Blindsided 21

“Your place is lovely, Maggy.”  You have style!  It’s such a wonderfully eclectic mix and it works so well!”

The hazelnut sofa against the rich vanilla wall with its clean lines added a dignified mood to the living room.  To carry that theme through, she had added creamy white walls with hazelnut trim around the doorways entering the dining room and kitchen.

Vanilla cream pillows played off against the hazelnut and two cucumber coloured chairs with soft pink accents completed the look.

Glass based lamps with vanilla shades graced the oblong and oval mahogany end tables while the coffee table was a deep rich brown covered with beveled glass.

Across from the sofa, she’d done a remarkable job using mirrors, instead of pictures.  She’d framed a total of eleven mirrors, with white painted frames, and hung them in three rows creating a square.

It had a simplistic but elegant look, modern and still very appealing.  It was both modern yet peaceful while artfully enlarging the space.  They reflected bits of color from the spider plants hanging beside the sofa, and the fern sitting on the one end table.


“I’ve been thinking about making a move and surprisingly motivated to do something about my living arrangements.  I like the idea of the added privacy having a home gives you.  Haven’t completely decided on what it is I am looking for though.”

“Do you like Modern, Eclectic, Victorian, French?”

“I guess modern and eclectic are closer to what I had in mind. I don’t want cold modern, but I’m not into antiques either.”

Smiling broadly Cassy suggested, “Why don’t we go online and take a look at a few types of design so you can solidify what you are looking for.  Sound good? Then we can take a closer look at what’s available and book an appointment with a real estate agent and do some real looking!”

If only to take Cassandra’s mind off what was going on, Maggy agreed.  They searched for an hour and Maggy found a style she really liked and then examining the real estate sight, she found several appealing possibilities. She called a real estate office and booked an appointment for the following evening to view three properties, completely excited at the prospect.

“Well, that was productive.  I like that pretty little, I guess it was sort of Victorian, best,“ she continued, laughter in her voice, “which really surprises me because it was the modern stuff I thought I wanted.  I can’t see the two being compatible.  Mind you, it’s going to depend entirely on what it looks like inside of course.”

“What’s the next step?”

“When you find a property that you love, simply love and can’t live without, you’re ready.”  Cassandra laughed, recalling her how she’d felt upon finding her home.  A sudden niggling resentment nudged at her.  Straightening her shoulders she said, “Then we get an expert in to go over things like plumbing, electrical, furnace, fireplace, and the structural stuff too of course, to make sure it’s solid and there aren’t any major repairs pending.”

“You can make a bid beforehand, but make sure you have a codicil stating that only after completion of a pending inspection and its outcome, will you go ahead with the bid.”

“Great.  I’m so glad we can do this together.  I wouldn’t know where to begin.”

“It’s a process, and it can be lengthy.  You won’t get into the house of your choice, for several months.”

“Yes, I remember how long it took you.”

Giggling, Cassandra remarked, “That’s me, the forerunner.”

The shrilling telephone sent chills down her spine. “God!  That startled me.”

“Me too!”

“Hello?”  Maggy said.

“Hello, Ms. Davidson?”


“I’m Detective Maxwell Myerson.  Is Cassandra Jeffreys with you?”

“Yes, she is, one moment please.”  Putting the call on hold, she explained who it was before handing the phone across to a watchful Cassandra.

“Hello, Cassandra Jeffreys here.”

After identifying himself once more he went on, “I was hoping we could meet and discuss your case.”

“Certainly, I am free now.”

Next                                                                    Previous  Blindsided 20

Blindsided 19

“Tell me, how bad is it?  It looked bad to me, but I couldn’t see well enough to determine the extent.”

“I’m no expert, but I didn’t see much that was salvageable.  The furniture as well as your clothes.  It looks like someone used a knife to destroy everything. He’s right, Cassy, this was cold calculated destruction.  No other way to describe it.”

“Maggy, this isn’t just tragic, it’s bizarre! How can this be happening?  God, I feel sick.  I don’t think I can sleep after this.”

“Let’s get our j’s on and I’ll make some tea and put some music on,” Maggy offered gently.

Retrieving Cassy’s drops, she placed them on the inside fridge door realizing that with all that had transpired, she hadn’t given them a thought.

Cassandra moved like an automation.  Clutching her purse to her body, she walked to the spare bedroom accompanied by Maggy toting the overnight case.

After all the recent events, she was determined that Cassandra needed protection, doubly so considering the dilemma with her eyes.  She would stick to her like glue if that’s what it took. God, what the hell is going on, she wondered.

They met in the living room and Maggy placed the teapot and cups on the coffee table.  Easing into the chairs angled in front of the window, they sat quietly.

“Cassy, I phoned my boss and explained, not fully, but I’ve requested my full vacation effective immediately.”

“Maggy, you can’t.  I won’t let you do this.”

“Too late, not that you could stop me anyway. If I feel the need to work, I can use my laptop since I’m more freelance than anything.”

“You now have a shadow.  If he wants you, he goes through me.  I intend to make this as difficult as I can in any way I can.”

“Maggy, you’re terrific, and I am humbled by your dedication, but I would never ask you to place yourself in harm’s way; besides, I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you because of me.”  She reached out across the space dividing them taking hold of Maggy’s hand.

“It won’t.”

Next  Blindsided 20                                            Previous  Blindsided 18                                                                        

Blindsided 20

“I feel like I’m losing my mind!  Occasionally, during the past couple of weeks, I’ve found things moved.  I’d last used the phone, in the bedroom but found it in the kitchen or I’ll find something in the living room I was sure had previously been in the bedroom.  Stuff like that.   I’ve been so busy, and with my eyes the way they are, I thought I was being forgetful.  I’m beginning to wonder if someone’s been accessing my home and if so, how, when, why?  It’s always locked tighter than a drum and I have a security code for heaven’s sake.  I never leave the house unlocked.”

“God, Cassandra, that’s damn scary.  You have to tell the detective when he gets here.”

