8thdayfiction

…and on the 8th day, micro fiction was published on some dude's blog.

Baby Steps

Mary Anne had tiny feet.

And when I say “tiny feet”, I don’t mean she was petite and wore a small shoe size.

When she was born, both of her feet were about the size of walnuts—abnormally tiny even by newborn standards. The rest of her body was an average, healthy baby size, and as she grew up, her body grew and changed normally, except for her feet. They stayed the size of walnuts all her life.

That didn’t matter to Brett. He loved her from the moment he first laid eyes on her, spring semester freshman year. He looked right past the wheelchair to which she had been confined her whole life (having feet that small was really like not having any feet, so braces, crutches, and walkers weren’t options).

No, what he saw was her smile. He loved it, wanted to see it for the rest of his life, and decided right then that he was changing his major to Engineering. His mission was going to be designing prosthetics that would allow Mary Anne to walk for the first time in her life.

By senior year, after countless failed prototypes, Brett was confident he’d done it. Mary Anne always insisted it didn’t matter one way or the other, but he knew better. He knew how badly she wanted to walk, and he badly wanted to make it happen.

He pushed the boots on gently, strapped them tightly around her calves, adjusted the prosthetic “ankles”, guided her to a standing position, exhaled, and said, “OK. Try ‘em out.”

Mary Anne took about three steps and collapsed with a painful gasp. She was usually stoic when facing yet another setback, but this time she cried.

Brett rushed to her side , took her hand, and whispered in her ear, “It’s OK. We’ll get this. Baby steps. We’re taking baby steps.”

Wait, wait, wait.

WAIT.

BABY STEPS” is what he said to her? The woman whose feet would have to be, like, five times their current size before they’d even be considered baby-sized? THIS is what he said? To reassure her?

Oh, that is RICH.

Why didn’t he just say, “I’m here for you as you face the agony of DE FEET”, am I right?

No, OK—where were we? Ummmmm-um-um…small feet, no-good prosthetics, umm…oh. OK, here we go:

So, let’s see: They’re still together, still madly in love, Brett’s still trying to make a working prosthetic, and…that’s where things stand as of right now.

OK: “…where things STAND”?

Seriously?

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5 thoughts on “Baby Steps

  1. Kind of a bizarre story and not in a bad way. I’m really intrigued by the fact that the description of her feet was sweetly endearing (“the size of walnuts”), bringing to my mind fairies flitting around with their acorn hats and walnut shell beds, instead of being focused on less pleasant words usually utilized when describing physical abnormalities. Perhaps it is just my reading of the first part, (because yes, I realize that I probably think fairies where another reader wouldn’t) but the pleasant manner and the sweetness of the guy’s love in the first part of the story lulled me so much that the cut in narration that occured after the ninth paragraph was that much more jarring. I don’t know what I feel about the rest. It sort of shattered my “all can be a fairytale no matter what the circumstances” feeling, at least until the very end when you again reminded us of his continued love. Of course, well written in the aspect that you were obviously trying to jar us as the reader, but still very unsettling, uncomfortable and bizaare… And it seemed like the narrator that was mocking both the story and the protagonist was actually the bad guy with all of his pointing out of unpleasant foot puns. Ironic that it was the narrator that shattered what he was accusing the protagonist of shattering. Meaning that he seemed to be the one mocking a crippled individual by pointing out the defect in an innocently meant remark. Hmmm. Oddly sweet story…

    • Those are good thoughts, and very similar to what I was thinking when I came up with the idea and as I wrote/revised it (the idea of kind of a sweet story having the wind taken out of its sails by a snarky narrator). Huh, it’s like we know each other or something.

      P.S.-The idea of comparing her feet to walnuts was just me thinking of something small and roundish. It wasn’t a word choice that was intended to have strong significance (and wasn’t, as I’m sure will be no surprise to you, inspired by fairies).

  2. Unless MAYBE, the title of the book I just read that had “Nutfolk fairies” in it, somehow influenced you without you knowing… but in all seriousness, glad I read it as you intended 🙂 Sign of a good writer, I’d say!

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