Behind the Story: "I Wish I Could See You"
It feels like forever since she could see.
A lot of it didn't make sense to anyone. We brought Panda to the vet, they said there was no fixing her unless we paid to perform surgery on her small head, and look inside her brain to see the swollen nerves leading to her eyes—the eyes she used to see all of us when she could. The same eyes that shone when she was fed, played with, and hugged. It wasn't going to be like that anymore.
For the past half-year, Panda sat in her corner of the kitchen, away from the others to prevent any quarrels between the other dogs who desperately wanted to see her. I could see it in her eyes how lonely she was, how much she wished to know why she couldn't play anymore. She carefully tiptoed out of the kitchen to the living room and immediately scurried back to her bed, afraid of what she couldn't see in front of her—afraid of her family who waited for her, cheering her on with open arms.
When Panda was young, she was abandoned. She was left on the counter of the pet store my mother worked at, shivering with fear and hope that someone would take her. She was hungry, messy, and in need of a family.
Panda was most likely abused as a puppy. She pulled away every time we showed affection to her until she began to come to us. She grew a special connection with my father, always wanting to crawl onto his lap and sleep. Oh, how she loved to sleep.
Then one day, once she fell asleep, she couldn't open her eyes.
I'm sure she tried. I'm sure she tried so hard.
Panda still looks around the room when someone gets close, reaching for their presence after being left alone for hours. She takes trips outside for air to breathe after suffocating by herself—alone in a pitch-black hole of nothing. She tilts her head when she hears her name being called, she pushes her head against our hands as we gently scratch her ears. She's still the same dog we've loved for ten years—and I'm sure that will never change.
I Wish I Could See You came to me in an instant. I visualized what it would feel like to be drained of color—to not see my loved ones in front of me. To be blocked in an everlasting maze of the things I couldn't see while I begged and prayed that I could open my eyes for a second. I wanted to feel how Panda felt. I wanted to share her pain, to desperately wish for something I once had like she does every second of the day.
Everyone said that she doesn't know what's happening. I don't believe that. Panda is unlike any dog I've ever known, and I know inside of her that she hasn't given up because she knows what's happening to her. Her tail hasn't wagged in six months and she hasn't run with a ball in a year. Still, I know that she's still there.
As much as she wishes she could see us, I hope we can too.