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
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.
- - -
Gail Louise Siegel's fiction and nonfiction have
appeared in lovely places like Brevity, Story Quarterly, 3:AM, Quick
Quarterly and Post
Read GLS's story, "Mathematical Superstition."
w i g · l e a F