“Yeah, I definitely will,” she said, a shake in her voice.

They crawled into bed at around three in the morning.  Cassandra’s eyes were on fire so she took Tylenol to ease the pain and help her rest and finally fell into a fitful sleep sometime after five in the morning.

Maggy woke first, and peeked in on her, even though she hadn’t slept well she figured Cassandra probably hadn’t fared any better.

After making coffee and showering, she dressed quickly then made scones for breakfast.  It wasn’t long before Cassandra joined her.

“I hoped you’d sleep in.”

“I wish but I can’t since there are a minimum number of times to take the drops, waking hours only, but if I sleep the day away, I can’t heal my eyes.”

“Hey, I made scones and they will be ready in about 10 minutes.”

“Oh, I can’t wait,” Cassandra cooed, “yours are soooo good.  It’s not from lack of trying either, but mine just don’t stack up alongside yours.”

Then, out of nowhere she said, “Maggy, I won’t let him drive me out of my home, or away from my friends, or change my lifestyle.  If I do that, he’s won.”

“As soon as the police figure I can go back home, I will.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate your hospitality, but I’m drawing a line in the sand.  I won’t let him take anything away from me.”

“Then I’ll stay with you.  I won’t let you do this alone.”

“The generous side of me says, no, I can’t let you do that, or take that risk Maggy, but the selfish side of me is only too happy to have the help.”

“Ok.  Soon as we hear, we move back in and take over.” High fiving each other, they grinned. It felt right.

“I think we need to go out and get you some clothes though.  There wasn’t much left I’m afraid.”

“My clothes too?”

“There might be a few things left, and I was in a hurry to get out of there as per instructed, but from what I saw, you are going to need a new wardrobe from the skin out.”

Following a quiet breakfast, they dressed and went shopping.  Cassandra managed to find a couple pair of black jeans, dress pants with co-ordinating tops and a couple of dresses for work, and bras, underwear and socks before leaving for Maggy’s.

Next  Blindsided 21                                                                              Previous Blindsided 19

Blindsided 18

“Stay here, I’m going to check.”

“Maggy, please don’t!  It could be dangerous.  Someone could still be inside!  Take your cell phone in case!” she whispered loudly.

“You can’t go in because you can’t see.  I can.  I’ll be right back.”

Cassy paced back and forth until Maggy returned, “What is it?  What’s wrong?”

“Cassandra, we have to call the police.  Someone has definitely been inside your house.”

“Tell me, for god’s sake!”

“Your place has been tossed.”

“This can’t be real!”  Cassandra shook her head.

“Unfortunately, it is, very.”

Handing her the phone Maggy explained, “Here, use my cell.  I’ve already dialed.”

“Police, Fire, or Ambulance?” dispatch asked.


Cassandra hurriedly explained the situation and a squad car was immediately dispatched arriving a few minutes later in a blaze of lights, like a made for TV movie drama.

Constable McKinney was with them.  “Ms. Jeffrey’s, this is your home?”


“Have you been inside?”

“I went to look inside but I didn’t go in,” Maggy explained.

“Please stay here, while we check it out.”

They leaned against Maggy’s car and waited for what seemed an eternity.  Constable McKinney returned, his expression grim.  “Cassandra, do you have somewhere else to stay the night?”


“Because you won’t want to stay here.  I have to call a fingerprint team to go record this.”

“Then it’s bad.”

“It wasn’t kids and it certainly wasn’t a random act.”

“We’ll have to bring in some pros, a detective from down island.  As soon as he arrives, he’ll get in touch with you.  I have to ask, where were you?”

“What?  Why the hell are you asking her that?”  Maggy snarled.

“Has to be asked.”

“I took her to Comox to see her Ophthalmologist again.  We just got back and found this!” she gestured toward the house, disgust in every line of her body.

“I want to see.  I need to see!”  Cassandra started toward the house.

“Cassandra, careful, you can’t see well enough to go in there!”  Maggy admonished half hoping she wouldn’t be able to see the carnage at all.

Blindsided 17

“We’ll get there, Cassandra,” he promised.

Maggy was disquieted by the bewildered and baffled look on her best friend’s face.  Deciding it best to bide her time before asking questions, she knew Cassandra would explain as soon as she’d wrapped her mind around whatever was disturbing her.

“So, my friend, what’s next?”

“I made another appointment for next Friday and I understand it will be a weekly visit from now on unless something drastically changes. Dr. Jamison changed the drops so we need to stop by the pharmacy to pick them up.  He’s wants me to try them until the next visit.”

“Did he say anything else?”

“Yes.  He said I could lose my sight.  This condition, is as he put it, eye-sight threatening.”

Shocked she stared at Cassandra, “What?”

“I could lose my sight!”  Maggy reached out a hand and clasped Cassy’s as she continued.  Cassy laid out the situation as the doctor had described it.

“Cassy, I am worried, really worried.  This is horrible.”

“You’re telling me.”

“I’m confused to put it bluntly.  I thought we were working on repairing the damage, the cut in my eye.  I hadn’t considered the possibility of long term damage or possible loss of sight.  I mean, it crossed my mind, but it wasn’t a reality.”

“Oh, my god, Cassy!”  Maggy held on tightly to Cassy’s hand as she stared opened mouthed at her explanation. They sat silently for a few minutes as the reality sunk in.

“We have to gas up, and I know this is out in left field, but after we eat, are you interested in shopping or would you rather head straight back home?”

“Let’s shop for a bit.  You’ll have to guide me though.”

They wandered for a couple of hours, but Cassy wasn’t into it so they headed home the drive punctuated with silence.  By the time they were at the edge of town, it was late.  “I didn’t realize we’d spent that much time in Campbell River. Are you ok, Maggy?”

“Yeah, a little tired, but ok.”

It was a little after midnight when they arrived at Cassandra’s house.  Maggy hopped out of the car and hurried to Cassandra’s side.  “Um, Cassy?”

