It was an accident
Sixty years ago, I lost my left eye in a sword fighting accident. If you have a few minutes, I’ll tell you how it happened:
My brother, Gregory, and I share the same birthday, only a year apart. On my ninth and his tenth birthday, our parents gave us books: Treasure Island and The Count of Monte Cristo.
One afternoon, Gregory and I decided to act out a scene from The Count of Monte Cristo. Gregory made swords by straightening a couple of wire coat hangers. We both wore cloaks by tying the sleeves of sweatshirts around our necks. I remember we argued as to which of us would be the Count. Gregory won the argument.
“You can’t be the Count,” he reasoned. “You’re a girl.”
Gregory had a point, so I invented the Countess of Rosebush: the Count’s arch enemy. I dressed the part by wearing a mask and a yellow rose pinned in my hair.
Gregory and I sword fought one another, click-clacking our swords together and laughing as we dueled in the mid-day sun. From time to time, we had to pause from our fencing to rehabilitate our swords—clothes hanger wire, we discovered, bends easily.
As we wildly swung our swords, the tip of Gregory’s punctured my left eye. I fell to the ground. Gregory ran into the house, screaming hysterically for our parents. I was rushed to the hospital, but nothing could be done to save my eye; it was replaced with a glass one.
Gregory’s and my horsing around was an accident waiting to happen, and indeed, I am certain as you read this, you knew it would happen. I never blamed Gregory for the accident. It could have just as easily been the Countess who blinded the Count.