The Twelve Apostles, a group of limestone pillars off the south coast of Victoria. There are only eight pillars remaining.
Chronic illness wears you down like a rock. Even when you have had good days and you start to think things may be looking better, things may be turning around… there it is again… the feeling of unwell. Drowning in pain and temperature and confusion. No one knows what it is like and the people looking at you can not even tell.
Like a rock, will you be worn down until you become smaller than a grain of sand, until you become nothing?
What sort of chance do I have of never walking across a pedestrian crossing ever again? The ones at lighted intersections I can probably do, but not the unlighted ones.
People in their cars are impatient with me. I look like I should be able to walk faster, so do they think that I am just being stupid dawdling on purpose? I don’t use any mobility aids (even though there are days I probably should). Do they see the limp and think I have a minor issue or injury, not that I am personally struggling with every step that I take? Do I look ridiculously pathetic? Is someone going to jump out of the car and assist me across the road out of desperation to try to minimise the amount of time being wasted waiting for me? Am I in danger of triggering some sort of driver rage, especially with Christmas shopping starting?
I am impatient with me. I take double the time I used to, my pace seems like a crawl and my stride is a definite limp I can’t hide of late. It hurts more the more I push myself to cross fast, even though I try to get out of there as fast as I can. My mind works 1000 times faster than my body right now.
I hate the pain. I hate every moment of those strangers’ eyes watching me. Or even worse, the car people may be people who recognise me and I don’t know they are in the car because I’m too busy trying to disappear into thin air. Being a teacher I regularly run into people who recognise me in the local shopping areas. Out of the comfort of my work environment, my physical issues may become noticed and then I would have to answer questions. I hate questions.
Therefore, I am going to avoid using pedestrian crossings at all costs from now on. Except, as I said, the ones with the lights. I will instead have to dodge around bushes and cars to find a safe crossing point where I can have time and privacy. That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?
Rachel Bello tries to guide a stranded turtle to safety, Great Falls, Virginia.