Wearily she replied, “Yeah?”

“The lights are on.”

“What do you mean?”

“The lights are on in your house.  They were off this morning.”  They both stared at the house in disbelief.  “Stay here, I’m going to check.”

Next  Blindsided 18                                                                      Previous Blindsided 12 to 16

Blindsided 12 to 16

I lost the original post for these chapters of Blindsided so if you haven’t read them, you’ll be able to do so now, and if you have, it’s a recap.  Not sure how close to the original it is now.  So I hope you enjoy.

“The Doctor was rather vague when we met but it will require regular trips down island a couple times a week.”

“You might have to cover solo… think you can handle that?”

” Sure, sure I can!” Shawna assured her, excited at the prospect.

“Um, you’ve already ordered for the season, so when the stock arrives, all I have to do is tag it and hang it out.”

“Wow, this could be exciting, hell it is exciting.”

“I was thinking of opening the yogurt bar a little sooner than expected too….what do you think?”

“I think that’s a wonderful idea!”

“I’ve been considering hiring a student to assist….you could teach her the ropes.”

“Yeah, that’ll look good on my resume….hey, why not a guy?  I could have some real fun with that.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you could, Shawna, but guys aren’t interested in baby clothes.”  Cassandra laughed heartily.

“Yeah, I suppose….darn it was a delightful fantasy while it lasted.”  Her laughter lighthearted and full of fun.

Cassandra couldn’t help smiling.  Why did Shawna make her feel so old? she mused.  She wasn’t old, not yet anyway.

“I need your assistance with the email and inventory.  Can you check to see what we received so far?  I’m expecting a few announcements on Baby Gap and….”

“Absolutely, I’ll get started right away.  Oh did you set the till up or?”

“No, not yet, I can’t see well enough I’m afraid.”

“Right.  I’ll do that first then.”

“I’ll be right there….just want to finish cleaning up.”

It only took a few minutes to organize the till and receipt books for the day.  Shawna made herself comfortable in front of the computer and began reading, “Wow you have dozens of emails.  Never knew you were so popular,” she quipped.  “Who is your mystery lover?”

“What are you talking about?”  Cassandra called out.

“You have at least a dozen emails from a guy calling himself ‘mystery man’; just wanted to ask before I opened them in case they are personal.”

“Open them.  I don’t know any mystery man and this is a working computer.  I use my laptop at home for personal stuff.  This one is strictly for business!” she replied from the bathroom.

“You’d better come take a look at this.  It’s weird Cassandra.”

“I’ll be there in a minute, have to do the drops.”  Cassandra put in the first of the drops and stampeing her feet and gritting her teeth; god they hurt so much!  She could only describe the results as hot coals attached to knives scraping her eyeball.  It was excruciatingly painful. Curiosity got the better of her and she wobbled to Shawn’a side and asked, “What does it say, what’s so weird about it?”

“It says, ‘Your mine!’ and it looks like blood dripping in tears across the page.”

Joining Shawna, Cassandra bent closer to the monitor and tried to read it.  “I can’t quite make it out but that is bizarre.”

“There are more…shall we?”

“Absolutely, I’m strangely curious now,” Cassandra commented with a mixture of curiosity and nervous concern.

So they went through over a dozen other emails from the ‘mystery man’

“This one says, ‘EveRY brEATh  tAKen, I’ll be WatChinG yOu.’ The next one says, ‘BABy I’m waNTin yoU’ and then, let’s see, ‘Have you eVeR reAlly trIeD rEacHing ouT for thE oThEer siDe’.  “There are three more repetitions of these followed by the last one that says, ‘don’t fORGet it’ or the coSt wiLL be yoURs.’

“This is really creepy.  You know, I wouldn’t normally put too much stock in something like this but there are too many emails to ignore for a random act.”

“I would think so, Cassy, since they came on different days and were recorded at different times.  It feels premeditated, purposeful.  I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve got the cold chills crawling over my skin,” she admitted, rubbing her hands up and down her own arms before wrapping them securely around herself for comfort.

Cassandra dialed 911.


Chapter 2

She explained to dispatch what had occurred and although the woman on the desk didn’t sound particularly interested, she confirmed a constable would arrive as soon as he was available.

A half hour later, a tall good looking man wandered through the front door.  Although a few men accompanied their wife partner or girlfriend, few dared enter alone.

A friendly smiled and twinkle in her eye, Shawna welcomed him, “Hi, can I help you?”

“Yes, someone called about mysterious email….” he said once he’d reached the counter, measuring her as he spoke.

“Oh, yeah, that was Cassandra, the owner….hang on I’ll get her.”

Poking her head into the inventory room, Shawna told Cassandra the constable had arrived.”

The officer noted a beautiful young woman, about 25, 26 he figured, and gorgeous.

Flipping out his badge he introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Constable McKinney.”

Holding out a hand Cassandra said, “Hi, Cassandra Jeffreys, the owner of Precious Little Gifts.”

“You mentioned receiving mysterious emails?”

“I don’t use my email account here for anything other than work.  These emails are addressed to me, personally via the company name and they are weird and disturbing, enough I felt I should call.”

“Ok, let’s take a look.”

“You’ll have to navigate yourself I’m afraid as I’m having some difficulty with my eyes at present.”

He took a closer look and noted very red and sore looking eyes.  “Allergies?”

“No.  Unfortunately it’s a little more serious than that.”

He turned his attention back to the computer and began scrolling through the messages.  “Well . . . what have we here?” he said thoughtfully.

“Do you have any idea who this could be?”

“No idea.”

“What about the content, does it ring any bells?”

“Vaguely;  although, I’m not sure why,” Cassandra admitted.

“It appears they were all sent after my trip down island on Saturday.”

Looking up at her he asked, “Your trip?”

“Yes, to see an Ophthalmologist about my eyes,” she explained.

“You got back when?”

“Late Tuesday night.”

