I hadn’t seen her in several years but I had heard she was without legs, arms or a torso. I had forgotten by the time I ran into her in a coffee shop of some side street in some unknown town. One would think one would remember such a painful experience but I hadn’t. So she caught me by surprise. And I nearly missed her, she was so short. Not that short’s even a word when describing a living, breathing, human bust.
My friend and I, my new friend, were sitting in a coffee shop. And the town looked like Georgetown but it wasn’t familiar. At least not to me. There were canals and small side streets, there were alleys representing a possibly safer city, my mind went north west. Who knows where we were by that time.
She was triangular really. And she hopped or wiggled or waddled or just shimmied over the floor. And I knew this apparently but could not stop staring. She didn’t scare me. It wasn’t even repulsive, though the memory of it is. I kept staring, and that was what became repulsive. And all she wanted was a cup of coffee. She was being ignored because she was too short, having no legs, arms or torso tends to do that to someone’s height—shorten it. And I just stared. I was happy to see her, but was acting fake in that I pretended to not care that she was in this state and I had forgotten about the news. So I acted plainly pleased. It’s as simple as that.
I had my coffee and there were other people cutting in line. In front of her. I’m not sure they even saw her.
Should I pick her up in my arms and have her order the coffee? Or will she feel gross. Is she heavier than she looks? What would that triangular mass of skin feel like sans legs and arms and bottom bones of any sort? And is it rough from hopping around so much? Should I do it for her? Should I order the coffee for her? No, that’d be rude. She probably is used to living like this now. Why doesn’t she have any arms or a torso? Why doesn’t she have legs? They make legs, don’t they? And why would any doctor suggest a patient continue living after this. Why does every decision for life start and end in the mind? What?
More small talk.
You’re birthday is soon! Happy early birthday! You’re 29 right? How’s the band?
[SHE CAN’T PLAY ANYMORE, IDIOT! SHE HAS NO ARMS OR LEGS!] My head screamed at the inside of my skull. I looked away.
I thought of panty hose. Perhaps she could use those to ease the pain from the cold floor. Surely it must chafe and they don’t make shirts for her. Not in this shape. She had nothing to cover anyway. Her boobs were gone. She had no bottom half. What’s their to hide. But wasn’t she cold? [PANTY HOSE WILL BRING BACK BAD MEMORIES! DON’T EVER SUGGEST THAT!]
This would be the end to this friendship. Surely. I am not strong enough or kind enough to overlook this. She’s too small.
How does she breath? What the hell is going on?
And outside it was pleasant. And I wanted to leave.
Was she depressed? Why is it so hard being honest with people?
We talked a bit more even after I had put my foot in my mouth, something she would never be able to do again. [YOU’RE TERRIBLE! DON’T THINK THAT WAY!] I looked back at my friend, who was waiting for me patiently. She had legs. Perhaps I should return to her now.
It was great seeing you. Are you leaving after you get some coffee?
I’m going to drive back home after this.
[DRIVE?! SHE CAN’T FUCKING DRIVE!]
Oh. Ok. Well stop back there before you go, I’d like to say goodbye.
She didn’t come back by. But as she was leaving, I noticed she has assembled a body in parts manufactured to meet a human norm and suddenly I felt better. She was 5 feet, 6 inches tall. She took her coffee, her keys and left the shop.
Inside turned south and I stood up to follow her out. [Tomorrow, when you wake up, make sure this is only a dream.]