In the blink of an eye

Tonight, around dusk, I was taking a walk and came upon a young man on hands and knees gently separating clumps of grass along the side of the path, following his hands carefully with his eyes. I stopped and asked, "Did you lose something?"

"Yes," he replied, "my contact."

"Hard, gas perm?"

"Yes, gas perm. They're new and I haven't even paid for them yet."

The loss of a contact lens is a big deal to the wearer of hard or gas permeable contact lenses. Unlike the wearer of disposable soft contacts, he or she has no box of ten extra pairs waiting in a drawer. The one costly pair is usually all there is. I've had my share of delicate searches on hands and knees for just such a transparent treasure.

The young man appeared distraught and about to give up. I leaned over and started looking, telling him that I've found lost contacts in some impossible circumstances. In 31 years of wearing lenses, I've only had to order a replacement for one lens. That lens literally slipped through my fingers and down the drain at a Fairfield Inn outside of Rockford Illinois. I breathed a prayer for his lost lens as I've done countless times for my own.

He continued to look in the grass and I looked along the asphalt path. From the other direction, a man on a bicycle approached and stopped. "Did you lose a contact?" he asked. The guy with the lost contact straightened up and nodded yes, adding that it looked like it was gone for good.

At that minute the man on the bicycle looked down and pointed at the asphalt just adjacent to his right foot and pedal. "There it is!"

Sheltered in a tiny pit in the asphalt lie the transparent disc. Just a hint of reflected light gave it away. The young man was delighted at his good fortune. Many thanks. Many exclammations of amazement all around. Then we were all on our way, smiling.