“I need to print these off and take them with me.  Don’t delete the originals leave them for our compu-tech to read; he should be able to discern where they originated from,” he informed her.  He asked the regular questions she’d expected and then some she hadn’t.  “Any irritated ex- lovers, boyfriends, husbands?”

“Not recently.  I was involved for a while with a man down island. We met on a buying trip but wemutually agreed, quite amicably, it wasn’t working so we called it off,” she stated matter of factly.

“We may have a problem here. I’m going to check in with a detective unit that specializes in unsolicited email attention.  See what they think; either way I’ll get back to you.”

“Please call the detachment if you receive any more of this!”  He waved the copies up and down, “or if you feel concerned at all, give us a call.”

“Such as?”

“This may be an unfortunate hoax sent to the wrong email.  Having said that, be alert and aware of your surroundings – watch for anything out of the ordinary – any other unusual emails, unusual packages, especially if you weren’t expecting any to hang ups, message on your phones here or at home and finally, if you’re followed. Call us immediately.”

“Ok, thank you, Officer McKinney.  I’ll do that.”

Shawna joined her, all agog, “Well, what did he say?” Cassandra filled her in then put it out of her mind as the store got busy.

“Cassandra, why don’t I get the blackboard ready to hang?  I can list the prices for the smoothies, juices, coffee and tea?  Then we can get someone in to hang i?”

“That’s a great idea!” Cassandra agreed.

“You know, Cassy, it’s a brilliant idea.  Mom and dad can shop in peace while the kids enjoy a smoothie or juice or just play in the play area; a real stroke of genius if you ask me.”

“The play area seems to be a big hit.  I’m hoping the juice bar will be too, even though it means constant monitoring.”

“What about moving the divider over or putting your fence here,” she motioned to the section in question, “Tots need help getting out and parents have to assist in monitoring and clean up.  What do you think?”

“Exactly!”  Cassandra agreed.  “We’re not “babysitters” or a licensed daycare facility.  If they wish to avail themselves of the service provided while browsing, no problem but they can’t leave their children unattended.”

“It means vigilance on our part, since there will be a few willing to give it a try.  Mom/ dad can place matching sticky name tags on their children and themselves.”

“I love that idea, Shawna, brilliant!  We can keep tabs on who comes and goes and if we turn it into a game…”

“Listen, I know you must be tired. I think we can call it a day.  It’s been exceedingly quiet for the last half hour.  Why don’t you head home?  I’ll close up.”

“I’ll gladly take you up on that offer. I’m feeling beat. I’ll do the day end sheets, I’ll do them tomorrow,” Shawna promised on a half yawn.

At five o’clock, she closed the shop and was heading outside as Maggy turned into the parking lot.  Cassandra waved tapped her head and went to retrieve her drops.  She’d locked the door and turned to head toward Maggy when she spotted a man on the library steps.  It was an automatic response, as one does with someone new and different catches your eye.  Constable McKinney’s cautionary statement had her feeling edgy.

She immediately filled Maggy in on the day and Maggy in turn told her about the eerie feelings she’d had earlier spotting the guy on the library steps.  Their discussion confirmed it was probably the same man but when they turned to look he’d vanished.

“I don’t know how long he was out there.  I didn’t see him earlier.  I’ll have to ask Shawna.”

Their next stop was the grocery store.  Maggy couldn’t shake the feeling of unease that persisted, even though she hadn’t spotted anyone unusual.

Hauling the groceries inside they glanced at each other and said, ‘Moe’s’.  Maggy made a production out of rolling up her sleeves before dialing to order two chicken souvlaki roll-ups and Caesar salads.  Then they put the groceries away and flopping onto the sofa Maggy said, “Man I’m glad you agreed.  I’m just not into cooking tonight.”

“No, nor was I.”

“Want to see what’s on TV, perhaps a movie?”

“Sure, whatever you like.”

Since they were comfortably settled, Porsche hopped up and rubbed against Cassy’s hand. He quickly settled himself across her lap demanding attention.  “Hello beautiful.”  Cassandra absently patted him as the movie played.  He gently nipped her fingers and she let him relax into sleep as they watched  the movie and he moved when dinner arrived.

Both Cassandra and Maggy felt equally unsettled. Cassandra woke feeling exhausted; she’d slept poorly in part because her eyes bothered her and as a result of the constables warning which kept playing over and over in her mind. Porsche lifted his head eyeing her sudden movements to mew so quietly she barely heard him.  She reached out and gently ruffled his fur before rising.  “Hey baby cat, you interested in breakfast?”  He jumped off the bed and padded down the stairs beside her.  Cassandra carried on with her usual morning routine, giving Porsche fresh water and filling his food bowl even before making coffee.

Maggy noted Cassandra’s pale cheeks and remarked, “Doesn’t seem as though you got much sleep either.”

Cassandra explained her troubled night and Maggy surprisingly agreed, “Same and I can’t exaplain it.  There’s something about this whole situation that has me feeling uneasy.  There was something about that guy on the library steps that just felt off.  After the Constable’s cautionary words, well,” she left the sentenced unfinished.

“Your next appointment is in two days away, isn’t it?”

“How is your boss with all the time off?”

“I’ve got plenty of vacation time coming.”

“Well this isn’t a vacation, running up and down island, looking after me.”

“It’s ok by me, Cassy, really!”

Maggy kept her eyes peeled for anything unusual until they reached the shop.  She didn’t feel any less anxious though.

Later, while dressing and changing the window, Cassy had Shawna kept tabs on the library steps in case he returned.  Thankfully, the next two days flew by without incident and they relaxed into the new routine.

Dr. Jamison greeted her with a warm smile, “How are the drops working?”

“Painful, very painful.  I don’t know if the cure is any better than the disease at this point.”  A sympathetic look crossed is face.

“Other than difficulty with the drops, have you noticed any new developments?”

“I’m not really sure, Dr. Jamison.  What is the prognosis, my vision certainly hasn’t changed, it’s a day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute scenario.  I don’t know what to make of it.”

