The saying 'Love is blind' could not be more true for STOMPer Zahier, who cannot see. Despite his disability, his girlfriend chose to stay with him and they hope to share a great future together, like any other couple.
Zahier shares his Love Story with us:
"Living off the saying 'Love is blind'. She knew me before I got to know of her. The truth back then was that she was keener in sight than I was.
"Hello, I am a 24-year-old blind Singaporean male, and she is my sighted partner of 3 years, and this is our story.
"I first met her after a mass lecture class back in our school days. The lecturer's words still laid heavy upon my head and I needed to find some place to rest and think it through.
"She found me walking and asked where I was going. I just told her I needed to locate a place to sit so as to gather my thoughts. From there, she showed me the way to an area where I could do my homework.
"Soon she had to be on her way to join her friends but before she left, she asked if I was hungry and gave me a strawberry fruit bar to munch on, of which I was very grateful because boy, was it tasty.
"Oddly enough, that was the end of our first encounter. I did not get her name though she later managed to find out mine as I was the only resident special needs student at that time.
"Our second encounter was in another mass lecture session which both of us had to attend. I was looking for a seat and the one that was empty happened to be right beside hers.
"We exchanged greetings and I finally thought of asking for her name. It was sweet to my ears. With it came images in my head of a beautiful breezy green meadow by an expansive still glassy lake. Before we parted ways again, we exchanged email contacts that would later allow me to get to know her better.
"Over time, I managed to secure her mobile number and it was through this medium that our friendship started to grow. We conversed for increasingly long hours on topics like academia, family, personal history and ambitions.
"She began to be the only friend that I could really open myself up to as I did not have many friends then. As the days of chatting wore on, I found myself caring more and more about her happiness and general well-being:
"I would pray that she had a good day in school, or that she had friends that would treat her well. Jealousy too would later rear its ugly head and make me feel sad on days when she was too busy with homework to talk to me, or when she would discuss about other attractive boys and how some of them would flirt with her.
"I felt protective over her and became infatuated with her through our long intimate telephone conversations. Somewhere along the way I somehow realised that I wanted her as a partner.
"From her point of view, she did have a crush on me too, always hoping to hear my friendly voice again every night after a long school day. Since we were both from different classes, it was rare that we would bump into each other in school. Even if she did see me, she would be shy to approach me for fear of how our schoolmates would view her.
"They might think that she was trying to get undue attention for helping a special needs person get around. Or fear that some teacher, being protective over my modesty, would be harsh with her.
"We later got together through initiation on my part and her curiosity to try something different: Dating a blind person. The first few months were not easy, there were so many things she was shy and apprehensive about; the fact that we were together, how she could not bear how the public would stare at us when they saw us holding hands, or how she would assume nasty things that others would say about us, that she was taking advantage of my blindness and did not have to dress up, that I would not be able to provide for her or that she will have to suffer an entire lifetime of being the one having to care for me.
"Our relationship was an example of a role reversal between the traditionally imposed duties of the male and the female towards each other.
"I often got into a rage about all those issues surrounding us. I would raise my voice at her when she brought it up and she would cry. We would get into a 'no talking' cold war but somehow later end up unable to withstand the silence and resume talking with one another again.
"Her parents would dissuade her from being too close to me and my parents would be ever hopeful for someone who could love me and become my true soul mate.
"I believe that somehow through meeting her, there sparked this deep desire in me to become more independent and mobile. One reason was because I wanted to impress her by showing her that I could be as independent as any other regular person.
"You see, I was not blind since birth, but only lost the use of my eyes about 2 to 3 years before meeting her. That's a touchy story to be told for another time. But to sum it up, it was an emotionally reclusive dark time for me and I took ages to cope with my newfound disability.
"I promised myself to give up my selfish impetuousness for her, to become a more responsible and sociable individual. She on her part, as she tells me, gave up her time to try and understand how I feel and function in this state.
"It's been 3 years and 2 months now, and we both have faced our ups and downs, both together and apart. We have questioned each other's loyalty and honesty, have felt the pressure that society seems to impose upon us and also have thought of escaping from it all.
"But here we still are, both unwilling to let go and waste all the countless things we have shared with each other.
"We are taking things slower now, day by day, praying that our efforts shall not go to waste and that we can have a prosperous future together like any other couple or perhaps even better. :)"
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