Teaching the blind wasn't what she had planned on doing for the rest of her life. Matter of fact, teaching the blind wasn't what she had in mind at all. Her student, Anthony, was from a wealthy family. And as his teacher she was given a small cottage on the estates, a weekly salary, and one day off a week, Sunday. All in all a very good position. As a young widow it was either teach, or work in the sweat factories. She chose teaching.
It had been a full year now, since her husbands' death. About eight months working with Anthony. Anthony, or Tony as she called him in private, was a full-grown man, whose family tended to treat him as a child. She guessed his age at two and twenty. Tall and well muscled. Dark hair. And the lightest blue eyes she'd ever seen. Tony had been born blind. He'd been sent out of the state when he was nine years old. He spent a few years learning how to read Braille. How to write both free hand with a ruler. As well as using the machine that writes in Braille. He'd come home reading and writing. With some basic math. But no history, Science, or Math above the seventh grade level. His mother had tried to teach these until last year.
Last year he'd decided learning at mothers knee wasn't a thing an adult male would do. Now Amanda found herself teaching this man all about the sciences, history and math that his mother didn't cover. She was hoping to begin teaching him French soon. But not today. Today was a very hot August day. The air was still and thick.
Smiling at Tony as he approached she says "Anthony. I've a splendid idea. How would you like to take a ride to the shore?" watching his face alight she continued, "we could take in the shade of the gazebo by the water. The ocean breeze should keep us cool. And you could continue your science studies there."
At her last words his face fell. She smiled. Being blind he never realized just how much emotion showed on ones face.
"Yes, Mrs. Amanda, that sounds fine. Shall I have the horses saddled?"
"Yes Anthony, you go do that, I'll go change into my riding clothes" She touched his arm lightly as she passed him.
Going to change she had no doubt the horses would be ready and waiting for her shortly. Tony knew his way around the Estates very well. He'd memorized the amount of strides to each building. It was amazing to see. From a distance you'd never know he was blind.
Taking a moment to secure the pins in her hair she gazed in the mirror. She'd finally put on some weight since her husbands death. Her hair had regained its shine. All in all she didn't look too bad. In fact, she looked much younger than she felt. She was 19 years old. Married at 16 to her sweetheart. They'd been so happy. Together they had felt like they were going to rule the world. It all ended in one horrid night.
Memory's started coming back to her. Her husband had been very late. The storm outside raged unabated. Then came the knock on the door. Opening the door, there in the rain stood her husbands best friend. Mark. One look at his face said more than she wanted to know. She fainted at his feet. When she came to Mark told her that her husband was riding home with him in this storm. A bolt of lighting, or perhaps the crash of thunder, no matter, something had spooked her husbands' horse. Thrown, he landed on a rock, which caved in the side of his skull. He never moved again. Her husband was dead.
Shaking her self mentally she hurried down the stairs. By the door she grabbed her books and out she went. Two beautiful horses stood, saddled, and perfectly groomed, at the foot of the stair. She wasn't afraid to ride. Her husbands' death wasn't the fault of the horse. Or anyone's. It just was.
Touching Anthony's back, out of habit, simply to let him know where she was, Amanda stuffed the books into the saddlebags and mounted. The spirited horse pranced, eager to be off. The surly footman aided Anthony, much to his annoyance. Once mounted, they turned and began their journey.
Anthony's mare had been with him many a year now. The horse had been trained well by the best trainer in the county. She knew how to follow another horse, and needed no guidance from Anthony. Side by side Amanda and Anthony rode in the hot sunshine. Chattering about everything and nothing. Avoiding the subject of his last test. Once at the beach they dismounted and let the horses wander in the shade of the trees.
They strolled down the path to the little gazebo. Well, little wouldn't be correct. The family used it for parties. It was quit large. All open. Save the roof. This kept out the harsh summer sun, and saved many a picnic from a summer shower. Once they were alone, Amanda could be herself. Tony was easy to get along with. He didn't stand on ceremony as the rest of his family. He'd eat with his fingers, if he thought no one could see. He'd sit crossed legged on the floor. He'd drop the Mrs. and she'd drop the formal "Anthony". And that's just what they did.
