It is difficult to find the opportunity to chat with William. He usually logs into ICQ after midnight. I will usually be in bed and asleep at that hour. A few days ago, those rare times when I was still online after midnight, we had the opportunity to catch up again. We started to talk about my previous entry Cure for Spinal Cord Injury. He told me, “Honestly until today I still believe one day you will stand up and walk.”
It is really nice that someone I have met only a handful of times telling me that he is still bearing the hope that I will walk again some day. What William knew about me was from the chats that we had many years ago and those few times that we had met, either in Kuala Lumpur or Penang. Although I have long given up the notion of ever walking again, what he said got me thinking.
What will it feel like to be able to walk again – without equipment, unsupported and under my own strength? The perspective certainly will be different. I have a metal frame that helps me stand and parallel bars that I use for my walking exercises. Whenever I stood up, everything looked unlike those from the viewpoint while sitting down. But that is different. I am confined by the length of the parallel bars and the stationary frame. To be able to stand up and walk around and see things from a different view will be a totally new experience. