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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2021 - Vol. 18, Issue 2


written by

Lisa Reynolds

I know she’s going to do it even before she does. I can tell by the way she zones in on my cane.

If my husband were here, he’d call her, “nosey” and tell her to bugger off.

I’m more tolerant. Most days.

Today isn’t like most days though. Today, I learned that my illness is getting worse, not better.

So, when her questions come, they hit me. Hard.

“You’re disabled, right?” she says, then adds, “Are you in the acceptance stage yet?”

I cut her a side glance but don’t answer. I just want to buy a coffee and go.

But the woman doesn’t let up and, in truth, I don’t expect her to. I’ve been approached before by others who let curiosity rule their judgement and fail to understand my right to privacy.

“Must be difficult to maneuver with that cane in the snow,” she says, trying a different tactic to bait me into sharing.

It doesn’t work.

I shuffle forward a smidgen and stare at the coffee shop’s menu board, hoping to place my order before I burst into tears.

The woman huffs and lets out an exaggerated sigh, drawing even more attention to us.

Heat floods my face but I tap it down. I can’t crumble. Not here.

Thankfully, the server calls, “Next,” and it’s my turn.

On my way out, I hear the woman remark, “I was just trying to be friendly. People with disabilities can be so cold.”

I swallow and carry on.

Lisa Reynolds is a Canadian writer of poetry and short stories. Her works ar has been  published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Loud Coffee Press Literary Magazine, Reflectoem Magazine,, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Wild Word Magazine (Berlin), The Writers Club - Grey Thoughts, WordCity Monthly Literary Journal, and Written Tales Magazine. She lives in a small community east of Toronto, Ontario.

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