“Your eyes playing tricks on you?” he asked.

“Is that how you see it?” she asked.

“These trips are playing havoc with my business and our lives.”

“Cassandra, it’s essential that you keep up regular appointments!  This disease is eye-sight threatening.”

Chapter 3

“Stunned, she stared silently.  His words made no sense.  “What did you say?”  She continued to stare at him as though he’d grown two heads.

“Your test results are in and unfortunately, they were inconclusive.  We’re going to have to do another scraping to narrow the disease down.”

“Oh god no.”

“I’m sorry.  I know it’s painful, Cassandra, but it’s essential. In order to heal your eyes we have to find an answer to treat you effectively.  In the meantime, we’re going to change your drops and try something else.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I believe what you have is called Acanthameoba.  The lab’s attempts at growing the scrapings has been unsuccessful so far.  This disease has become problematic due to contact lenses and poor maintenance.  However, we checked your solution as well as your contacts when you were here last.  They were clean.” He paused thoughtfully then continued, “Another possibility would be through contaminated water. Have you had any accidents?  Was something splashed in your eyes?”


“Acanthameoba is not transmittable it had to be introduced directly.” He paused before continuing, “This is primarily a third world country disease and the odds of it surviving are astronomical because since it cannot survive in cold climates.”

“Then how did I get it?”

“That’s one of the issues I’m trying to ascertain.”

“There has been some progress, your right eye has healed quite well. The drops I am giving you now are primarily for maintenance.”

“The left eye has progressed to a 17% ulceration ratio, which is a great improvement but we aren’t there yet.”

“I’m relieved to hear that.” Her remarked was echoed on a sigh of relief.

“It is a good sign, although it should have progressed faster than this.  Still, I am considerably relieved,” he informed her.

“Continue these new drops as before, every hour.  We will re-evaluate on Friday when you come back.”

“Should anything change, call me and get back here immediately.  Here are my pager number and cell numbers. I am giving these to you because of the distance involved and because I know you won’t abuse the privilege.”

“I don’t know what to say. This is distressing news.  I have never had trouble with my eyes and I take care of my contacts.  This seem completely implausible, though obviously possible.  I simply don’t understand how this could have happened.”

Next Blindsided 17                                                                Previous  Blindsided 11


Blindsided 11

“The Doctor was rather vague but it will require regular trips a couple times a week to his office down island.”

“You might have to cover solo… think you can handle that?”

“Sure, sure I can!” Shawna assured her, excited at the prospect.

“Um, you’ve already ordered for the season, so when the stock arrives, all I have to do is tag it and hang it out.”

“Wow, this could be exciting, hell it is exciting.”

“I was thinking of opening the yogurt bar a little sooner than expected too….what do you think?”

“I think that’s a wonderful idea!”

“I’ve been considering hiring a university student to assist….you could teach her the ropes.”

“Yeah, that’ll look good on my resume….hey, why not a guy?  I could have some real fun with that.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you could, Shawna, but guys aren’t interested in baby clothes.”  Cassandra laughed heartily.

“Yeah, I suppose….darn.  It was a delightful fantasy while it lasted.” Her laughter was lighthearted and full of fun.

Cassandra couldn’t help smiling.  Why did Shawna make her feel so old? she mused.  She wasn’t old, not yet anyway.

“I need your assistance with the email and inventory.  Can you check to see what we received so far?  I’m expecting a few announcements on Baby Gap and….”

“Absolutely, I’ll get started right away.  Oh did you set the till up or?”

“No, not yet, I can’t see well enough I’m afraid.”

“Right.  I’ll do that first then.”

“I’ll be right there….just want to finish cleaning up.”

It only took a few minutes to organize the till and receipt books for the day.  Shawna made herself comfortable in front of the computer and began reading, “Wow you have dozens of emails.  Never knew you were so popular,” she quipped.  “Who is your mystery lover?”

“What are you talking about?”  Cassandra called out.

“You have at least a dozen emails from a guy calling himself ‘mystery man’; just wanted to ask before I opened them in case they are personal.”

“Open them.  I don’t know any mystery man and this is a working computer.  I use my laptop at home for personal stuff.  This one is strictly for business!” she replied from the bathroom.

“You’d better come take a look at this.  It’s weird Cassandra.”

“I’ll be there in a minute, have to do the drops.”  Cassandra put in the first of the drops stamping her feet and gritting her teeth; god they hurt so much!  Every time she used them she clenched her teeth to prepare for the pain that would follow.  Each set of drops more painful than the last, she could only describe the results as hot coals attached to knives scraping her eyebalsl.  It was excruciatingly painful. Waiting for the pain to subside and she could get her breath back curiosity got the better of her and she had to ask, “What does it say, what’s so weird about it?”

“It says, ‘Your mine!’ and it looks like blood dripping in tears across the page.”

Next  Blindsided 12 – 16                                                                       Previous Blindsided 10

Blindsided 10

Picking up the phone, she hit speed dial and a sleepy voice said, “Hello?

“Hey, sleepy-head, how are you?”

“Oh man, I got off work at the Hotel at about two am this morning….ugh….”

“I hate to askbut I could really use your help today, even if it’s for a little while….” Cassandra said, a hopeful note in her voice.

“Yeah, sure, can we make it 10:00 though?  Bye the time I wake up, shower and get a coffee, I’ll be alert enough to be of some assistance, I think.”

“Wonderful, Shawna, thank you.  That was what I was counting on.  See you then.”

Cassandra wandered downstairs to the fridge and took out her drops and after using them, created a graph to record the times and drops she’d used.  She wasn’t about to risk healing her eyes to chance. The store was a busy place and she didn’t want to risk becoming distracted or forgetting altogether.  Feeling a boost in confidence, she stuffed the paper into her pocke.

“Cassandra, you ‘bout ready?  I made your favourite . . . coffee . . .” mirthful laughter sounded from below.

