The C Chronicles
CLARA FIGHTMASTER and CAROLINE WILLE

“Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”
—Immanuel Kant


Dear C,

You say you are blind yet you still look me in my eyes. You avoid every physical obstacle that comes your way and use your cellphone to communicate just like everybody else. Bull shit you’re blind. You would not be the first person I’ve met to have made up frivolous stories in order to receive attention from their peers. In eighth grade I thought that persuading everyone that I had mono would instantly make me the most interesting person at Perry Hall Middle. Of course rumor had it that I had died but as soon as my ghost appeared three weeks later, the hype ended. You are pathetic C. If I were to fake punch you, you would sway in avoidance but then ask if I felt a breeze. If I were to lay my foot in front of you as you were walking, you would step over it, but then say lifting your feet higher keeps you stabilized when the floor is slippery. Except the floor isn’t slippery. If I held two fingers up and asked you how many I was holding, you would hesitate, like a businesswoman walking through the streets in heels right before approaching a puddle, and you would say three because that is the correct answer. Nevertheless, further investigation is needed.


Dear C,

You are one of the first people who really sees me for who I am. I wish I could place small wanted signs across campus. They would read in chicken scratch that some blind girl was searching for a friend. I could have said I had my doubts about you, but then again, I probably was not seeing the truth. There is that great thing again. It’s called sight. I met you on the first day of class. I did not mean to sit next to you, but it was fate I guess. You seemed nice, I had only questioned the choice I had made after hearing you say, “I’m a nursing major.” I could provide this great description of how you appeared to me in that moment, but then again what is the point in that? One might automatically assume that I have sight. It was not until later that I knew you were able to perceive more than I ever could.


Dear C,

All you need to see from your visual field test is what you can’t see. Although this image resembles the results of your test, I feel more deserving of its devastation. In a nutshell, the black is where you cannot see and the lighter areas reflect some vision, although not great. You are 90 percent blind and worsening. I am 100 percent a jerk, however.


Dear C,

You were there. You provided a distraction. This was the day I learned that you are not just a future nurse, you are a friend. I once asked my classmates if any of them wanted to attend my annual eye doctor appointment and you were the only one who seemed eager to tag along. This was the day. You arrived much earlier than I did. You conquered the task of sitting in that dingy waiting room. We spoke of our lives, shared secrets, and laughed over cheesy television shows. You endured the terrible nurse that did not understand my condition. You learned new words with me on this day. You helped me more than a friend ever had.


Dear C,

As I got to know you better I realized that everything that had ever gone wrong in my life meant so little. People always say that we should take our most difficult experiences and grow from them, but how can one grow when there is no seed to be sown? You are blind and there is no growing from that. Yet vision may expand as far as the eye can see.


Dear C,
You say there is no growth in blindness, that a seed cannot be sown, but to be honest this is not true. I may be blind but I would be pulling the bullshit card. I have truly grown. I have learned how to tell others when I need help. I have become a much stronger person due to my lack of sight. When I mean strength I mean hauling a gigantic Christmas tree up a flight of stairs on my own. It had to be at least 10 or 12 feet. This was something I probably should not have attempted on my own. The best part was figuring out the pieces of the tree and placing them on the stand and fitting them together. That was a moment of trial and error.


Dear C,

You are a ninja. You could kick my ass, yet I could never make a dent in a piñata blindfolded. How could you hit the targets on command? I do not understand. You made it look so easy but every time I tried to kick the practice pads I found gravity pulling my leg back down to the ground. I learned that Korean is the primary language in Tai Kwon Do however, to me, it felt like we were soldiers preparing for battle, one that would surely end in a bloody mess. Even while practicing, no real battles taking place, you knew exactly where to target your strength. I missed 70 percent of the targets. That’s with strong visual concentration.


Dear C, 

It is a surprising intellect, allowing for the blind to teach the sighted. I coaxed you into participating in the ways of kicking and punching. I only taught half the class until the higher ranks were present. We ran through the basic kicks and worked on the basic form. It was a pattern of ours. The blind and the sighted learn from one another. Paddle drills are my favorite even though I am fearful of hitting the target or not. You did not hit every target, but showed strength and stamina. You may have struggled but you continued with pride.

That is a funny aspect of being blind. People have assumptions and are sometimes 100 percent jerks, but for you and I this was nonexistent. I wish I could find more friends like you within this world. Someone to share his or her eyes with you. Someone to empathize. A friend of mine once spoke of nursing, she had said that as a nurse you are taught to empathize, not sympathize.


Dear C, 

My dream is to be a nurse someday. As I progress in my very early studies, I wonder if it could ever be possible to help those with retinitis pigmentosa regain vision. You tell me all we can rely on is stem cell research. My logical brain wishes it could transfer a copy of my good retina gene over to you, but my inner nurse knows this is not possible. How could a precious gift like sight be deprived from such a driven, kind, caring person such as you? It is not fair.


Dear C,

I know when we had experienced our first encounter together that you did not believe I was blind. Well, what’s new? No one ever really thinks I am blind. I do not walk with a cane and I do not wear those rose-colored glasses that everyone thinks the blind have to wear. Don’t worry, you can call bullshit on me whenever you consider it necessary. I promise you, the more time you spend with me, the more you will begin to notice. You will begin to notice how much distance I keep when following another person, you will begin to notice how I feel the floor with my feet in different areas, and you will begin to see the truth.








CLARA FIGHTMASTER is a graduate from Northern Kentucky University. She is legally blind and suffers from a progressive eye disease known as retinitisis pigmatosis. Fightmaster has a passion for writing and martial arts. She has won two national titles and one international title for para taekwondo. 

CAROLINE WILLE just finished her first year of nursing school at Northern Kentucky University and is studying to become a nurse anesthetist. She is from Baltimore. Aside from her passion for nursing, she has always enjoyed expressing creativity through language. It has been a privilege and an inspiration to work alongside Clara. 


In August 2017, Clara and Caroline met in an Honors Creative Nonfiction class titled “Patient, Provider, and Writer.” Students were asked to observe someone or someplace related to healthcare, and to write about their experience.

Clara and Caroline decided to observe each other. They knew this was going to be a difficult challenge. One girl is blind with a strong passion for writing, and the other a sighted nursing student with the desire to learn about patients from their personal experiences. One girl has an unlimited imagination with the power to create stories that require no eyes; the other girl can see, but struggles to imagine past the black and white, past what is plainly one thing or another.










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ISSN: 1533 2063
SUMMER 2018