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The Chair Part 1
|Rating:; Genre=Fiction; Pages=10; Characters=19,845;|
By Catherine A.
Tara found the chair at a yard sale, of all places. It was black, a lightweight little thing, and aside from all the dust and the fact that it was missing the coverings on the hack handles, and also had a flat tire, it was perfect. She almost fainted when the old woman said 'take it', before Tara had even asked. She wasn't going to hang around to wait for a change of mind, she took the chair with sweaty palms and drove back to her apartment.
It took her several days to clean it up and find the tire and handles, but in less than a week Tara had an excellent looking wheelchair, black and shiny. She had always been fascinated by wheelchair users, especially females, and had always wanted to experience being in one, to have no control of her legs at all. It was irrational, she knew, but it fascinated her anyway, which is why she took the chair. She was so excited, she hadn't even sat in it yet, she'd decided to wait for the perfect time, a day alone in her apartment, to really get the feel for it. That day was tomorrow, Saturday, and when she woke up in the morning, the chair would be by the side of the bed, ready for her to get in. She got ready for bed and parked her new toy within easy reach for the morning.
She awoke at eight feeling rested and excited. She peered over and saw her wheelchair sitting there, awaiting it's passenger. She threw the covers off and sat up, determined not to rush into it, determined not to use her legs at all, to really experience the helplessness of being paralyzed. She reached over and pulled the chair right up to the edge of the bed, then lifted one leg over the side with her hands, like she had imagined doing so many times. She lifted her other leg over and placed it near it's twin. With the wheelchair locked in place, Tara gripped the far wheel with one hand and supported herself with the other on the bed. With one rather clumsy movement she slid herself into the seat of the chair. As soon as she was seated, a feeling of dizziness came over her for an instant, and was gone, so she almost didn't notice it. She used her hands to put her legs into the legrests of the wheelchair and then, still dressed in the long nightshirt and socks she had slept in, wheeled herself into the kitchen to eat breakfast.
Being in the wheelchair was great! Rolling so easily about, she did a lap around the apartment and into the bathroom first to see herself in the mirror. There she was, young, only 25, and as far as she was concerned, very pretty. She saw herself in the wheelchair, and realized her legs actually looked kind of paralyzed, they looked thinner in the chair. It was probably her imagination, she decided, from the excitement of actually being in the chair. She wheeled out of the bathroom and into the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal.
In the kitchen, she grabbed the milk from the fridge with no problem, then took a bowl from the counter before realizing that the cereal was in the top cabinet. Oh well, she thought, so much for being paralyzed all day. She Decided that her bowl of Count Chocula was a higher priority than her game and went to get up to get the cereal box. As she went to get up she cried out and fell out of the wheelchair onto the kitchen floor.
"What the-" she said, then realized why she fell. Her legs hadn't done what she told them to! She looked to see her legs folded behind her, one foot at kind of and odd angle still on the wheelchair footrest. She realized it didn't hurt, and then realized that she couldn't feel her foot. She couldn't feel either of her feet! She couldn't move her legs at all, and from her ankles down she couldn't feel them! Tara was frightened and confused, she couldn't understand how or why this had happened, but she had to do something, and laying on the floor wasn't going to help at all.
Tara decided that she had to get back into her wheelchair if she was going to get help or figure out what was going on. She pushed herself up to sitting and dragged herself beside her wheelchair, a chair which, by some strange twist of fate, she now required to get around. She locked the brakes and started to drag herself up into the chair. It was difficult, and she almost tipped over twice before she got up to the seat and turned to sit. She looked down and saw her legs twisted and hanging limply off the side of the chair and couldn't believe it! She was paralyzed, her legs refusing to work in any way. She lifted her legs into the legrests with her hands and suddenly realized that her legs were now numb almost to her knees! She was losing feeling in her legs at an alarming rate! How far would it go, how high would the paralysis take hold, and why?