“I’ll be right down!”  Cassandra promised knowing full well Maggy was the coffee guru and smiled delightedly.

While choosing a co-ordinating outfit it dawned on Cassy that she couldn’t see colour not even shades a daunting realization.

“How’d you sleep?”

“Not bad considering, how about you?”

“Like a dream.”


“And what a dream…hmhm.”

“Dare I ask?”  Cassandra quipped.

“Sure, but this one is too good to share….sorry,” Maggy winked.

“Ook then!” Cassandra chuckled.

“Could you drop me off at work today?  I can grab a cab home after….”

“Sure, and no, you will not grab a cab, I’ll be a few minutes late, but I’ll be there.”


They sat down to a quick breakfast of fruit yogurt and sprinkling of granola and almonds sipping coffee both studiously dismissing the concern at hand.

After refilling Porsche’s dish and replenishing his water she collected her drops and placed them in a baggy with ice.  Snagging her purse and briefcase along with a bagged lunch, Maggy placed the few dishes they’d used in the dishwasher and they left.

Maggy started rolling forward, waving then waited until Cassy was safely inside.   Normally Maggy would have turned right, but a sudden movement on the library steps caught her attention.   Noting the man staring intently at Cassy’s store with an inordinate interest she turned left instead making a quick and unexpected u-turn to drive slowly past him.

He ducked his head into a package and she couldn’t see his face.  Because she’d already made her interest obvious, she used the rear view mirror instead. The backward facing baseball cap, effectively covered his hair and he was decked out in unusually warm clothes for the weather which caught her attention. If asked she couldn’t explain why she found him unsettling or why she was toubled by his presence.  She wasn’t usually antsy nor edgy.

It was a small town, someone new immediately stood out whether it was their car or person and it was a tourist town.  Having said that, she still couldn’t let it go and decided to call Cassy later to find out whether she’d noticed him lurking around the viscinity of her store.

Cassandra waved turned and awkwardly made her way down the row of clothes racks into bathroom where she flipped on the interior lights awaiting Shawna’s arrival.

First things first meant getting the till ready.  She hoped it had balanced on Saturday when Shawna was because with her vision as is, she couldn’t do anything about it.  Damn!

It was frustrating as hell – peering at her store, unable to see the lilac and lime green borders or matching  the pegboards or the items that hung on them.  Her imagination filled in the wire spools sanded and painted both colours.  She was hardpressed to see the picket fencing standing against windiws with baby clothes draped on hangers.  Although she cold see the  outfits that hung over the doweling between the windows, she couldn’t have said what colour or size they were.  Her memory filled in the rest.

Black and silver hanging units slotted into the pegboard on the walls, and sectioned off into age groups.  Metal racks stood evenly spaced for effortless maneuvering so little fingers couldn’t access the clothing or pull them down.

The back of the store was divided into two equal parts.  The left corner, a play area for toddlers and youngsters housing a pretty little play house, gymn and reading nook with plenty of books and toys for all ages.  The play area was a stroke of genius in reality as parents could monitor their children, but were free to shop, undisturbed.

Book shelves acted as dividers between the play and eating areas which was spacious enough to house the spools acting as table along with washable plastic chairs. The two smaller spools for tots were covered with blackboard paint and a ready supply of chalk stood in a cubby she’d stapled to the side of the table.

The opposite side of the ell contained her cash register and supplies for tagging and marking along with specially designed bags for advertising purposes.   Her desk, computer, filing cabinets catalogues and paperwork stood behind the other shelving, well hidden from view of customers.

The existing bathroom had been re-plumbed and other than a fresh paint job, the only other addition she added was a six foot silver framed mirror and hooks on one side for customers use while trying on the clothes.

Part of the joy of owning the shop was creating eye-catching displays, re-working the existing, and especially the regular customers who had come to rely on her expertise.

As an agent for several big name brands, she ordered dresses and outfits for a  recent addition for teens and grads but quickly becoming popular for weddings as well.  Gorgeous gowns and even little tuxes for babies hung side by side now greatly in demand.

She sighed deeply.  She’d worked so desperately hard for this and for the first time since she’d opened shop, felt nervous.  If these eye sight issue persisted would she be able to continue, and if not, what then?

Shawna arrived a half hour later and one look at Cassandra had her asking, “What the hell happened to you?”

“Not really sure…listen, I may have to take some time off if this doesn’t get better soon, are you up for some full time work?  I know we talked about July and August, but I may need you sooner….”

“Yeah, sure….I’m only working a couple of graveyard shifts at the Hotel, I can handle it.”

“So what’s going on?”

Next   Blindsided 11                                                                             Previous Blindsided 9

Blindsided 6

“I take it this is just during waking hours?”

“Yes, waking hours only.”

“I don’t believe in patches…so we’ll leave your eyes uncovered.”

“Here’s my card.  You have a standing appointment tomorrow.  I’ll let my staff know in advance to expect you.”  They left the hospital before Cassandra realized she’d forgotten to ask about pain killers.  Hopefully, Tylenol would do the trick.

“Are you hungry, do you want to get something to eat?”  Maggy asked, “’Cause frankly, I’m starving!”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“First, let’s find a place for the night.  We can either order from room service, or I can run out and get us something to eat, whichever you prefer.”

They checked into the Best Western on Cliff Avenue.  After receiving their plastic keys followed the directions to their room which was decorated in soothing browns creams and rich mahogany woods.

Maggy decided to do some scouting.  Cassandra relaxed on the bed trying to think of something anything other than her eyes.  Still her mind wandered back to how this could have happened, and what in fact, this, was.

When she returned, Maggy informed her, “The restaurant isn’t open until after 6:00 so I’ve taken the liberty of ordering from the pub.”

Plopping down on the chair in front of the desk, Maggy asked, “Are you interested in a drink?”

“The room isn’t too bad, hey?”

“Yeah, it’s fine,” Cassandra agreed.

“Not much of a view, though,” Maggy sniffed.

