Hey Wigleaf:

How are you? I am fine, just back from a quick trip to disability.

I floated downstairs to answer the bell at 2 AM, when my daughter called from her cell phone. She was waiting in the car. There are muggers who will bludgeon you for a dime; gangs who rape women and set them on fire. But not if I was watching from the yellow glow of the porch—a sleepy sentry in flannel pajama pants.

Except, I fell one stair short. That pesky fifth metatarsal, always fracturing.

If you break that bone the pain makes you faint, or so said the surgeon before slicing wide my flesh and nailing together my foot with a finger-set. I was a devout patient, toddling in my walker like a granny, holding my toes still in the cast. Later, strapping on my padded boot, simply to pee. I was a graceful gimp, vaulting ahead on my crutches, Tiny Tim in flight. They all became visible to me: the clubfooted, the crippled, the amputees—my gympathy bloomed for every limper. I loathed daily obstacles on their behalf: accessible bathrooms too cramped for wheelchairs or at the distant ends of crowded aisles, tilting sidewalks, robust men who poached reserved parking spots. I dreaded the theft of my handicapped placard.

But I've healed—skipping home from my visit to old age and debility, a country that welcomes you any time, any season. It was a brief jaunt, a challenging tour where all the roads are uphill. I've no plans to return.

I've discovered railings.

Be well,


- - -

Gail Louise Siegel's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in lovely places like Brevity, Story Quarterly, 3:AM, Quick Fiction, SmokeLong Quarterly and Post Road.

Read GLS's story, "Mathematical Superstition."

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