She wheeled herself to the phone, but who could she call? A girl in a wheelchair saying she couldn't walk would sound strange, but she had to do something. As she sat by the phone it began to ring. She lifted the receiver to hear a strange voice on the other end.
"You are now what you wanted to be Tara, isn't that right?"
"No-, yes-, I don't know, who are you, why is this happening?!"
"You used the chair of your own free will, and with that act have given up your legs, as you have wanted for so long."
"But I didn't know, I can't move my legs, can't feel them, why is this happening? I want my legs back!"
"There is a way, Tara, but it will not be easy. You must stay in the chair all day, your legs will not work for you today at all. Live in the chair until you go to bed, then in the morning when you awake, your legs will work again."
"That doesn't sound hard, that's all I have to do?"
"That is all, but you do not know all the facts. You have to make a choice upon waking. If you get up and stand, the spell is broken and you will walk again as if nothing had happened. If you get into the chair again, you forfeit the power of walking forever."
"I still don't see the difficulty in that, I'll simply stand when I wake up, and that's that."
"But you don't understand, the spell of the chair is twofold. If you wake up in the morning and stand, Tara, the world will be as if nothing had happened. But if you get back into the chair the spell will be complete. You will be paralyzed, from the waist down, never to walk again, that is true, but there is more. If you sit in that wheelchair, a girl you don't know, a twelve year old girl in a town hundreds of miles away who has been confined to a wheelchair since birth, who has never taken a step in her life, will wake up healed, able to run and skip and jump rope like any other girl. She will get a new chance, a chance you had but decided you didn't like. You've wanted to be handicapped for years, she never did."
Tara was stunned. She hung up the phone and wheeled herself into the bathroom to splash water on herself. She looked in the mirror, still in the long nightshirt, sitting in the shiny black wheelchair. Her legs were a little thinner, she realized. By now she had lost feeling up to her thighs, and she was realizing for the first time what it meant to be handicapped. She felt a familiar tingle and realized she had to pee. This was going to be interesting indeed. She wheeled up to the toilet and sized up the challenge. It shouldn't be that difficult, after all, just transferring from one chair into another. She put one hand on the toilet and the other on the wheel of the chair and clumsily slid over onto the seat. She pulled her legs over and realized she still had her panties on, and her long nightshirt was under her. This was going to be trickier than she thought. She tugged at her nightshirt until it was out from under her, but her panties were still on. She tried tugging them down, but with no control of her lower body she couldn't get them off without lifting herself. She put her hands on the sides of the seat and boosted herself up an inch, but then she didn't have a free hand to grab the underwear with. She compromised and lifted herself on one side, sliding the panties partially off with the other hand. She switched and did the same to the other side, until she could slide them down her now paralyzed legs. She just let them sit on the floor at her feet. She realized she had bitten off a lot more than she could chew when she almost slipped into the bowl transferring back into her chair! She wheeled back into the bedroom to figure out how she was going to get dressed. She had already planned her day's wardrobe for playing handicapped, now she would see how it worked for real. First she lifted her left foot into her lap to take her sock off. It was so strange seeing herself pull her sock off a foot she could no longer feel or move. She dropped her foot down, but it missed the footrest and thumped clumsily to the floor. Tara winced but realized she couldn't feel it even if it did hurt. She pulled her other sock off and tugged off her nightshirt, leaving her naked in her wheelchair. She felt helpless and vulnerable, scared at the predicament she found herself in. She was paralyzed, handicapped, her legs useless and lifeless. She knew that it was only temporary, all she had to do was stand up tomorrow morning and never look at the wheelchair again. But at what cost? Her mind wandered to that little girl, sitting in a small, child sized wheelchair, probably dressed in some little pink chiffon dress and pigtails. She could heal this girl, give her a full, happy life. It was her choice alone, all she had to do was stay trapped in this wheelchair for the rest of her life. Yeah, tough choice.