“What?  No eligible bachelors in sight?”  Cassandra smirked.

“Droll, very droll.”

“Well, at this point, I’m ok with that,” Cassandra joked.

Within fifteen minutes their order arrived which Maggy placed on the desk.  “Here, come, sit, eat.  I’m going to turn on the TV and eat on the bed, if you don’t mind.”


“Wow, delicious.”  On any other occasion she might have agreed, but food wasn’t high on her priority list at the moment.

She covered her eyes in turn, first the right then the left.  There was a marked difference in the vision in both eyes.  With her right eye, everything was dark, while with the left, all she could see were dark and light images surrounded by a halo, as if she were looking through layers and layers of crumpled cellophane.  Consequently Cassy felt both vulnerable and scared. Since she’d always been a positive person, she was confident the doctor would assess and correct the damage to her eyes.  Still she couldn’t quite dismiss the feelings of dread and trepidation that lurked on the edges of her mind.

Next   Blindsided 7                                                                            Previous  Blindsided 5

Blindsided 5

Afater the three hour drive along Highway 19, they arrived at Comox waterfront, which had blossomed into a delightful resort-like area with a population of around 12,000.  It was a pretty little place, with plenty of accommodations from hotels to B&B’s with a varied compliment of entertainment.  Thankfully Maggy knew the area well, so it didn’t take long to find the hospital.  She dropped Cassandra at the front entrance and went to find a parking spot.

Maggy hustled back to join Cassandra ushering her inside and assisted in filling out the required forms at reception to the waiting room as instructed.  Unable to read, Cassy  stared at the floor her legs bouncing.  She couldn’t quite sit still.

“Well champ, first hurdle overcome.  I parked, right next to a fab car…maybe there’s a fab man to go with it,” she snickered.  “If he’s totally rad, he’s mine, if not, he’s yours…as the instigator, I get first dibs.”

Cassandra chuckled, ”I have to go on your word since I can’t see straight, but if your pulling my leg and I end up with a fat old bald guy, there will be hell to pay!” she kidded.

“Do you want me to go in with you?”

“I’m feeling unusually rattled so I’d appreciate it, Maggy.   I feel like my brain leaked out my ears.  I can’t seem to keep things straight.”

The waiting room was quiet blues and greens the middle of the floor taken up by a huge coffee table littered with books and magazines.  The walls were lined with modular chairs.  Everyone sat dutifully avoiding eye contact.

Nearly an hour passed before the doctor arrived to usher them into a small room containing a variety of equipment.

Dr. Jamison was of average height, and slim build, 30 – 35 she guessed, with brown hair and eyes.  He introduced himself, and sat down in front of her on a stool. “Ok, lean forward Ms. Jeffreys and I’ll have a quick look.”

“I have to put these drops in your eyes.  Things will be orange for a while so don’t be surprised if your tears change colour.”

Cassandra didn’t move a muscle.  He played with the equipment adjusting here and there.

“How did this happen?” He asked, sitting back in his chair.  Cassandra explained she had no idea but brought him up to speed on what she’d done so far.  His perturbed and somewhat confused look did nothing to reassure her. Clearly he was concerned even mystified.

“I’m going to have some drops made up in the hospital pharmacy.  You’ll need to put them in every hour until I see you again tomorrow in my office.”

“Can you tell me what’s going on?”

“You have several problems.  None of which make sense.  So we’re going to try these drops to see how it goes.  That’s why I need to see you again tomorrow.  We may have to make some adjustments and switch the drops to something else.”

“Sit back and try to relax, I’m going to freeze your eyes to take some scrapings to send them to the lab. Hopefully we’ll find out exactly what we’re dealing with.”

Since the morphine was still active, she didn’t flinch.  He knew this was going to hurt for several hours if not days.  Maggy, watching over his shoulder, winced instead.

They both waited expectantly for an explanation. “You have ulcers covering a small portion of your right eye, about seventeen percent; which is causing the pain and blurred vision. However, the real concern is the left eye; the ulceration covers more than fifty percent and is undoubtedly far more painful.  I’m not even going to try and map it!“

At her baffled look he continued, “Our eyes are usually very well protected so it’s extremely rare for bacteria or a foreign agent to infiltrate and cause damage.  However, since the top layer of your eye is no longer in-tact, with over 55 percent of your eye exposed, a microbe has managed to get inside.  The scrapings will assist us in determining what type of foreign agent it is so we can treat it accordingly.”

“Your contacts have done a number on you.” He added, sending an indecipherable and quirky smile her way as he rose to leave.  The perplexed look she understood only too well; since it mirrored her own feelings on the matter. ”I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“What do you think he means, Cassy?”

“I don’t have the vaguest idea.  Something tells me he doesn’t either.”

“I am always very careful with my contacts, always have been, they come into direct contact with my eyes.”

“So I’m confused…if he thinks you got something in your eye from of contacts, then, how and when did it happen and what was it?”

“I don’t know.” And frankly, Cassandra didn’t care!  She felt too confused and detached to think clearly much less come up with answers to questions she hadn’t thought of.

When Dr. Jamison returned, he was carrying two types of drops.  “I’ll put these in now, and then in an hour, you must add them again.  They are very both fragile and perishable so must keep them on ice or refrigerated.”

Blindsided 4

Although she’d tried golf, and hated that little white ball with a passion, she’d often directed other to Seven Hills Golf & Country Club where nine holes of spectacular golf for real golfing enthusiasts, was available.  There were many amusing anecdotes regarding golfers.  Some had chartered a planes from both down south and Alaska in order to play this course.  The operative word, attempting, for some had not been challenged by the little white ball’s trajectory but golfing bears.

Cape Scott Provincial Park, one of the wildest, windiest, most woebegone locales in the province offered its own set of challenges. Journeying to Brooks Peninsula was only for those whose mettle has been tested by repeated exposure to the bellows and blasts of nature in the raw.

