As my vision deteriorates, I’ve become more sensitive to sound like the clanking of spoons on bowls, chewing, the drumming of fingers on a table – almost anything feels agonising.
It's Saturday so we have to do the grocery shopping, but I don't really feel up to it. On the other hand, if I stay in the house I think I will get even more discouraged. So, I decide to go.
As I'm getting dressed, the gardeners come to do the lawn. Oh no! The roar of the lawnmower feels maddening. I try to ignore it, but I can't seem to. I actually have to clasp my hands over my ears and close my eyes, but it doesn't help. It's also breezy outside and a door slams somewhere in the house, causing me to flinch.
Then, another door slams. I wince - it's almost painful.
What happens next is unavoidable because the sounds are too difficult for my mind to tolerate - they crash upon me, one after the other like huge waves pounding the shore and my body reacts. It breaks. Releasing its own waves of hot tears.
Somehow I manage to apply some make-up between sniffs and the dapping of tears - I’ve been practicing applying my makeup with one eye, but the tears make it more challenging.
As I enter Tesco, one of the employees notices my cane and says, "Struggling today?"
I can't recognise him, but I know he's wearing the blue uniform, so I turn towards the voice, smiling weakly, "Yes, I'm struggling today."
Even then my voice is trembling.
I want to cry. I try to shop instead. But I can't seem do it. It's too busy and much too noisy with Saturday shoppers. And a child’s screaming.
In fact, she seems to follow me wherever I go and I finally tell the kids that I have to sit down - they'll have to complete the shopping. Muna directs me to the blue chairs at the end of the checkout counter where I sit next to an elderly lady. I can tell because the face is framed by what I think is white hair.
I sit there clutching my cane between my knees and watching the blur of colours that are people. Wine bottles clank, the checkout machine beeps and beeps, idle chatter, the child's wails – they all seem to gather into one huge, tortuous wave and I can’t control the tears. They flood down my cheeks and settle behind my blue, aviator-style sunglasses.
I desperately need to go home.