She put on her bra, easy enough, and her blouse, there was no problem there, but then she got to the tricky part. She pulled a pair of panties from her drawer and stared first at the panties then at her legs. She bent down with the panties and pulled them over her feet, up to her knees. She got them as far as where her thighs met her wheelchair's seat, then redid her act in the bathroom, lifting herself one side at a time, pulling the panties on. It was very difficult work, and she had no idea how she was going to pull her skirt on when an Idea occurred to her. She grabbed her skirt, a knee length cotton one she was very fond of, and wheeled over to the bed. She put the skirt on the bed, then locked the wheels of her chair. She transferred out of her chair onto the bed, then pulled her legs up with her. It was so strange, pulling the dead weight of her legs up, they were totally numb and lifeless now, truly paralyzed. She laid her legs out in front of her, then bending over put the skirt over her feet, sliding it up her legs slowly. She laid down and pulled the skirt all the way up, then tucked the blouse in as well as she could. She zipped the skirt and sat back up. Dressing complete, because she had already decided that shoes and socks would be a waste anyway, she transferred back into her wheelchair. She wheeled back into the kitchen to have some breakfast, feeling she had finally calmed down enough to eat. The bowl and milk were still out, but the cereal was still in the top cupboard. She decided to have some toast and jam, and pulled the jam from the lower cupboard. She'd have to remember to have someone put all of the things in the upper cabinets into the lower ones if she decided to stay like this. She couldn't believe she was actually thinking about staying handicapped, but the thoughts of that little girl haunted her, seeing little legs playing hopscotch, jumping rope for the first time. She reached for the bread, putting it in her lap and pulling out two slices, then realized that from her wheelchair she couldn't reach the toaster. She stretched and strained, but without the use of her legs she couldn't reach it. She moaned and was about to give up when an idea occurred to her. She was handicapped now, but why should that stop her from doing anything, especially having toast and jam! She went into her utensil drawer and pulled out a long wooden spoon. With that she pulled the toaster to the edge of the counter and put the toast in. She was thrilled at her small accomplishment, and pulled one of the chairs away from the table to make a place for herself. She buttered the toast when it was done and spread the jam on it, really enjoying her breakfast, because she actually had to work to make it. She realized how different life was for her now, handicapped, everything she would have to learn over again if she stayed like this. She looked at herself, her crippled legs, her wheelchair, trying to decide if she really wanted to stay this way, trying to figure out what to tell her family, her friends, her co-workers on Monday. 'Oh, yes, had a pretty good weekend except for this paralysis thing.'
She finished her breakfast and decided to try doing some chores. She grabbed her laundry basket and put it in her lap, wheeling along and putting her dirty clothes into it. When it was almost full she picked up her detergent and put that in the basket as well. The laundry room was down the hall, so she had to leave the apartment, something she was a little worried about, but she did it anyway. Wheeling down the hall, she almost dumped the whole basket over, but caught it in time, only dropping a sock. When she got into the laundry room, a woman Tara didn't know was just taking her clothes out of one of the dryers. She looked at Tara and said hi in a friendly way, which Tara returned. Tara opened the top-loader washer with a little difficulty and put her clothes and detergent in, then shut the lid and almost cried when she realized she couldn't reach the washer controls from her wheelchair.
"You look like you could use some help there." the woman taking her clothes out of the dryer said.
"Could you? I can't reach the controls." Tara almost cried.
"I noticed. It's OK, what setting?"
"There you go. And for the dryer, use the one on the end, it has front controls on it, should be easier for you. If you don't mind me saying so, it must be so hard to get around here in your wheelchair. So many stairs and narrow doors. Someone should do something about it is what I think."
"Yes, you may be right about that." Tara replied. She put her basket back onto her lap and wheeled back to her apartment, realizing for the first time how narrow the doors were, seeing the single step to the front door, a simple thing, but a massive obstacle to her in her new condition. How could she ever live as a cripple? She spent the rest of the afternoon trying to clean her apartment. Her next big surprise came when she tried to get the clothes out of the washer. They were easy to get in, she just dropped them in, but she had to reach down into the washer the get them out, something she didn't think she could manage from her wheelchair, and this time no nice woman to help her. Then she figured it out. The washers were about two feet apart, maybe a little less, and at her wheelchair level, the tops were shoulder height. She grabbed one washer with each hand and boosted up onto the washer her clothes weren't in, sitting on it. She was still amazed at how her legs just hung there. She pulled her clothes out of the washer and tossed them into the basket on the floor. She dropped back down into her chair clumsily, having to rearrange her legs when she was seated. She put her clothes in the end drier, as her newfound friend had suggested, and started the drier, when she heard her new friends voice again.
