Receiving the honor and watching the national flag go up filled her with pride. All the early morning workouts, mind numbing sessions, many a times biting the dust, unrelenting falls flashed past her memory in milliseconds; the times when she had almost given up. As soon as the ceremony ended, she rushed to her room to watch her winning moment again. That last lap of cross country ski broke all the records. It was like a dream, dream that took her back to where it all started… Like a time traveler, she was looking at all of it, from outside.
She was fighting a lonely battle. She knew she could not walk out of this one. She made a call that night. The last thing Major said, “Remember one thing, I will carry you in my arms, all my life; just don’t die on me” fighting the battle for his country. She could not say a word, just listened to the silence that followed thereafter, controlling her tears and urge to melt in his strong arms. They both were at fronts, he with the enemies and she with her own body. A spinal injury had made her visits to the operation theater a routine. She had undergone several surgeries just to be upright and walk. But this time it was different.
She prepared her sons for the worst. She had three days to live life her way. Next morning when she woke up, she put her best dress on and went out to satiate her every desire… a morning walk she never felt the need to go for before, new haircut she was all along afraid to try, a spa she always thought was mighty costly, a lunch in a fancy restaurant, she earlier thought she could never go to, just window shopping and a long drive in her favorite car, all by herself so that she has no regrets, no unfulfilled wishes. She wanted to feel her legs more than ever because these three days were her last chance to walk, to run and to be on her own…
The doorbell startled her. As she opened the door, flash bulbs blanked her out. ‘Ma’m how do you feel, you are the first Paralympic champion from our country? Tell us about your journey ’, she smiled and moved back her wheelchair to let the moment sink in.
This piece of fiction is dedicated to people who don’t let their physical disabilities stand in the way of achieving great things in life. These super achievers could have easily given up and thought that life was over for them. Instead, that wheelchair, that amputation, that impairment became their best motivation and today, they stand taller than most of us, in achievements, in guts, in self-belief and in proving that life is truly what you make of it.