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.
“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”?