After 20 years in darkness, the power of sight was something Mag still couldn't believe she possessed. On the whole car ride home from GeneCo, with Marni in the driver's seat, Mag couldn't help but remark on every little thing that they passed.
"Oooh, look at this! And that! And that!" Mag pointed out the window in sheer delight, just like a kid on Christmas. Marni listened to Mag in amusement. After a decade of friendship, Marni had finally found a way to pay Mag back for all of the wonderful blessings Mag had bestowed upon her. For so long, Marni felt that Mag was a gift that just kept on giving and now Marni finally was able to give Mag something in return: sight. So as they drove home, Mag still eagerly pointing everything out, Marni chuckled softly to herself. It felt good to hear Mag sounding so… amazed. There was a beautifulness in her excitement that Marni found intoxicating. Honestly, listening to Mag ramble about how beautiful the crumbling world was made Marni feel like she was seeing the world for the first time too, but maybe she was, in a way.
Listening to Mag ramble about even the plainest of objects made it hard for Marni to see them as anything less than little miracles of life. The stones on the pavement, the neon lights of a building, even the rusty corners of metal signs. To Marni, these had been anywhere between plain and ugly but to Mag, they were beautiful and new and it was so poetic to hear her saying this like that. In fact, when Mag was finally ready to leave the GeneCo tower, it had taken her and Marni nearly ten minutes to get into their car just because there was so much for Mag to explore right there in that dingy parking lot. Never did Marni imagine she would see the asphalt as something beautiful but, as Mag pointed out, the stones within the pavement would sparkle sometimes and it actually made the road seem beautiful. It was hard to be bored with the world when Mag was beside her, pointing out all of the simple beauty in it that so many people took for granted.
"Oh! I can't imagine what the most beautiful thing here is!" Mag cried at last. She looked like she was about to burst from excitement and Marni could see frustration on her face, but it was a good frustration. It was the kind of frustration that came when there were no words that could do justice to what someone was experiencing and it was probably the most adorable thing Marni had ever seen. To see Mag looking angry just because she didn't have the words to describe how unfathomably beautiful she found the world to be was something that left Marni with a deep sense of humility and a new appreciation for the world around her. Sure, it was ugly and decaying, but there was still so much beauty left. There was a lot worth fighting for and a lot worth preserving. It was in that moment that Marni spoke for the first time since they got into the car.
"If you really want to know," she said, sounding shy, "I think that you're the most beautiful thing here…" Mag looked at her in genuine surprise and disbelief while Marni ducked away almost shyly and that was how Mag knew Marni wasn't just teasing her. Marni was not a shy person and if she ever said something that made her blush, it was usually something very serious. Suddenly, Mag was blushing too. She was touched by Marni's sweet words.
But the way Marni saw it, it was true. Mag was very beautiful, but not even just in a physical sense. She was such a kind soul and watching her laud simple objects that most people took for granted was actually really beautiful and refreshing. For once, she saw the beauty in simplicity and didn't believe that anything needed to be modified or changed in order to belong. How contrary was that when compared to how surgery-addicted the rest of the world was? Mag's childlike awe and excitement lit up Marni's whole world and her genuine passion for all of this newness around her was what made Marni sure that Mag was the most beautiful thing here.
Just before the pair reached their home, however, Marni remembered something very important…
"Ooh! What strange, pretty things!" Mag murmured. She and Marni were passing another cosmetics shop. This one was for piercing and tattoos. When Marni cast a quick glance over at Mag, she could see the girl ogling the neon lights that hung over the tattoo parlor's door. The sign read, "Kneedles and Nives" which was, of course, the pun-based name of the parlor.
"I know," Marni agreed. "They are a very nice color, but they really ought to replace those lights. That 'K' looks like it's about to go out any day now!" she said.
"Maybe," Mag replied, staring up at the letters. Then she turned around. "Ummm, Marni, which is the 'K'?"
It took Marni a moment to process what Mag said but once she registered it, she hit the brakes.
"Marni? What is it? What's wrong?" Mag sounded worried but Marni only shook her head and pointed up.
"I want to talk to you about letters," she said and the pair spent a good 20 minutes staring at those neon lights.
"Now? Now? Now?" Mag pestered Marni for the fifth time that night.
"After dinner," Marni replied for the fifth time that night. Ever since she and Mag had gotten home after Marni explained to Mag about the neon letters, Mag had been begging Marni to teach her how to read written English. This actually wasn't the first time Mag had tried to get Marni to teach her how to read, this was just the first time it had been a reasonable request. Mag had just been so enthralled with the gift of sight that she entirely forgot about learning how to read until Marni explained to her about the neon sign. Now Mag wanted desperately to learn how to read so that she could enter into this new part of the world so long denied her. But as Marni was saying, they needed to eat dinner first, then they could start on their lessons. Mag knew she was right, but that didn't mean she wanted to wait. Instead, Mag finished her dinner as fast as she could, unable to even remember what she ate.
