It finally happened. Twelve years in the making; from high school prom, my high school graduation, and through college.
My cane finally met her end.
We had so many firsts together: when I got my period, crossing my first major intersection by myself, the first time a man asked me out, my first job, buying my first adult toy, my first college course…
She was there (and responsible for some) of my embarrassing moments: when a guy asked me out and I thought he was making a joke, so I laughed out loud, missing the Caution Wet Floor sign and causing me to trip over it – of course making a loud racket (cursing as I fell) and causing everyone to freak out and ask if the poor, blind girl was okay, tripping (accidentally!) my friends/family/professor, missing a stranger’s legs, having me think the chair was empty…
You were there when I got lost, confidently tapping against every landmark but the one I needed. You were there when I was angry, smoothly sliding side to side in front of me, catching every obstacle that was in my way. You were there when I was sad, felt hopeless, felt ashamed, confused, and tired.
You were there the first time a man slid his arm around my waist, fingers trailing across my skin, dipping at the curve of my ass, ending with his hand clenching at my side, forcefully directing me to where he ‘thought’ I wanted to go. You were there countless times after, solid, every time a man or woman directed me with their hands instead of their voice.
You were folded, tucked in my purse snug against my wallet when I got Sadie.
You were there when I second guessed my partnership with Sadie.
You were there when…
My brother and I were at the store; standing in front of the frozen dessert aisle, debating on what we wanted. I was holding my cane loosely in my right hand when it happened. Broken. Five pieces.
There we knelt, in front of the pies and ice cream. My brother gathering a few pieces, trying to put them back together. The string tying the sections together seemed to have snapped.
Not bothering to move – and being calm all the while, I slid the string attached to the handle through the second section, then the third, then the forth. The string wasn’t long enough to go through the fifth piece.
It is stupid, I thought, to tear up over a cane. I barely use it anymore.
Gathering my pieces, I slipped them into my purse. My feet moved automatically after that. Left, right. Confident. How odd, I thought, that my legs are confident and strong, but my right hand didn’t know what to do – closing into a fist, then grasping for something, then hanging, limply.
When my brother left me to get something in another aisle, I stood there feeling foolish. What if someone stands in front of me, waiting for me to move out of their way so they can get something from the shelf behind me? I won’t know they’re there. They won’t know I’m blind. Just someone wearing sunglasses in a store. No cane. No blind identifier.
Hours later, my cane rests, folded in my purse. It’s useless now and I should throw it away, but…
It is stupid to tear up over a broken cane. It’s not like I use it very often.