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Diary of a Girl's Legs
Meg Tuite

The two of us decide to tell our side of the story, because of course there are multiple angles we can take. We do not want to whitewash the girl above us. So this will be written under the skin, below the dermis floating among the veins, the arteries, the muscles and the bones. This is a place where only the blood can censor us. The girl has cut into us before so we must be cautious, slippery and set down the script beneath the razors, the black-outs, the drugs that speed us up or grapple with keeping us in touch with the earth.

We have leapt over the head of the girl above us. The two of us take her to places she never wants to go. Wrap ourselves around bodies of people she no longer remembers, nor cares to acknowledge through memory. Lurch forward into rooms and announce ourselves even when the rest of the girl resists, an earthquake inside her, the stretch of lava burning through, breaking down her cells into quantum fear that is in the process of working up its own formula, imprinting a deeper story, another journal.

Our tale begins as a tadpole. We are fused together inside the womb of a woman who is barely breathing from the conquest of grief that encompasses her. The girl's mother, our grandmother, has bone cancer and only a few months to live at most. We become encased in a fluid of violence and torrential tears. We exercise and thrash ourselves through the thick waters that attempt to annihilate us.

Despite the woman's imprisonment we start to paddle and become two now. We remind the world of our imminent arrival by kicking as much as we can. Sometimes the mother laughs when she sees us poke around under her globular belly.

And yes, we survive. We wobble, straddle, stagger, weave and fall.

That doesn't end once we long-limb, long-live runs, jumps, leaps and battle wounds. Scars cover our kneecaps from banging into a statue of some long dead saint. The girl fills herself with a tyranny of alcohol, Black Beauties, angel dust, sex with strangers and razor blades to slice at us. She doesn't recall the darkness. She flies across the ice and slams the cement base of the statue with both knees. We buckle under her and she passes out. The next morning the school nurse screeches at her along with the screeching gulls battering in the girl's head. The nurse scrapes away at us. It is too late for stitches. We bear the pain, the slashes.

The girl wants to stop herself. This is what we know. She attempts many times to break us down. She jumps from building to building. We bear down with all our force and momentum to keep from cascading down the side onto the cement far below. We sometimes just barely make it.

The arms above us grip the edge of the building as we search for a protruding brick to hold our weight.

We get tired. The veins start to rebel. If we aren't allowed to run unrestrained, the blood will pool, the valves will weaken and the venous walls will stretch and become floppy. The varicose veins will strain against the surface of our skin, torture and dilate.

So the rebellion is beginning. We force the girl to move where she doesn't want. She is afraid of many things. We plunge her, legs first, into those fears. It is the only way we will continue forward.

She is burdened with thoughts of lunacy. Her mother carried craziness in her blood. Her father told her to shut-up, be still. Things might or might not have happened to the girl. It is too far back to reach and she refuses to try. She hears voices that she doesn't recognize.

She is constipated by new situations. Her voice abandons her when she is asked to speak.

We drive her to the university. She is strutting down the hall to registration. She cannot stop us. We sit in front of a computer. We will not budge until she has made the right choice. The hands and arms are working with us. This is a case of survival now and all limbs are on to her. Once she types in the right keys, we walk her to the window to seal the deal. She pulls out her wallet with gritted teeth.

She hands the woman behind the glass window her student ID.

Speech class, the woman says.

The girl opens her mouth to nothing, nods and thinks of running away, but she needs us for that.

The computations are made and we are on our way out of the building.

She is going to make each and every class.

We rev up the engine. The girl is sure she is going mad. She doesn't know where she is off to next, but we do.

Enough with the pills. The razors. The black-outs. Do we know what it's like to be stuck in the mud? To realize that we are going down?

We do. We can taste the poison building inside of us. Sharp objects have tried to nullify us. Each day the girl lays in her bed. She doesn't want to move. We cramp her feet, sometimes her calves. We spasm into restless leg syndrome. This forces her to get up.

But she can no longer stagger to the medicine cabinet. Instead she is putting on pants and getting dressed. She opens the phone book and her finger traces a line down until it stops at a name. It is a psychiatrist. The girl knows she is heading to see her.

We run her to the car again. She is suddenly finding this absurd and smirks to herself. We are lighter in step. We even make her skip, just for the hell of it.

The girl is shocked by this thing that floods over her. Bathes her in a strange flutter of light.

We know what it is. We are recording the movements. It is something she hasn't felt since before we were a tadpole. It is relief.


words: Meg Tuite, New Mexico (Website)
image: '3' - Rose Hunter, Mexico (YB / Fotos del Dia)


another movement: artificial limbs


. .BluePrintReview - issue 29 - Diary of