It began gradually, little grey spots in the outer corners of her vision getting larger until she seriously thought about getting her eyesight checked. Sometimes they were like solar flares leaving the remnant of a familiar image embossed on her retina. And then as the haze enlarged preening her view, she knew.
It began gradually. As Pete watched her carefully picking at her food as if unsure where to place her fork, he realised that at some point in the past when he had not been paying attention she had stopped laughing, stopped finding his jokes funny. She wore that permanent squint on her face as if she was always questioning.
It began gradually; the affair. She found herself drinking more frequently after work with her colleagues, and he – Simon - was present more often. Their eyes met, they met and suddenly she found she was cheating on Pete. Simon was fun, until he wasn’t; until he began making demands on her time, her life, her future. She gradually realised that she was going to have to free herself of Simon.
The last time she met Simon was in a pub in the forest. As she clasped her glass she realised her hands were shaking and although she tried to keep calm, she knew her eyes were wide open. Her voice shook as she explained to Simon what she wanted, who she didn’t want. His head lowered with every word she uttered and as she left him lolling over his pint she had the impression she had deflated him.
She had parked in a lane away from the pub. In retrospect not a good idea, but the man who grabbed her arm and flung her against the car door was not a stranger. She heard her car keys skitter across the tarmac and saw where they came to lie. His hand was round her neck, his breath hot on her face, his words angry. She closed her eyes to keep out the fear, drawing everything she could into herself. He never saw it coming. His vision exploded into a million tiny flares as her fist impacted under his chin, his hand loosened around her neck and he felt it yanked away as her forearm butted his, as her knee connected with his crotch and the fire spread within him leaving him squirming on his knees. He heard her feet on the tarmac as he hauled himself to his knees, the key in the lock as he staggered to his feet. He tried to hold onto the door as the car moved from beneath him, and he stood uselessly watching the tail lights disappear and was still standing uselessly as the headlights reappeared at great speed and he realised she wasn’t going to stop.
She woke up one morning and screamed and screamed and screamed until Pete came and held her. All that was left of her sight was the negative imprint of a face on her windscreen.