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SmokeLong Quarterly

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I Watch

Story by Stephanie Dial (Read author interview) September 15, 2003

I watch as the nurses perform an intricate ballet with me. They bathe me, feed me, and turn me while they keep up a steady conversation with each other. They manipulate these useless, dead-as-rock limbs of mine without pause or hesitation. Up, down, in and out, flex, release, flex, release. It’s like sex with a familiar lover, done so often it’s automatic. The motions have ceased to matter as only memories of sensations remain. A broken neck and pleasure, along with pain, is denied me now. My body is numb. I gaze passively while supple hands smooth coconut butter-scented lotion across unresponsive skin.

The bath over and the range of motion exercises completed, the nurses straighten sheets and arrange my limbs in a position to best avoid pressure sores.

I turn my head, the only voluntary motion left to me, and watch the nurses walk away. Duty done, their limbs fluidly carry them, strong and sure, to the next patient, where the graceful dance will begin again.

About the Author

Stephanie Dial is a short story writer who feels fortunate to have had a mom who fostered the love of reading in her. As an adult she decided to try writing the stories that kept her company in her mind and in doing discovered more about the written word to love. Some of Stephanie’s most favorite authors are Francine Rivers, Ayn Rand, Issac Asimov, Stephen King, and Nora Roberts. She credits “an unfortunately fortunate happenstance” that left her a quadriplegic for much of her inspiration.

This story appeared in Issue One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue One
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