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Georgia stopped, leaning on the railings as she caught her breath. The river was eerily calm this evening. She’d never seen the water so still. She ripped the ear-buds from her ears and looked around. No one. Not a sound.
She could scream here. Shred her lungs, her vocal cords and ultimately that small ball of stress that had built up inside her chest. She wouldn’t though. That was what kept her ticking. Kept the joints oiled, ready for action. Ready for anything.
She wasn’t ready when the car was hit by the 4×4 on the motorway.
Wasn’t ready to hear when surgeons said her legs had to be amputated.
Wasn’t ready for the long and painful recovery and rehabilitation.
Never ready when the phantom legs decide to flee and leave her behind, trying to catch up in her wheelchair, new and clumsy, running (at least in her imagination) those familiar five miles she used to take beside the river.
For now, she knew she had to realise that her legs were now metal wheels, her running trainers now fitted securely onto her prosthetic legs at home.
Georgia pushed the ear-buds back into her ears. Checking her music player and changing the song to a harsh, loud rock anthem, she turned around and pushed herself as hard as she could back towards home.
This story really only came to me as I looked out of the window at my place of work. The picture above is generally identical to the picture. The water has been as still as a mirror. I saw one or two people walk past it. The addition of the twist at the end about the wheelchair was purely accidental. I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I come across all sorts of people in my job who have varying degrees of disability and lack of movement for one reason or another. Most people I do come into contact with, are going through a variation of grief when it comes to their illness or disability. Denial is a dangerous thing. It is worse for the onlookers. This is inspired by over 5 years of experience and people-observation.