“I saw you here with your sister the other day.”
“Do you mean my girlfriend?”
“Oh, sorry… erm… I didn’t think people like you would… I mean… You’re both…”
Yes, my partner and I are both blind. No, we’re not related, and no, neither one of us is the other’s carer.
“I’ve seen another partially sighted person living in that house too. Is it a home where people look after you?”
Yes, we live together. No, it’s not a specialised communal residence. We’ve got mortgage repayments and utility bills for the house that we’re trying to make a home. You may notice a couple of things that set our home apart like the tactile markers on kitchen appliances and the pile of white canes clustered by the door, but otherwise, I’d hope that our house is warm and welcoming like any other.
“Aww, you guys are so cute! It’s so beautiful how you’ve found each other. Do you mind if I take a picture?”
That might initially sound flattering, but you’d soon feel different if you could hear the pity dripping from the speaker’s voice. What’s worse is that this comment came from the waitress serving us on our first date. Not exactly smooth!
I’ve never had a relationship with a sighted person so I suppose I have nothing to compare to, but in my humble opinion, I’d say we’re pretty average. We take turns to make dinner and we fight over the remote. We have mutual interests and hobbies but do our own things too. We go on holiday, we forget anniversaries, we know each other’s phone passcodes and shoe sizes.
We have stupid in-jokes and ironic cringy pet names. We have date nights and day trips and know exactly how to wind the other up the wall. We can go from a shouting match to crying with laughter in less than 10 seconds flat. We talk about the future, but admit that we both still feel like kids ourselves!
We understand each other’s frustration when faced with a guide dog access refusal. We always say we’ll look up a restaurant’s menu beforehand, but usually end up forgetting and asking the poor waiter to read it aloud. We only go to the cinema if it’s an audio described showing, and we have a good giggle together about awkward moments like those quoted above.
We’re probably just headed to the pub for Valentines because neither of us remembered to book a table at somewhere fancy. But actually, neither of us minds.
Elin Williams, Events Co-ordinator