One afternoon long ago, when I was taking in the world through the eyes of a 10-year-old, I wandered the fields behind Randallstown Elementary school, happily lost in the chaos of playground energy. Everywhere, every grade, every child — every impulse taking flight. Playing ball, fighting, running, chasing, channeling the power of inchoate sexual energy.
Suddenly there is an explosion in my left eye. I gingerly tap the closed lid and feel a clump of dirt that certainly does not belong there. Crumbs of soil and mica spill down my cheeks, as I hear the footfalls of kids scattering, fast becoming a distant, disappearing sound.
I want to rub the eye but I resist, knowing that I may tear the tender structures of the eye.
My mother is phoned and drives over to pick me up.
In the hospital emergency room, she whispers something I can’t quite make out, but as always, I sense the subtle, urgent panic hidden within her words, the remnants of the Camps internalized.
The doctor plucks the eye clean with a pair of tweezers. “Smart kid,” he says. “If you had rubbed this eye, you might not be using it anymore.” I smile, pleased. Good boy. My mother, not surprisingly, has a hard time hearing the good news through the darkness she’s already sent out into the future.
I wear an eye patch for a few weeks. Then all is well. I never find out who threw the dirt bomb.
In middle and high school, I struggle to maintain my grades. Then, in eleventh grade, a vision exam reveals that I need glasses. I’d been passing the tests by squinting with the bad eye, relying on the good eye, doing my best to get the test right.
The left eye — the one dirt-bombed — needs a significant correction, the right not so much. In the left eye there is a good deal of astigmatism, a misshapen eye. Misshaped when? I still wonder. Was it the result of the dirt bomb or was it that way all along?
* * *
The Akashic records are said to be an invisible cosmic library storing all actions and events that have ever occurred in time. The Akashic records don’t exist in this plane of reality. According to the ancient Hindus they are located in an in-between world, the place perhaps where we go when we shuffle off the mortal coil. The Akashic records could be a fiction, of course.
If I ever run across them, I will definitely look into the eye affair. I will see if the astigmatism was congenital or was caused by the dirt bomb. I will learn who threw it and what became of him, if he admitted the crime to anyone, and if he suffered guilt in seeing me wearing the eye patch. I will find out if karma resulted for him, and what it was.
I will get some answers.
I will also find out what happened to the dinosaurs. And Elvis.