Amanda settled on the floor and hearing her, Tony joined her. She handed him his books and told him to continue to read where he'd left off before. With a quiet mumble of complaint, he began reading silently. Oh it was hot. The ocean didn't offer much relief. Once in a while a wind would stir a wisp of her hair but it wasn't as steady as she'd hoped. Glancing at Tony absorbed in his reading, she unfastened the first 4 buttons of her blouse. Without too much movement she lifted her skirts to feel the cooler air on her legs. She glanced at Tony. He was frowning.
"Tony? What is it?" She asked
"This story." He replied tapping the page. "This book isn't like anything you've set me to read before."
She smiled. "No? Don't you like it?"
"Its not that." He paused. She could see him struggling to find the right words.
"Tony, its me. Say what your thinking."
"Its vivid." Again he paused. "It has gotten me thinking. This couple, This Jamie, This women:" Again a long pause.
"Tony, go on." With a resigned sigh he did, "I'll never have that."
"The two of them, against all odds, they found each other. Fought hell and earth to be together. I'll never have that."
"Sure you will Tony. Someday you'll..."
"Oh stop it will you?" he cut in harshly. "I'll never have a woman. No woman would want a blind man to lead around by the hand like a child." He tossed the book aside.
"And who am I to question that?" He stood and turned his back to her.
"I'll never know..."
Amanda waited. When he didn't continue she prompted. "Go on."
"Its bad enough I can't see. That I see with my fingers. My touch. But it's hell knowing I'll never touch what I want to see. Do you understand? "
Amanda sat there, not comprehending. Touch love?
"I'll never feel a breast. I'll never touch a woman." Anthony went on almost as if speaking to himself.
She just thought oh, that kind of love.
"I'll never know what it feels like inside to make a woman sigh at my touch. Tremble. Hell! I may not ever feel the touch of another's lips save my own mothers on my cheek!" He spun and faced the spot where he knew she sat.
"Can you understand? I know what you look like. But I'll never know what you LOOK LIKE."
Amanda nodded. Her shocked brain forgetting he couldn't see. He was speaking of things that one didn't speak of to a teacher. Speaking of things one didn't speak of at all. Anthony reached out and touched her hair.
"I've been told your hair is red. Like fire. Like heat. I can feel the smoothness of your cheek" his fingers touched her cheek " the shape of your nose." he smiled as his fingers tapped the tip of her nose. "The curve of your moth... but what of..." his fingers trailed over her chin. As slowly as his words he fingers moved south. "What of... the rest... of... you?" His fingers stopped at her collarbone.
"What of the rest of me? What do you want?" Amanda asked in a hoarse whisper. He was very still. Finally he answered.
"I want to touch you." Was Anthony's hoarse whisper.
No, she didn't want to think on this for long. For if she did she'd never have the courage...
"Then touch me."
After the barest of moments he made up his mind. His fingers trailed downward. The feather soft touch grazed the swell of her breast over the corset. Slightly trembling fingers finished the buttons on her blouse. Smooth hands pushed the blouse back over her shoulders. Gently he tugged the shirt free of her skirts. His hands traced the curve of her neck followed the path down over her shoulders sill moving, till he reached her very fingertips. He'd touched her hands before, countless times. Yet, never like this, he traced every line on her palm and lightly tickled between each.
Retracing his path he once again cupped her neck. Amanda could feel her pulse race, and knew he could too. Slowly his fingers returned to her breasts, still covered by the chemise. Over the corset they slipped. Down the still boning to the waist of her skirt. Back up, once again, and Anthony cupped the underside of her breasts through the corset.
"This doesn't feel at all comfortable." softly he whispered
Chuckling softly Amanda replied, "No, it isn't at all."
In for a penny in for a pound she thought. Amanda untied the skirt and wiggled her way out of it. She lay back on the wooden floor. Kneeling, he traced the entire corset. Not brave enough to go lower.
"Can you be free of it?" Anthony wished out loud.
.... There is more of this story ...