"So how about now?" Mag asked, quickly putting her and Marni's plates into the dishwasher. Marni only gave a tired laugh but Mag knew this meant yes and she clapped excitedly. Thus, the first lesson in reading and writing commenced and Marni became Mag's teacher.
When all things were considered, Mag actually did pretty well. She was a fast learner and even though she had spent 20 years in darkness, she did actually know how to write a few letters out. Now, she was just able to write them in a straight line. Beforehand, writing was just her dragging a pen over a paper and hoping that the letters weren't too crooked or overlapped. Now she could judge the spacing for herself and by the end of the night, she had learned a few basic words and how to write them.
"Very good!" Marni complimented her friend and Mag grinned proudly.
"It's just because you're a good teacher," she said, but Marni shook her head.
"It's because you're an amazing student," she said.
Once Mag mastered the letter system, Marni moved her onto the numerical system. This was a breeze too. Then Marni led Mag into the color system. Mag found this part the most exciting simply because the concept of color was the hardest thing to explain to a blind person. Marni had tried before to explain to Mag what colors were, but she was never able to do it justice. She had been able to explain letters and numbers well enough simply because she could compare it to Braille except that the symbols were all flat, but colors really couldn't be so easily categorized or compared. There was just something about colors that could not be taught.
Now that Mag was seeing them for herself, though, she was able to put faces to names, so to speak, and learn what each color actually looked like and she was even able to go as far as figuring out shades of color. There was so much more than one type of red, after all. And Mag got to learn every single one of them. Sure, some colors were harder to distinguish than others, but Mag's robotic eyes were even sharper than the average human's and were, thusly, able to pick out finer shades than most. It just took a bit of time. But Mag was sure that she and Marni had all the time in the world.
"Marni! Come look at this!" Mag called out to her friend one night. Marni obediently followed the sound of Mag's voice and found her sitting at their kitchen table. Mag held a folded piece of paper in her hand.
"What is it?" Marni asked.
"See for yourself," Mag replied, offering the paper to her friend. Marni took it and unfolded it and then gasped.
"Mag, this is amazing!" she breathed. What Mag had made was a painting. It was of her, Marni, Rotti and Nathan. The four of them were in Rotti's office, talking and laughing.
"This was supposed to be a picture of the day when we finally sealed the deal on my new eyes," Mag explained. "I know I wasn't technically able to see that day, but I think this is probably what it looked like."
"It is," Marni murmured, unable to take her eyes off of the wonderful painting. Even though the outfits Mag decided to draw on the four of them were wrong, everything else was perfect. She had Rotti's desk, his swivel chair, the giant computer screen behind the desk. She had Marni leaning against Mag, Nathan sitting across from them as Rotti explained that he would be the one to perform this operation. Every single face was so happy too. Marni could almost hear the laughter and excitement just by looking at the picture.
"This is amazing," Marni repeated, shaking her head in wonder as she finally put the painting down.
"Can we hang it on the fridge?" Mag joked, but Marni could sense a serious desire within her friend's voice so she nodded. She took the picture from Mag again and taped it up to the silver door of the fridge.
"There we go! My baby's first picture. I'm so proud!" she joked.
"Marni!" Mag pretended to cross her arms. This had been a running gag throughout all of Mag's lessons. Since Marni had to teach Mag so many things, Marni liked to pretend that Mag was her kid, to Mag's embarrassment.
"Don't worry," Marni laughed. "You won't have to be my child forever. I plan on having a real kid of my own some day in the future!"
"Only if I get to be its godmother!" Mag warned playfully.
"Of course. Who else would I choose?" Marni replied fondly. Mag got up to admire her art work, standing beside Marni at the fridge door. Marni wrapped an arm around her best friend. "You and I are going places," she decided. "We're going to make one heck of a team and you're going to be my baby's teacher just the same way I used to be your teacher, ok?"
"Ok," Mag said, and it was a promise she was intent upon keeping.
AN: I really like the idea of Marni being the one to teach Mag how to use her eyes and I like the idea of these lessons inspiring in Marni the desire to be a mother. Also, if the timeline seems muddled or wrong, it's because I wrote it as though Mag, Marni, Nathan and Rotti all used to be friends and that was how Marni was able to get Mag some eyes and this takes place within the next month or two following Mag's operation. If I were to write more of this story, it would lead into Marni's breakup with Rotti and subsequent marriage to Nathan, though the timeline may not fit perfectly.