Jacob and Evelyn sat close together on the cold wooden bench of the waiting chamber. Across from them was a family of four — a mother, a father, and two little girls. One girl clutched at her face with both hands, and the other stared intently at Evelyn.
“How do you know this is safe?” asked Jacob. Evelyn didn’t reply. She stole a quick look at her watcher, then looked back down at her feet.
“You know, your eyes look very nice the way they are; in fact, I’d miss them.”
“Please leave me alone. I only need you here as a witness, okay? I don’t want to talk about it” Evelyn replied finally.
“I understand. It’s just that… something about it feels wrong, Evelyn. You were born with those eyes, just as you were born with that face, that soul, that mind—”
“—and these horrid, horrid, horrid roaches-for-hands.” Evelyn fanned her wart-embroidered fingers. “There’s nothing the matter with righting a wrong.”
Jacob leaned back. “And you are to say what’s wrong, then? What about that child there? Look at here beautiful little eyes. How could you deny there’s something special about them being… hers?”
The girl looking at Evelyn briefly shifted her glance to Jacob, wearing a contemplative expression. Then a sharp bell rang from the inner doorway of the chamber.
“Gregorsteins! Now please come in.” A voice rang after the bell.
The little girls and their family stood uneasily. The girl clutching her face momentarily reached out to steadied herself against her father, revealing a thick wad of soggy bandages in place of her eyes. The family shuffled to the doorway, then through.
“Maybe there’s something special about them being hers, but its a little less special when there are no eyes to call hers, wouldn’t you say?” Evelyn turned back to Jacob after watching the family exit.
“Oh are you talking about her sister there? I’d say she’s in again after a first failed operation by the looks of it!” Jacob spat back. “And even if her eyes were mauled out by the devil’s hound, that’s nothing like your little modification.”
Evelyn crossed her arms and looked away. “Green eyes are a bad omen. You know it’s so. I’ll put us both in danger.”
Jacob looked at the door “I wouldn’t think omens respond well to repigmentation therapy.”
“We’ll see about that.”
A silence passed, broken only by the coming and going of a small cat that appeared to live inside the chamber somewhere. Jacob watched the cat — it seemed to be gathering small sticks and large leaves. Its tail twitched spastically while keeping completely straight. He had never seen anything like it.
“Evelyn, look at this-“
A sharp bell rang from the inner doorway of the chamber. “Brandts! Now please come in.”
“Alright, let us go then.” Evelyn rose and strode to the doorway.
Jacob stood hesitantly. “Evelyn, you should see—”
“We can talk about it later, now please come here. You don’t have to watch, you know.”
Jacob found it hard to take his eyes off of the nest being constructed under a bench in the corner of the room, but Evelyn’s demeanor left no room for last-second distractions.
“Evelyn,” Jacob looked her in the eyes for the first time since they’d arrived at this place, “you have to swear — this is only for your eyes, and nothing else.”
Evelyn slightly narrowed her old eyes. “Yes, that’s all I wanted from the beginning. Now let us enter, please?”