"I'm Barbara, by the way." Barbara was behind her, and Tara had to wheel around to talk to her.
"Tara. I never thanked you for the help earlier, thanks."
"No problem. I was actually wondering how you were going to get your clothes out, but it seems you managed fine."
"Yes, I manage where I need to." she said with false modesty, inside brimming with pride and accomplishment.
"Well, if you need any help with anything Tara, I'm in apartment 235."
"On the second floor, of course."
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't even think Tara. Here's my number, if you need me, call."
Tara laughed at how embarrassed Barbara looked and said she's call if she needed it, wheeling back to her apartment.
Tara spent most of the rest of the day on the couch watching TV. The couch was strange, she sat in it for a while, but sitting in her familiar couch not being able to feel her lower body at all drove her crazy, so she pulled her legs up onto the couch and laid there, every once in a while looking down at her useless legs. If she wasn't looking at them, it was as if they weren't even there. Finally she got tired enough and transferred back into her chair to get ready for bed.
She took off her shirt and bra, putting another nightshirt on, then transferred into bed to remove her skirt. When she got her skirt off she realized she again had to use the bathroom, so she transferred back into her chair and wheeled to the toilet. After her now familiar (this WAS her fourth time today) routine, she was getting back into her chair when she slipped, falling to the floor and knocking her wheelchair over. She was so tired of this! To go through such and ordeal just to go to the bathroom!! She put her wheelchair back upright and pulled herself back into it, wheeling herself angrily back into her bedroom and transferring into bed, pushing the cursed wheelchair across the room for good measure. Tara had made her decision.
Barbara knocked on the door to see Tara in a way she didn't expect at all. She was wearing a gray business suit and skirt, dark, professional looking stockings and conservative flats, and she was carrying a leather briefcase in her lap, seated in her wheelchair with her legs crossed, all in all looking very professional.
"I called because I'd like a ride over to the management office of this complex. I have a few requests I'd like to make to them."
"Of course, I'd be happy to help Tara."
Barbara followed Tara as she wheeled to the front door, then helped her down the single step. She watched as Tara transferred into her car, then put her wheelchair in the back seat for her. In a minute they were off to the management office, Tara with a list of handicapped-accessible requirements for hers and other buildings. It was the first steps she would take to make her new life as a handicapped woman something more than her able-bodied life had been. And thinking back to just hours before, waking up and feeling her legs, having them back again, and then dropping out of bed onto the floor, careful not to stand or use her legs to her advantage, crawling across the room to her wheelchair, climbing into it and all of a sudden feeling the numbness climb up her legs, much quicker this time than yesterday, until in only minutes she was again paralyzed completely, handicapped, crippled for life this time, and this time by her own choosing. She just hoped it was worth it, she really did.
"Mommy mommy!" was the first thing Lisa Morrison heard that morning, getting up to go help Laura into her wheelchair, or get her water, or whatever it was she needed. Lisa had cared for Laura since birth, and sometimes it was just too much, sometimes she wondered why her little girl had to be born crippled. She almost fainted when she was greeted in the hallway not by a request from Laura, but her daughter herself, running towards her, on her own two legs! She picked up her little daughter and squeezed her and cried 'A miracle, A miracle!"
Cindy found the aluminum forearm crutches and AFO braces at a yard sale, of all places. She was running a finger down the smooth aluminum when the old woman running the sale said to her, 'Go ahead, take them.' She left with the crutches and braces under her arm, and she couldn't wait to get to her house and try them out.
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