Home Students The Eyeball Family Reunion: A Creative Writing Piece

The Eyeball Family Reunion: A Creative Writing Piece

Abby Wilhelmi
Abby Wilhelmi

Illinois College of Optometry student and WO student advisory board member Abby Wilhelmi won this year’s ICO creative writing competition with the following piece.

Hosts: Grandma Cornea and Grandpa Retina
Where: The Orbit (OD)
When: 6:00 O’clock
*Please note: the floor of The Orbit is susceptible to falling through,
be careful when you arrive to the venue!*

“The Uveal Tract! You made it!”

Grandma Cornea greets my parents, C.B. and Choroid, and me

Grandpa Retina pulls me in for a hug and says, “Iris, you’ve grown so much!”

I laugh because I haven’t grown in years. He might be thinking of another grandkid. He tends to get things reversed and flipped around these days.

“The EOM’s just arrived before you,” Grandma Cornea says. “I bet you can find them if you look around.”

I leave my parents and grandparents to look for my cousins, the rectus muscles. When I find them, they are discussing one of the most controversial topics in the Eyeball Family: who is better, Grandma Cornea or Grandpa Retina? I start to hear their conversation:

“Grandma Cornea has AMAZING healing capabilities,” Medial Rectus says.

“BUT, Grandpa Retina can tell so many stories, especially about the state of the body,” Inferior Rectus interjects.

“Grandma Cornea always offers me the best advice. I know I wouldn’t be able to see things clearly without her,” offers Lateral Rectus.

“Grandpa Retina has way more layers to him than Grandma Cornea,” Superior Rectus says.

The rectus muscles seem to spiral on and on about this. Even the adults quietly show their favoritism to Grandma or Grandpa. My dad, Choroid, seems to really support Grandpa Retina, while my mom, C.B., goes through a lot of work to provide nourishment for Grandma Cornea. Personally, I’m a lot closer to Grandma Cornea than Grandpa Retina, but I can hardly get a word in the conversation with my cousins. Sometimes the EOM family is a little intense.

I walk away to find another family member to catch up with and see Uncle Lens sitting by himself. I don’t really know much about Uncle Lens. Rumor has it that when the adults were younger, Uncle Lens was always lagging behind everyone else and expecting others to accommodate for him. They say he’s different now than he used to be. To me he just seems sort of…fake.

I keep moving through The Orbit and hear Anterior Chamber Angle complaining to Grandpa Retina, “I can’t see this stupid hairline of mine anymore, any advice for me?”

I definitely don’t want to join that conversation. Luckily, Lacrimal Gland is nearby. When I get closer to her, I notice it looks like she’s been crying.

“Are you ok?” I ask.

“Oh yes, just being at the family reunion this year really has me thinking about the Meibomian Glands, may they rest in peace,” she answers.

How could I have forgotten? No wonder she’s upset. The Meibomian Glands were such an important part of the family and worked so closely with the Lacrimal Gland. They got sick many years ago, and their illness was a long, tortuous process. They eventually started dropping out one at a time, the last of them dying only recently.

She starts tearing up again and looks like she might break down, but suddenly there is a commotion a little way from where we’re standing.

We move toward the crowd and see that everyone is surrounding Aunt Vitreous and her boyfriend. Aunt Vitreous is one my favorite family members to see at the Eyeball Family reunion because she always tells me about her current relationship. Last year she was with this guy Berger, who broke up with her because he wanted more space. Before that, it was Wieger, but she told me their attachment just weakened over time, and it wasn’t meant to be.

I lean over and ask Optic Nerve, “Do you know her boyfriend?”

“Yes, his name’s Weiss, really nice guy. I’m pretty connected to this one, I hope it works out between them,” he tells me.

Now, Weiss seems to be at the end of some sort of speech. Very slowly, we all see him pull out a ring.

Everyone gasps, and Aunt Vitreous exclaims, “Yes!”

We all cheer, and I’m trying to move in line to congratulate them when I realize my muscles aren’t quite working.

No, no, not at the family reunion! I think. What terrible timing.

Red Cap Syndrome. It happens to me about once a year. I’ll have to take a break from the family reunion for a few hours, just as Pupil is becoming the life of the party.


Read more stories by and for students from WO here.

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