My mother worked three jobs to pay the bills and my father had died when I was in single digits.
That's why, on the Christmas I turned thirteen, I was baffled to find a pair of Computerized Contacts beneath the tree.
They were the hottest new technology.
Slip them into your eyes and they would play a movie on a loop, right there in front of you, like you were watching a live play.
The one my mom bought for me was about a girl named Lena who was trying to seduce her best male friend during prom.
As soon as I unwrapped the box, I popped the contacts into my eyes.
I activated the device by blinking the word “ON” in Morse code (the instructions came in a little booklet inside of the box).
It only took three long blinks, a pause, another long blink and a final short blink to get the program to function.
When my eyes opened, a woman in a puffy prom dress stood at the foot of the couch, her blue and green hair sticking out from her messy bun like a peacock.
Her best friend, a boy with flannel shirt instead of a suit and a neck scarf instead of a bowtie, was watching her spin around in it.
They were holograms, but they resembled solid people.
They looked just as real as my mom or my cat.
That was the selling point of the product.
It turned any room into a stage.
Instead of seeing a couple from a Hollywood set on my TV screen, I could see a couple in my very own room.
The definition of 3D.
Of course, like anything fun, the contacts came with a warning.
They were only good for ten uses.
Otherwise, there could be side effects, like headaches, heartburn, and hallucinations.
That meant I could only watch the movie ten times before I had to throw the contacts out.
But my mom would never be able to afford another pair for me.
It would be rude for me to even ask her for them.
So I wore the same pair every night until I turned eighteen.