There is no reason for me to be writing this, after insisting at every opportunity that I have nothing to say, that the redundancy of my Thoughts is only too apparent. Voice confrontation exists for the written word too. The digital space certainly does not need to witness the devolution of another blog into a diary. Maybe we are calling it a journal these days. Yet here I am, recording my progress, giving in to my exhibitionist—expressionist?—tendencies.
Friends, readers, I am finally walking without a limp. Armed with evidence that I am getting better, I now venture out with more confidence, occasionally feeling so bold as to climb small slopes. Sometimes, strangers stop to ask what’s wrong. Perhaps they are concerned that the brace spoils my outfit. I don’t usually mind their questions. I must admit there was this one time at the bank, when I didn’t quite feel up to a conversation, a white woman sitting next to me was being more friendly than required. I took a good look at her—she only had one leg. And I could feel my brain recalibrating itself; because her condition was worse, and permanent, I would be nice to her, answer her with a smile.
I have realised it is always better to have something to show for the injury, so no one gets in your way. This is especially true in India, where personal boundaries are looked at with scorn. I got into a minor altercation with a woman at Bangalore airport, after I told her off for falling on me while rushing to get through security check. “You don’t look like you’re injured!” she growled. Then there was the woman at Mumbai airport who spent an hour profiling me from three seats away. Eventually, she’d overhear enough to be convinced I spoke Tamil. She would come to me and say, “You look fine, why do you need the wheelchair?” She’d concluded I had somehow hacked my way out of queues. She doesn’t know I like queues.
I have been feeling brave enough to try dancing.
1 2 3 4 (Right) 5 6 7 8 (Left)
It is awkward, I cannot seem to will my knee into making micro movements, or recover quickly enough for the next step. I miss dancing more than I imagined I would. It is one of the few things I am terrible at and yet keep returning to, feeling no pressure to get better. I watch myself, and I am hilarious.
Do you know, he asked me, when it’s dark outside and you have the lights on, everyone who glances this way can actually see you?
I was pleased. Look in by all means.
As I walked out of the grocery store, I noticed an elderly woman wearing an ankle brace and a beret, carrying a large cloth bag and a backpack. Someone asked her if she needed help, and she irritably waved them away. We stood together at the bus stop, looking at our watches.
“Did you dislocate your knee?” she asked. “It’s the ankle for me.”
I learnt that she was Irish, she came to the US in her twenties, she’d studied environmental science, and she feels disappointed by her generation.
“We were sellouts.”
She instructed me that my generation had to do better. I don’t know if we will, I wanted to tell her, we are all sellouts too. In fact, we are worse, we think being outspoken on social media is activism, we concern ourselves with non-issues and ignore the rot.
Here’s a window, I thought, to look at a future version of me. The view was alright. I wonder what she thought about having children. I should have asked her.