I rub the inner corners of my eyes, very carefully at first, using only my fingertips, then fiercely, back and forth over the whole eyes with my clenched fists. Whatever is going on beneath my eyelids responds instantly: the feeling of spiced gravel returns. I close my eyes, willing myself to do so gently (for clenching them shut only increases the pain), wishing — yet again — that I had not rubbed my eyes just now. After a long painful pause I open my eyes partway, to test the pain, then begin to blink, hoping that maybe this time the flow of tears will move out some irritant, some physical object or substance, and I will be suddenly and joyfully free of this. No such luck. Eventually my watery eyes are a little less angry and I can start to use them to see again. I dab some of the tears away with my sleeve, ever so gently.
This cycle is set to repeat.