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Coffee

Rating:; Genre=Fiction; Pages=4; Characters=8,832;
Dear Armcast,

I have spent many enjoyable hours on your website and others but I think it a pity so many of your contributors focus on the callipers rather the person.

In my youth I had the good fortune to meet several girls who had suffered Polio and as a consequence had to wear leg irons, braces or callipers. Each one was a person who deserved to be considered for herself rather than as an object. If one considered only the braces then one misses so much.

Coffee

The figure swayed out of sync with the rest of the tea time crowd hurrying home to the television. As I got closer I saw the reason for the uneven gait was a long black steel calliper on her left leg that was locked into the heel of her boot by leather straps and a T shaped strap round her ankle. Her skirt was unfashionably long and her coat was functional rather than stylish.

Each time the young woman transferred her weight to her callipered leg the T strap was pulled tight against the steel bar holding her foot rigid. By now I was a few steps behind her and I was busy thinking of ways to gain her attention. The quiet thud of her braced leg as it hit the pavement contrasted with the metallic click of the fittings on her boot heel as they contacted the bars of her calliper and prevented her toes catching on the pavement.

At the end of the block was a crossing and reaching it she stepped up to the kerb and lowered her calliper foot down into the gutter and stepped down and started to cross the road. Suddenly her arms flew out as she tried to regain her balance. Her surgical boot had slipped on a drain grid and she started to fall.

Instinctively I leaned forward to pull her toward me and grabbed her around the waist. The scent of her hair was wonderful as I felt her tensing to hit the road. After a second or two she realised she was still upright and I whispered in her ear ”Have you got your under carriage down”? “Yes thank you for catching me-I’m always making a spectacle of myself” she gasped.

Carefully I relinquished my grip and holding onto her arm stepped in front to face her. She was about 4 inches shorter than I and she had a radiance that I have rarely seen since. Her blue eyes contrasted with the peach bloom of her skin and the slight flush to her cheeks could be put down to either exertion or embarrassment. Taking her arm I walked her to the opposite kerb enjoying the feel of her left breast through her coat pressing against my arm as she put her weight on her calliper.

Too soon we made the opposite pavement and bringing both feet up to the kerb edge she carefully placed her right foot on the pavement edge and pressing down on to my hand she stepped up onto the pavement. Once safe from the traffic we stood looking at each other in a slightly embarrassed silence and she said "well thank you for coming to my rescue". It was now or never so I said can I offer you a cup of coffee.

The relief on her face was tangible and she said "yes please" that indicated a desire no cup of coffee would satisfy. Slipping my right arm under hers we headed off to the coffee house 100 yards up the road.

Moments later I found us standing at the foot of the familiar 3 steps into the coffee house. The preceding 10 minutes had been a whirl of images in shop windows of this attractive womanon my arm-so pretty-so handicapped. We both looked at the steps and she said "I cannot manage those there's no handrail, but thanks anyway". "I can carry you" I said and promptly slipping my right arm round her waist and my left behind her skirted legs and she was in my arms. Up the steps I staggered determined not to make a fool of myself and then i found her boot sticking out on the end of her caliper needed carefull guidance through the door. As we safely made it into the lobby I glanced down and noticed her skirt had ridden up exposing the square leather pad over her knee and the assortment of buckles and catches. Noticing my attention she tensed and said "would you put me down now"? Gently lowering her to the floor I said "Shall we find a seat". "Are you sure" she asked. Without another word I took her hand and guided her through the assembly of office staff and students.

Finding a table in the corner I held the chair for her as she slid in and sat down. Because she had not unlocked the catches on her calliper her leg was stuck out like a chapel hatpeg and I could see she was uncomfortable trying to perch on the edge of the seat. I moved closer so her leg was pressing against my thigh and said "would you mind bending your knee I am falling off the edge here". At this she leaned forward and grasping the catches either side of her calliper, clicked them open and bent her knee.

The next hour passed in what seemed like a moment. She was interested in music and all of my passions including cars and motor cycles and it was not until she excused herself and said she "needed to powder her nose" that I realised how time had flown. I stood up and helped her to her feet noticing the deft way she took her whole weight on one foot and snapped her left leg into the locked straight position.

Steadying herself on the edge of the table she slipped past me and limped accross to the door marked toilet.I note whilst she was out of the room most of the conversation had stopped and they were watching the door.

After what seemed an age the door opened and she walked back into the room still with that smile on her face.I stood up and having paid the bill took hold of her hand and we walked to the door.

When we got to the top of the steps I turned took both of her hands and stepped down onto the first step. "Trust me" I said and she shuffled forward to the edge and carefully lowered her foot in its boot and calliper onto the next step. Whilst I was concentrating on making sure she did not fall I was able to admire the workmanship of her appliance. The rest of the steps were completed with ease and I said "Can I offer you a lift home"? "If it is not too much trouble-I have missed my bus now and was going to get a taxi".

"Rather than walk to the carpark, please wait on that seat until I get back" I said as I almost ran off to the carpark. Five minutes later I drove round the corner fully expecting she would have had second thoughts and caught one of the many taxi's.

Fortunately she was still there as I drove up and taking her weight on her right leg she snapped her calliper straight and limped accross the pavement. I stopped the engine and dashed round to open the doorwhich I held as she tried to get in.

Unfortunately her calliper being on her left leg meant she ended up with her rear poised 12 inches above the seat and her right foot just touching the car floor. She looked a little flustered and deliciously helpless.

"May I help" I stepped close and slipped my arm and shoulder under hers and helped her back to vertical. Once safely balanced again I suggested she hold on to the car and keeping her feet on the pavement lowered her to the edge of the seat. Then she leaned forward, clicked the catches on her calliper open and swung her right foot in. This still left her leg, boot and calliper outside and she was now trying haul it by the knee pad through her skirt. Fortunately the length of her skirt protected her dignity so I gently took hold of the reinforced 2 inch wide strap behind her calf and lifted her foot in.

Once comfortable I passed her the seatbelt and closed the door.

The 30 minute drive to her house passed quickly with continuous light hearted conversation and comment. I could sense neither of us wanted to reach her home. All too soon I was driving into a beautiful old detached house with high hedges and mature trees.

Stopping the engine I dashed round to open the door and help her out. This time she sat back and allowed me to pass my hand and forearm round the back of her calfs and gently pivot her round on the leather seat. This worked superbly we were learning, and placing her arm over my shoulder we were soon both both upright but as her knee was still unlocked I reached down with one hand and clicked the locks in place. I noticed she checked carefully as I stepped back.

At that we both walked hand in hand to the front door. "Thank you for the coffee and the ride home" she said as we stood at the door. "My pleasure" I replied and then pleaded "Can I please see you again"? "Yes please she replied-when" tommorrow I shall have to dash now I have a class at 7, I'll phone you.

At that I squeexed her hand and dragged myself away.

I turned the car in the wide drive and looked back from the gate to see a lady had opened the door and was standing on the step beside her. They were both waving and smiling.

to be continued The Date - Shopping

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