.” Candy sat quietly for a
moment, waiting for me to speak.
“Do you truly, in your heart, believe I need to hear his
story?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said simply, and in that word I heard her
heartfelt belief in Foster and I felt my heart give a little flutter
“All right, Candy. I’ll listen to him, but I’m
not making any promises,” I said sternly.
“That’s all we can ask for, baby. Can I call him and
ask him to come over?”
“Yes,” I said, feeling the little spark of hope ignite
as I heard Candy dial a number and speak softly into the phone.
A minute later the doorbell rang and I turned an accusing face
“He just happened to be in the neighborhood Zera,”
she said, her voice sounding as innocent as a baby’s. I heard
her open the door and greet Foster. “I’ll just be in
the kitchen if you need me.”
Once more I felt his presence in the room and, not getting up,
invited him to sit down. I heard him drag a chair over so he was
facing me and after he sat down, he waited for a moment to see if
I wanted to say anything. When I didn’t speak, he cleared
his throat and started talking.
“I spent a year in jail for what I did to you Zera. The first
few months were hell as I fought with anyone I could egg into a
fight. Then one day I had a visitor, a preacher from the local church
who came to visit the inmates every week. I practically spit in
his face that first day and figured I’d never see him again.
But he came back to see me the next week and the week after that.
He never asked me what I had done to wind up in prison, just talked
about God’s eternal love and forgiveness for all men. As the
weeks went on, I realized I wanted to tell the reverend about you,
to see if he and his God could still love me as he said they did
after he knew what I had done. When I was finished, he sat and looked
at me for the longest time. There was no condemnation in his face
and as I looked into those gentle eyes, I realized the enormity
of what I had done to you. You would never again be able to see
such goodness in a person’s face, never see your child smile
or even laugh at a cute puppy trick. And I was ashamed…too
ashamed to even stay in the same room with Reverend Banks. I rushed
from the room, but he followed me, telling me that God knew I was
sorry and was giving me this chance to rebuild my life. I didn’t
deserve to have a life after what I had done. And I knew I’d
never have any peace in my life until I was able to try and make
amends to you.”
There was silence in the room, but I still didn’t say anything.
I knew there was more and I was determined to hear it all before
“I only had a couple of months left in prison, but I used
that time to study computers. I found out I was very good at writing
software programs and when I was released, Reverend Banks helped
me find a job at a software company. Within a year, the owner offered
me a partnership and I jumped at the chance. The talking calendar
was created with you in mind. In fact, all of the software I create
is intended to make life easier for handicapped people. We donate
the software to any organization that requests it and make it available
at discount prices, or even free, for anyone who has a need for
it. Both my partner and myself feel we owe our success to God and
we make regular contributions to Reverend Banks’ charities
as well as volunteer our time teaching inner city kids how to use
He paused, waiting for me to say something, but he had still not
said anything directly related to me, so I kept quiet.
“So that’s what I’ve done with my life since
I blinded you. I make a lot of money these days, but I don’t
keep too much of it. I do have a substantial amount set aside for
you, to use as you see fit. I’ve been reading and talking
to doctors across the country, sending them your medical records
and I have one I’d like you to see. She thinks there may be
hope of getting at least some vision back for you. You would probably
have to wear glasses the rest of your life, but you could see.”
I felt my pulse leap…a chance to see again.
Foster went on. “I also came back to see you again and beg
your forgiveness. Now I have to have it twice after what I did to
you last month. I came to the nightclub just to see you. I had no
intention of talking to you but when you bumped into me and didn’t
recognize me, I couldn’t pass up the chance to be with you.
When you asked my name, I panicked and gave you my partner’s
“Why did you change your appearance if it wasn’t for
the chance to make a fool of me?” I asked. “Candy didn’t
“All I did was grow my hair in and shave off my beard and
moustache. The voice change happened gradually as I gave myself
over to God and felt the anger draining from me. I no longer have
any reason to scream. So Zera, I ask you one more time. Will you
please forgive me? If you don’t want me in your life, I promise
not to bother you again, but I am begging you to forgive me.”
I was astounded when I felt him move and realized he was kneeling
in front of me. I reached out and his hands were clasped as if in
prayer and suddenly I felt a white light shoot through me and I
knew everything would be all right. With a cry, I launched myself
from my chair and into his arms, feeling them close around me, drawing
me to his chest and holding me as if he would never let me go. I
felt his tears on my face as I raised my face for his kiss, realizing
I didn’t care if I never regained my sight. After all, love
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