Drama Fiction Sad

She picks herself up off the floor where she has once again fallen flat on her face; she dusts herself off, attempts to stand tall in the face of adversity. She asks why she keeps putting herself through this when she appears destined to fail. This will be her thirteenth attempt for this day alone, unlucky for some. These legs take some getting used to. They are not her own, alien to her, they will not move the way she wants them to. Willing them does not seem to work, concentrating hard just makes her more and more exhausted.

Fed up, trying to manage simply a couple of steps, something we all take for granted. Battered and bruised, but with no room for a bruised ego. She grunts as the pain sears through her legs like a million daggers, she shuffles one foot forward then the other, stumbles once more but this time she manages to stop herself from falling completely. `Can this be progress? Was this a breakthrough finally?’ she wonders, at the same time extremely disappointed at how excruciatingly slow this whole process is. Frustrated, grimacing and close to tears.

 `Bethany, Bethany’ the physiotherapist calls trying to help her out of her own head, a head full of doubts `I think that’s enough for one day’

`No, no, no, no, not yet’ she replies shaking her head side to side, whilst hanging it down towards the floor. She wants desperately to stamp her foot like a toddler in the midst of a tantrum but she is still not able to maneuver the damn things. It has been at least six weeks since she has been given her `new’ legs, the consultant had warned her it would be a long drawn out process re-acquainting her body to the feeling of walking again.

She felt like a baby testing its’ legs out for the first time or a newly born deer stumbling all over the place. She knows she has no choice but to keep persevering if she ever wants to be able to walk again. `Use it or lose it’ keeps echoing around her head. Stupid saying she thinks to herself when you have already lost both of your legs. Still she was lucky to have survived that car crash, the twisted metal of a wreck that was left! It was a pure miracle how she made it out at all.

Angry at the speeding white van driver for this pain and anguish he had caused her, all for the sake of watching an international rugby match in his lunch hour. Annoyed that he had stood there chatting at the scene whilst her car smoked thick black smoke and she was trapped inside unable to move. Lucky another man came to her aid saying `I will unplug your battery love, else your car will be a ball of flames by the time the emergency services get here; as it has already taken them forty-five minutes and there is still no sign.’ She recalls this act of kindness and knows she will be eternally grateful for him saving her life. She was in such a state of shock by what had happened she cannot remember his name or even his kind face so has no way of ever repaying him. The white van driver had come across the front of her, clearly doing double the allowed speed limit. Her car got jolted sideways and all four tires blew leaving her to crash uncontrollably into the nearby sign entrapping her legs beneath the crushed front and steering wheel. Her first instinct was to scream out at the top of her lungs like her voice was not her own and she had no control over it. The numbness and confusion of shock followed closely on, as her body enters in to stealth mode. Still this has the advantage of blocking out the inexplicable pain of crushed legs.

All the emergency services arrive at once, `we will have to cut you out love, bear with us; we need you to be brave, sit as still as possible’ says the fireman. Adding reassuringly `we will have you out in no time.’ The loud grinding of the cutter on the metal and the sparks flying off was terrifying as it was always closer than she would have liked. Pale, shaking and still in shock the adrenaline got her through it all. Carefully lifting her out of the wreckage and on to the stretcher the rest of the journey to the hospital was a complete blur, due to the lack of blood she drifted in and out of consciousness. 

She woke to faces all around, with pitying looks, she panicked as she realized her legs were gone. I am sorry says the surgeon we were unable to save them they were too badly damaged. She wanted to scream but this time no sound came out. She felt as though she were free falling fast from an incredibly high point in the sky flailing her limbs or what was left of them all around, with no way of breaking her fall.

Was this her life now, the new her; her family and friends tried to comfort her and support her saying `our super bionic woman' as she was now partly metal! She spent the first few weeks angrily pushing everyone away who cared. It was too painful to face her new reality, eventually the physiotherapist had broken through the barrier, the protective wall she had constructed. He had persevered daily, “your prosthetic limbs have arrived they are ready for you to try them on for size, see how well they fit and if they are comfortable enough.” Each day he unknowingly deconstructed a brick off the wall, brick by brick her wall came back down and she started letting people in again, close enough to hurt her. Eventually she managed to find her voice again, `what if these phantom pains never stop; what if I have to be on painkillers for the rest of my days, what if I never walk again?’

The Physiotherapist’s response to her last question was always the same “Perseverance is key” adding “You’ll never know unless you try.”

March 09, 2022 22:28

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.