She was born, and thus dubbed, Clancy Harris. And with a name like Clancy Harris, how can you not shrivel, shrink up and hide out?
Clancy was expected to have been born a boy. And despite the disappointment with her femaleness, Clancy’s father saddled her with the ill-fated moniker. It was her father’s given name, her grandfather’s and those past. But she, who was not granted the Y-Chromosome, wishes those who were would have backed the fuck off.
Her mother would have named her Clarissa. Clancy would’ve liked that.
Clancy rarely leaves the house. Her world is sharp bursts and flashes. For others, a quick trip to the grocery store, dutiful teeth cleaning or a library run are as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Learned since birth.
Clancy relies on her work and holes up, locked in her studio. Her voice comes through the microphone smooth, cigarette-smoky. In the bubble of her own home, Clancy records instruction manuals and fiction books on CD for the blind and visually challenged.
Her voice careens through the microphone, sleek as a rolling spine, singing, belting words like assemble, installation and caution, which roll off her tongue, derelict phrases in the mouth of the sane.
She imagines her listeners as followers of her obsessions. It is her voice they hear, teaching them how to program microwaves, implement board game instructions for Monopoly or The Game of Life, simplifying DVD player set-up, mentioning the latest indie novel that had just hit the shelves.
“Congratulations on purchasing…” she giggles, the microphone tingling.
Or her personal favorite: “Attach A to B”.
Clancy is the spoken instruction manual. Like her blind friends, Clancy believes she knows nothing outside herself, and maybe that is for the best.
Some write her. She receives cursive scrawled across pages, words bleeding and fading over edges of paper. Clancy’s voice is praised. Her assistance in all things.
One morning, Clancy reads a letter from the “Man with the Sight”.
The “Man with the Sight” has been blind since birth.
The “Man with the Sight” woke one bright gleeful day with his vision restored, seeing all things imagined now real.
“It’s a hard lesson,” says “The Man with the Sight”, “the what-wasn’t-there, being there. It’s real. It’s pleasurable,” Clancy reads. “I never knew what I missed.”
She reads it again.
Clancy looks out her shaded window, snapping her fingers through the wood blinds.