Your Lens

The sound of a chime box fills Sally’s ears with peaceful, soothing music as Dr. Herring pulls the phoropter up to her face and asks her to look through and say when Sally can see her mommy standing in front of her.

“There she is, YEAH!” Sally says joyfully

“You can see your mommy?”

“Yep. And she’s beautiful!”

Dr. Herring looks over at Sally’s mom whose eyes start to well up with tears.

It was just a few weeks ago that Sally was screaming through the house in a fit of frightened rage because everything she looked at appeared to be ugly and infected with maggots. Sally had knocked down the family portrait in the hallway, grabbed a box of crayons and was scrawling all over the portrait. When Sally’s mom came up stairs to see what the commotion was about, she was livid and started yelling at Sally.

Sally’s two sisters peaked their heads out from the other room. They had been hiding from Sally because they knew Sally was going through one of her outbursts. Sally would just go into seemingly random outbursts of rage and try to destroy everything in her path, and mom would react in the only way she knew how. Anger.

They weren’t sure what was scarier: mom’s anger or Sally’s outbursts. Sally’s mom wasn’t sure what she feared more either. Which is why she knew she had to take Sally to see Dr. Herring.

Dr. Herring then rotates the lens on the phoropter. Sally screams!

“There are ants all over her face!”

Dr. Herring rotates the lens on the phoropter again. Sally screams again!

“She’s a monster! That’s not my mommy!”

Again, rotates the lens. Sally starts laughing.

“What do you see, Sally?”

“Mommy is wearing clown makeup.”

Sally’s mom laughs as she remembers back to the time she was putting makeup on Sally at Sally and her sisters’ insistence. She was going out on a date with her husband and had gone to the salon earlier that day to get her hair done. She had bought a dress earlier that week just for the occasion and was putting on her makeup with Sally entered the room. Not sure whether this was going to be a good experience or bad with Sally, she asked Sally how she thought mommy looked with all her makeup on.

Sally said she wanted to look beautiful just like her mommy. So, she asked Sally to come sit next to her on her stool in front of the vanity. Sally’s sisters peaked around the corner to watch the exchange. It was rare for Sally to not end up in a fit of rage when their parents were planning a night out, but Sally joyfully hummed as her mom put makeup on both of them.

The doctor rotates the lens one last time.


“Sally, do you see anything?”

“I see my mommy.”

“Is there anything different about your mommy?”

“No, she’s just my mommy. She looks normal.”

Dr. Herring looks up at Sally’s mom to see tears flowing from her eyes.

“Okay, Sally. I’m going to take the machine away from your face and then we’re going to try on some glasses.”

“I don’t like glasses.”

“I know, kiddo, but we’re just going to try these glasses on. You don’t have to wear them if you don’t want to.”


Dr. Herring lifts up an odd-looking pair of glasses with lenses that are nearly a full inch thick. There’s an unusual tint to the glasses as they make their way through the light and refract a the spectrum on the ground. Sally is mesmerized by the spectrum reflecting on the ground.

“They make their own rainbow!”

Dr. Herring and Sally’s mom smile at each other.

“Yes, Sally. These are magic glasses.” Dr. Herring says as Sally slips the glasses on to her face.

“I can’t see anything!” Sally screams!

“Really?” Dr. Herring looks at Sally’s mom and winks.

“Nope. Nothing. Looks like these aren’t the glasses for me.”

“Let’s try walking. Just walk forward, please.”

Sally takes two steps forward and then turns her head to the left and walks straight into the wall.

“Nope. These aren’t the glasses for me.”

Sally’s mom rolls her eyes, and Dr. Herring places pats her on the shoulder to reassure her that everything will be fine.

“Let’s try walking outside where there is more light. Hold my hand, and we’ll go outside.”

Sally extends her hand towards Dr. Herring and then starts waving it around as she pretends to not be able to see the doctor right in front of her.

“Where is your hand?”

“I’m right here, Sally.”

Sally touches Dr. Herring’s hand and nuzzles up to her hand. As they start walking towards the door, Sally lifts her head from Dr. Herring’s head and lifts her fingers.

“You have beautiful fingernails.”

“Thank you, Sally. My daughter just did my nails last night.”

“I mean, I would think you have beautiful fingernails if I could actually see them, but I can’t see anything.”

“Of course, dear.” Dr. Herring looks back over her shoulder at Sally’s mom and winks. Sally’s mom is shaking her head.


Dr. Herring stops Sally in front of a straight line painted on the ground. “Okay, Sally. I want you to walk in a straight line, please.”

“Okay, but I still can’t see anything.” Sally says as she stumbles and walks in circles along the straight line. “I’m really dizzy with these glasses on.”

Dr. Herring looks over at Sally’s mom who is now laughing as she watches the spectacle her daughter is putting on. Sally is stumbling and spinning in circles but all along the straight line.

“Okay, dear. You can come back now.”

Sally runs in a straight line towards Dr. Herring and hugs her. “See, these glasses just aren’t for me.”

“You are right, Sally. I think we need to find just the right pair of glasses for you.”

“Or I could just not have to wear glasses and be normal.”

Dr. Herring removes the glasses from Sally’s face and smiles at her.

Sally looks up and smile back at Dr. Herring whose face slowly becomes distorted in Sally’s vision. “Maybe I need the glasses?”

“Just for a bit, honey.”

Sally hugs Dr. Herring tighter. “I love you so much. Almost as much as my mommy.”