Flash!! Darkness entered my life in a sudden, blazing, blur of light. The curtain fell, an excruciating blanket of night, one of those unforeseen, irreversible accidents, and with it descended a cage of fear. At first the pain was too intense to permit ought but its rending presence, but slowly, stealthily it came, hedging me in, with its cloak of nothingness.
There was no solace. A man, led like a child, provider no longer, a dependent. My pride withered, my self image decayed. Slowly fingers became my eyes, a stick my mapmaker, my ears bodyguards. Days dragged to months and months to years…
My release came from an unexpected source – my nephew. In former days I had played the fiddle – he remembered.
“Play uncle, play!” he said. I was too morose. But youth will not be gainsaid. Eager ten year old fingers firmly placed the bow in my hands and at last I played. I felt the strings vibrate beneath my fingers as if in sympathy, the bow slid across the cords drawing a rasping song from the friction as if it understood. Tears fell in gentle streams as my fingers remembered past skill, but something was added. The music now sang my own heart cry, the strings echoed my sorrow, wringing forth a sweetness.
I heard a stifled sob from across the room. My brother was crying. I’d played many times before but never touched the heart of another. It was the first of many. From that day I have played, my fingers truly becoming my eyes with a sensitivity I never had before, born of that flash. A spark reduced my world to ashes, but like a phoenix I flew free, reborn.