Kerry Kijewski sitting at a table with friends

I sit at breakfast, listening to all my new friends talking happily around me and drinking their coffee, all such talented and compassionate writers I’ve come to know over the last few days of this writing workshop – but something is wrong.

I am far from home and having the week of a lifetime, a transformative experience really, but I’m having one of my bad eye days and it’s only adding to all the emotions being here has brought to the surface. I cannot see the colours of this place, though I haven’t seen my beloved colours for many years now, words have become my lifeline. The familiarly dreaded blurriness and fatigue are back and my eyes feel that particular stinging and I can feel the tears starting to come. I must get away before that happens, fearing one of them will notice. How would I explain this?

I hide myself, out of the way of the goings on, but I don’t go far enough. My writing mentor and instructor of the class spots me and asks if I want to go outside and talk. I hesitate, but really I need to get outside so I can take a few breaths of the fresh Mexican air into my lungs.

After she has calmed me down, I have decided to include the group in what’s getting to me. I feel like I need to be honest with these people I have formed this bond with over our writing and our thoughts.

Once in the circle, I explain what’s going on, that my right eye sometimes feels tired and I fear I am losing the little sight I’ve had, which I’ve feared I was losing, slowly, for some years now.

They all listen intently. I explain that I am afraid I will be totally blind one day. I am emotional at that thought and also I am still in shock that I had the nerve to come so far by myself. The travel and the journey doesn’t end here. It’s just beginning, but it is exhausting sometimes.

I don’t know if I will lose it all in the years ahead. I am glad I had those people, in particular, on that day. I’ve never felt such a sense of relief like that to lay everything out there and have such understanding returned to me in kind.

Kerry Kijewski is a writer and a traveler with a bucket list that keeps growing and growing. You can follow her on Facebook ( and Twitter (@KKHerheadache).

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