Lately, according to Maggy, storm watching had become the thing to do.  It was exciting, but dangerous.  Only the “hardy” attempted storm watching during winter months, for the winds could reach a registered 210 miles per hour.  It was believed the winds probably went higher but that was what was recorded before the equipment broke during one windy altercation.

Some of her best photography was taken at Brooks Peninsula and hung proudly on her walls. After securing a guide, she and Maggy eagerly set off.  A sudden and unexpected storm blew in, trapping them for three days before letting up.  She’d captured spectacular photos of the waves, the scenery, their little group huddling around a fire over which they’d taken turns in a constant vigil for warmth.  It had been scary and spectacular.

She’d driven every logging road the north end of the island offered.  Photography was a passion; she had scrap books full of beautiful scenery, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, even some of the local wildlife, surrounded by its natural habitat. She longed for her camera and the peace and tranquility of trudging through underbrush to capture the next illusive picture for her collection.

Local tour operators dazzled visitors with an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities including spectacular marine life consisting of Orcas, Grey whales, Humpbacks, Minke whales, Sea lions, and Harbour seals, to a large variety of birds from Eagles to Herons and Puffins.  For the more adventurous at heart, there were Grizzly and Black bear tours.

Her first whale watching trip had blown her away.  Seeing the grace and beauty of Orcas traveling in pods had captivated her and was the impetus for her introduction into painting.  She’d gone to the craft store and bought supplies and begun painting, whales, seals, eagles, and gulls on sea shells after cleaning and curing them.

What’s more they were very good.  She was good.  A talent she’d inherited from her grandmother and which she’d never indulged in or knew she had.

Would she ever participate in any of these activities again she wondered?  The thought saddened and impelled her.  This was not going to be the end of it for her.  She was determined to fighter harder than ever to overcome this incident for lack of a better word.

Next Blindsided 5                                                                           Previous


Blindsided 3

“Oh, god, Maggy, the pain is worse…just unbearable and the morphine hasn’t kicked in…I thought it was under control, but I guess not,” she whimpered.

“What can I do?  Do you want to go back to the hospital?”

“No.  I just have to make it through until the morphine hits…oh my god, oh my god…”  she stood and paced; Maggy stood helplessly watching, half afraid Cassandra would bump into something or fall, as she weaved back and forth, apparently without any sense of balance.  She wanted to pace right along with her.

Another half hour elapsed before Cassandra seemed more comfortable.  “I’m going to try to sleep,” she declared before heading upstairs to bed.  Maggy turned out the lights and checked the alarm system before making herself comfortable in the guest room all the while thinking the whole situation was totally bizarre.  Shaking her head, she reached out to set the alarm for 7:30 before sliding into pj’s and turning out the lights.

The alarm hadn’t gone off as yet but she heard Cassandra rummaging around.  Still sleep drugged, she dragged herself downstairs to see how she was doing.  Coffee was already made.

“Mmm mmm mmm, the elixir of life!”  Cassandra grinned.

“I hope you’re not too insulted; Porsche came and slept with me last night.”

Cassandra looked down at Porsche, “You traitor, what’s up with that?”  She patted the top of his head, ruffled his fur along his neck.  “Yeah, you’re a rascal alright.  You’re your own master, aren’t you, Porsche?”  Her black Chantilly cat with the gorgeous gold eyes, her Halloween cat as she fondly described him, looked up at her and purred, rubbing up against her legs.

“How are you?”

Reaching down to give him an affectionate pat she replied, “The morphine hasn’t worn off but it will soon, so I figured it might be a good idea if I got showered, dressed and packed to go before that happens.”

“Hey, all I need is a cup of that incredible coffee of yours and I’m set.”  Cassandra laughed as she was meant to.

The nurse on duty was prepared with a shot of the wonder drug ready for her, so she slipped her jeans down over her right hip and it was done.

Getting back into the car Maggy asked, “What do you think happened?” as they drove through the hospital entrance and turned toward the highway.

“I don’t know, I’ve been having troubles for a while.  I went to emergency a couple of weeks ago because my eyes hurt, enough to get my attention anyway.  The left one felt scratched or cut. The doctor on call gave me some drops and said if it wasn’t better in three days, to come back, but that the drops should do the trick.”

“She told me and had a nurse wash my eyes out with saline, now, this!”

Since they were about to lose radio reception, Maggy turned the SAT on instead.

Cassandra loved life; quietly, deliberately, joyously.  Not with a wild-eyed free-for-all kind of joy, but mostly relating to achievement both hers and that of others. She was always delighted by other’s success as much as her own and supported close friends, family and assisted anyone who required it, no matter how it came about.  Because, success usually required work, hard work, commitment and plenty of both.  So, pain aside, this was but a bump in the road.  Or so she thought.

As they drove along, she thoughts drifted to life in her small town with a population of just over 4500.  Perhaps because it was so isolated (three hours from the next largest center) it meant there were few secrets here. The streets were filled with familiar faces.  Lives intertwined here.  There was an understood sense of cooperation along with a real sense of caring and support for anyone in need or in trouble. It was home.  There was safety here.

The town slogan was “Where the Highway Ends & Adventure Begins!”  Port Hardy really was the gateway to many eco – adventures, from Kayaking, either guided or self-guided day tours, with Port Hardy serving as the launch point for spectacular paddling areas that appealed to all skill levels.  From Beaver Harbour and its sheltered islands, to rugged Cape Scott with kilometers of sandy beaches – to the archipelago of islands stretching across to the mainland, the diversity was truly as amazing as it was compelling.

What could be more awe-inspiring than paddling with the Orcas or surfboarding on a wave at Raft Cove or San Josef Bay or perhaps canoeing at one of many lakes enjoying all the quiet solitude the north end of the island offered!

She hadn’t tried white-water rafting or spelunking due to her claustrophobia which precluded that possibility so she’d settled for photographs of Little Huston Caves.  And she knew there were other more adventurous alternatives with local guides as well.