Porpoise – Magpie Tales

Tooker Bathers-George-Tooker-1950

Cassie hated the changing rooms and the feeling of being sized up, assessed, compared and found wanting by the other women. With their sleek limbs, muscles rippling under their skin, and flat stomachs, oh yes, she could imagine their thoughts as their eyes travelled up and down her own mis-shapen, lumpy body in revulsion.

She wished she could wear a sign hanging from her neck, explaining to people who she was, what she had been through, how much it took out of her to come here every week, how the memories assaulted her every time she passed through the doors and the chlorine tickled the back of her throat. But that just wasn’t the done thing. And she didn’t want pity, just recognition.

“Excuse me, I’m sorry, aren’t you..?” a teenaged girl was swiping her index finger furiously over her phone, looking first at Cassie, then down again.

“Oh, I can swim, even though it looks impossible. Well, kind of, anyway,” Cassie plastered a smile on her face, practised but not yet used to the sharp stab of pain in her heart. ‘Not the pity, not the pity,’ she thought.

“No! No! It’s not that! You’re Cassie Anderlecht, aren’t you? The Olympic swimmer..?”

“I was the Olympic swimmer, once, yes,” Cassie sighed. “Not any more, as you can see.”

The girl looked Cassie full in the face, ignoring the crutches, the ill-fitting swimsuit, the twisted legs, the scars that bore witness to the story of her past.

“But you’re still Cassie Anderlechts. I’m so very pleased to meet you.”

—–

Here’s this week’s entry into Magpie Tales. Please visit here for more creativity, and why not take part, if you feel the urge!

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33 thoughts on “Porpoise – Magpie Tales

    1. Thank you so much. I tried hard not to go overboard on the ‘schmaltz’. The last line, I hope, seemed to give the story depth. That’s what I was aiming for! Funny how such a beautiful image can elicit so many different stories from us.

  1. The struggle is what we celebrate. Not the achievements. I have no respect for a guy that can hold a trophy, I have respect the guy who’s actually running.

    1. The struggle, the hard work, that’s the important thing. If you’re in a competitive environment and you win, that’s great, but if you don’t, you’re certainly not ‘less than’.

  2. We are so much more than our accomplisments. Our illuminations come from within. We often confuse our identity with our accomplishments. Great story! xo

  3. Such incidents leave a mark on your mind… We also need to understand, its not pity that such people need, but just an acknowledgement of their existence…

    Very well written.

    1. Thank you, Bjorn. Yes, redemption, being recognised for yourself and not for your outward appearance. I think this is key to us all as human beings. We are more than the sum of our parts.

    1. Absolutely. Gorgeous on the outside doesn’t guarantee gorgeous on the inside. Whatever you look like, it’s you, the person, who is important. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

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