Limp Episode 2 – The Cyclist
People looked up as Link’s bike flashed by. He always pedaled to work, and everywhere else, as fast as he could, convinced pedaling lengthened his bum leg. There was no proof, but at least his legs had grown strong and useful.
He locked his bike in the rack and made his way up the library’s marble steps. People stared at his peculiar stride, right leg first, left bringing up the rear. The week before, his friend Rick told him he walked like a crab.
“So what?” Link snarled. “I’ve always been like this.”
“Everybody thinks you have a weird disease or something.”
“Yeah, I know. People try to guess what it is. They can’t get it through their heads that I’m just handicapped…no big complicated thing.”
Rick nodded. “One guy asked me if you were brain damaged, but I told him you’re smart, you bike, and work like a lumberjack.”
“The brain damage thing is no surprise…I’ve gotten that a few times, but I don’t care. Everybody thinks if you’ve got one flaw, your whole body is tainted…you’ve just gotta forget it and move on. There’s nothing I can do anyway.”
“You sure? I don’t wanna sound gay, but you’re decent-looking. If you fixed your leg, a lot of girls would be interested. Maybe they could extend the bone or something?”
“I’ve had this since I was born and totally used to it. Who needs fucking superficial girls?”
“I’m just telling you as a friend. You take a step and girls freak. Wouldn’t you like to get laid every night?”
“Yeah, sure. Who wouldn’t.”
“Well, you get medical coverage from the college right? Why not check it out out.”
“I don’t need an operation, and I hate hospitals.”
There the conversation ended. Rick idolized Link and constantly butted in and offered unwanted advice, but Link didn’t want help. He’d been on his own as long as he could remember, but always managed to support himself delivering papers, groceries…whatever he could find in a small town.
Link pushed through the library door and navigated through the towering stacks to his cozy cubicle in back. He loved being hidden away next to a big window that faced the quad. A few weeks before, a cute girl had inexplicably started waving at him, even came into the library to find him, but when he stood and shuffled toward her, she was stunned.
“Are you okay?” She asked uncertainly.
“Just a little birth defect, ” Link commented cynically.
“Oh…I’m sorry,” the girl, Paige, said. “I didn’t mean to be tactless.”
Her sincerity piqued Link’s interest and up close she was beautiful…otherworldly beautiful, with white blond hair, sky blue eyes, perfect kissable lips…and incredible mouth watering breasts. Link stood stunned, open mouthed…loins rapidly awakening. He blushed deeply. “You’re not…uh…tactless,” he said vacantly, “not at all.”
“I’m really sorry. Are you a student here?” She asked.
“No. I work in the library doing research, filling the stacks, fixing stuff…whatever they need.” Link figured that would be it. No student would want to befriend a laborer…an honest-to-goodness worker.
“Are you in school?” She asked with continued interest.
“No, I quit after graduating Stoughton High in June. I’m totally attention deficit. Where are you from?”
“Mendocino, California. A long way from Massachusetts.”
“And cold,” he said with a laugh. “Yeah, it’s awesome there…beautiful bay…the town on the cliffs.”
“Have you been.”
“No, but I travel everywhere by computer, especially California.”
“That’s so neat. I see your Big Sur screen saver.”
“Yeah, it’s spectacular. I love the mountains, Pacific, climate. Everything.”
“You should visit.”
“Right…like I’ve got no money.” Link stared down at his feet. To fly from California to Massachusetts took money. Something her family obviously had. No way she’d be interested in a poverty-stricken, townie, cripple.
“Maybe one day if you save up.”
“Maybe, I love to swim and hang out in shorts and tee shirts. If you’re swimming, a limp’s no big deal. Water’s a friendly place, you know?”
“Do you play sports?”
“No team sports…just individual stuff. I swim in the river when it’s warm, bike everywhere, and chop wood on weekends.”
“I swim and surf in California,” Paige said. “You mean you chop wood for exercise?”
“No for a local farmer. He’s a fanatic about maintaining his pile, but he’s like 70, so I’m his arms and legs.”
“You look in great shape.”
“Thanks,” Link said, blushing a second time…hand deep in his pocket holding things down. “I’ll never be in really good shape with a bum leg.”
“What do you mean? Of course you can. Listen, I’ve got to run to class, but I’ll stop by again. It’s lonely being a freshman.”
“I can imagine…I’m Link Twatter, by the way…weird name, right? Almost as bad as my leg.” Why the fuck did I say that!!! he wondered.
“I’m Paige. Gotta go.” She sprinted off.
Link took a deep breath and slumped in his chair. “Boy, I fucked that up,” he whispered.
Next Time: Does Paige come back? What crime is disrupting the campus? Is Link a suspect? Read episode 3!