Thursday, 12 August 2010

Loss Of Function - Friday Flash

Being in traction with his body set rigid in plaster for so long after the accident, he had lost all mobility. Though his anatomy healed in time, his mind had been pensioned off from having to steer it and the two-way connection had silted up. A complete loss of function. His inner gyroscope required to be completely stripped back down and reconfigured.

His physical therapist had to help him relearn every movement. Laying bare the complexity of each motion. Analysing its constituent parts and coaxing and teasing the brain to fire again with meaningful impulse and not just into unrequited, dead air. He saluted the utter sophistication of the toddler him some thirty years ago, who had picked up and unlocked all this innate knowledge in his seamless developmental stride. If only he could return to such an innocent state of understanding and assimilation. But then there were other memories presently held on to that he would also have to kiss goodbye into obliviousness.

Here and now the muscles had to be stoked with energy. Sinew reharnessed with directionality and intent. He could lift up his foot, but the mechanics involved in propelling it and the rest of his trunk forward were intricately convoluted, so that more often than not he just placed the foot back down on the spot rather than lurching forward.

But in time and with cussed determination he was able to forge a whole new template for locomotion. His centre of gravity was skew whiff, he inclined ever so slightly to the left, but he could ambulate, feed, clothe and wash himself once again. He fair approximated a working model human being. Thus dawned the day of his launch back out into the world. Without burning up on re-entry.

But one step outside of rehab's revolving doors (which seemed to shovel him forward with more alacrity than he felt decent) and everything felt wrong (though not instinctively wrong, since he had overridden these with his new neural programming). Not just awry, but cardinally adrift. Concreted paving was not the plush carpet of the physiotherapy suite. It was ineffably harder and more unyielding. It pushed back upon the soles of his feet with far greater force than the shag of the interior. Also the uncracked leather of his new shoes had their own protesting agenda, compressing his toes from above in a deadly pincer with that of the stonewalling upthrust of the paving stones. The gentle breeze at his back felt like a ghostly hand tugging him back. These forces may each have been inanimate, but they still had volume and density making themselves heard and felt in his teeming brain. Feedback, incoming, overwhelming his own surety of self. He slithered down to his haunches on the pavement. He was crushed. Stilled.

But he'd been here once before. This loss of function and reflexivity. When it seemed that he had ceased to own his body.

For what had caused his accident, that made him lose all apprehension of externality acting upon him? When all else around melted from any recognition or awareness? Why, immediately after a fall of course.

In love.

Fallen deep and hard.




The Kiss by Marc Chagall

36 comments:

L'Aussie said...

This is a wonderful analogy of two accidents. Excellent. I enjoyed it so much..:)

Laurita said...

Written with your usual care and skill. The body was tightly woud, the ending a free fall. Excellent.

Marisa Birns said...

Really wonderful, Marc! I enjoyed reading this...laughed/loved the line: "(which seemed to shovel him forward with more alacrity than he felt decent)..."

I have been disconcerted in similar manner many times when I use revolving doors!

Adored the picture.

G.P. Ching said...

We take so much for granted while we still have it, our motor functions and our hearts. Beautifully and meticulously written.

alisonwells said...

The disconcerting feeling and description of moving back into the real world both explicit and implied was excellent. Would be good to see you exploring the last sentences more rather than just referring to them, would be nice to see some word acrobatics of lurve.

Jen Brubacher said...

What a terrific picture for this story. And what a great parallel to draw. I had to go back and re-read it and think, "Yup, that can be what it's like..."

Sulci Collective said...

Oh Alison I got those aplenty. Just written one actually. Trouble is they just come out all dirrrrty...

alisonwells said...

Tut tut. Call me an old romantic (although it hasn't got me far) but sex and love are occasionally and always ideologically different. You said yourself there's sometimes a mind-body divide!

dijeratic said...

Marc, this is fantastic - you have a way of creating such unique voices and exploring the inner life of your characters - in a way you take the romance out of it, but not the emotion. And I agree - that picture is perfect, beautiful.

Sulci Collective said...

Alison, it is possible... just doesn't seem to flow out of my pen!

X

Linda said...

Wonderful descriptions of that out-of-whack feeling. The rehab part written so tenderly and so realistically, and you brought it all home in the last few lines. A soft hard landing. Peace...

Dorothee Lang said...

thanks for sharing. what a painful + great reminder that being able to move freely and without even thinking about it isn't something to be taken for granted.

ThomG said...

Carefully crafted, no fat, just a great read that held my attention to the end - and what an ending. Just a pleasure.

Carrie said...

Oh! This was incredibly clever, this. You compared the love to rehab after a horrid accident. Let me borrow your brain, maybe I'll get ahead. Terrific story Marc. You're certainly a favorite FF author.

afullnessinbrevity said...

Just superb. Cleverly constructed and marvellous imagery.
Adam B @revhappiness

Anonymous said...

Wow. This flash got to me on very personal levels & I was so caught up in a wave of my own emotions that the end caught me unawares. & plunged me into yet another wave. & I just finished a huge bowl of spag bol. I'll get you back for that - fucker!
'He fair approximated a working model human being.' - one of my many fave lines. 'burn out on re-entry' super too...

Sulci Collective said...

Spag Bol - I'm guessing that's Penny from the Hood - would I be right?

Gracie said...

It's true, falling in love can make you have to relearn the whole world. And the contrast with going through rehab is brilliant.

Your writing blows me away every time, Marc. Excellent story.

Maria A. Kelly said...

Great analogy of a broken heart as accident. I loved this, Marc. Great job!

Aislinn O'Connor said...

Totally unexpected ending, which gave an extra dimension to an already excellent story. Terrific.

Laura Eno said...

Incredibly detailed and wonderful analogy!

John Wiswell said...

No worse way to hit the ground, but also no better way to go into love than falling hard.

Sueperfluous said...

Loved the analogy between being in love and having been crippled in an accident. The description of physio gives much weight to the way the accident/falling in love has affected him. The ending comes as a complete surprise.Great story

Heather Lloyd said...

Didn't see the ending coming but it makes perfect sense, after all love is rarely without pain and always leaves scars....

vandamir said...

Amazing as usual, Marc.

Cecilia Dominic said...

Wow, he must've fallen in love hard and unrequitedly! Your descriptions were amazing.

CD

Chance said...

Great witty piece and loved the descriptions

Tony Noland said...

Vivid description of the process. The analogy with the loopiness of being in love was touching.

J. M. Strother said...

Nice. I'm thinking the first fall hurt the most. Bones heal, after all.
~jon

Deanna Schrayer said...

Having been through both types of rehab Marc I can tell you the description here is spot on.

Love this line: "... he would also have to kiss goodbye into obliviousness."

Wonderful!

Lou Freshwater said...

I love it when you write about the body. What I especially loved about this piece was going back for the re-read and viewing the experience through the new lens. Fantastic.

Sulci Collective said...

Funny you should say that Lou, I think the majority of my writing begins from the human body.

many thanks

Bukowski's Basement said...

Wickedly clever, Marc... Again, you never fail to deliver. When I grow up, I wanna be a writer as clever as you.

Travis King said...

Good analogy. Some of the sentence fragments threw me off, but I suppose the character himself was feeling a bit choppy as he relearned how to move about in the world, and the style of writing is effective in portraying that. Keep up the good work.

Rebecca Emin said...

You had me totally convinced that your character was the victim of an accident or stroke. What clever writing. I impressed, yet again!

kate said...

great read...tnx