My crutches felt heavier than I was. They landed with a thick thud on the blacktop each time I took a step. I had to watch how I walked so I didn’t fall, like the other kids expected. I liked to leave my crutches half-buried behind the sandbox, where I couldn’t see them, and creep up the uneven monkey bars arced like the upper half of a globe. I wanted to see the whole playground. The rungs crowded too close together, and none of them was shaped the same. I lifted my feet slowly to keep my braces quiet against the metal. At the top, I could still hear the jump rope flying, my friend throwing handfuls of sand. I slipped. I locked my arms tighter around whatever bars I could reach, and my leg tensed and shook and hit the rung too close to me when I tried going down, and my foot shot through the gap, and dangled there. I thought I could maybe slide out. I thought my body could fit like my foot did, but I was stuck. Everyone could see me, everyone could hear me asking myself What do I do with my body if it’s not a secret?
From Blessings for the Hands by Matthew Schwartz. Copyright © 2008 by Matthew Schwartz. Used by permission of University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.