Before we were married you told me you often dreamed of swimming, your lithe body moving fluid and weightless in the water, not sinking from the weight of your half-brokenness, being towed by the rope from your family’s rowboat, a human anchor holding everyone back. You told me you were so glad that we met when you could still rightfully claim the title “Homo erectus” (man walking upright), even though, with your legs held straight in metal cages, you knew that if I wanted to run, you would never be able to catch me, but, you said, at least for now we can see eye to eye. You thought as long as we were on the same level nobody could question our right to be happy. So for 18 years we bandaged the blisters and cuts on your calves and thighs from the unforgiving metal, and you joked to passers-by in the street, I am Iron Man! as they turned their heads at the clank and wheeze of your armour and found compelling reasons to cross to the other side of the street.
For my part, as your wife, I held my arm around your waist to curb my pace and confirm our vows, and wondered if those were questions in their eyes. And I imagined a time when your legs might be released from their cages and replaced with titanium wheels, hoping you would feel the freedom to run, to escape from a new title, “Homo paraplegia”, from being “looked down upon” and being the one always left behind. And I dreamed of us, swimming, adorned with nothing to hold us back, our naked bodies slicing through the water in perfect unison.