When you go partially blind, as I did for several years a decade ago, your other senses--hearing, touch, taste and smell--come to the fore. You listen intently to people's voices because the timbre may tell you what their body language used to, and feel the curbstone with your groping feet, reach for the banister at every staircase and detect the presence of a silent stranger in the room by perhaps telepathy or the scent of sweat. You squeeze lemon juice on fillet of sole more carefully, not only so it won't squirt in the wrong direction, but because you're paying so much attention to what the lemon adds.
Orange juice seemed to have a sunny taste (I could dimly see its color) and certainly a morning feeling, though not as bracingly acidic as a pink grapefruit. I liked eggs sunny-side up for the same reason, and peppered liberally as a visual anchor, with ketchup on the table for its color, even if I didn't plan to use it. I liked salmon, too, for lunch, especially for its color, which my fading eyesight took in longer than the shades of white or gray of sole or tuna. But canned tuna fish was like the very sea: penny for penny, maybe the richest taste of all. You can dress up salmon with hollandaise or cod with tartar sauce, and those are comfortingly delicious, but nothing like as real as tuna's evocation of the sea. Spinach had a Popeye strength of character too. And corn on the cob was childhood-yellow. Peas, nibbled raw, were a vivid, crispy green. I went in for red wine, naturally, to go with my red flannel hash or spaghetti marinara, but once or twice spilled wine on my hash, reaching for what I thought was ketchup, or knocked over my wineglass in front of company, mistaking it for ketchup.
Company, when you're going blind (at my worst I was 20/800--seeing at 20 feet what I ought to have been able to see at 800--or legally blind, times four), is a mixed blessing. You crave it, yet it limns what you are losing because your experiences have diverged so miserably from your friends' and you can't see them and therefore really know how they are feeling: whether they look tense and tired and haven't gotten any sleep lately. You fumble for what to say across the gap and haven't been able to read a paper for months, so you know only the sound-bite news, not real stuff that can be discussed in any detail. They are solicitous, rather as if you were terminally ill. Friendship feels suddenly enclosed in a time frame.