I felt the first cut like a violation. Pain burst in my chest, would not cease. I screamed and screamed until my voice was raw. No. No. I never asked for this! I saw a priest lift out a bloody, pulsating thing dizzyingly high above me, and a sensation of emptiness spread from the hole in my chest and swallowed me.
Blindness taught me to use my other senses and trust in portents, balancing the evidence of sound, touch, smell and taste against the ambiguous suggestions I sometimes received in dreams or in waking. The Sisters praised God for granting me self-sufficiency even as they forbade me to speak of my ‘visions’ to strangers. Needless to say, when the king’s sister arrived in person on a warm morning in the early summer of my twelfth year, demanding to see their blind charge and claiming we had met in a dream, the Sisters were mightily confused.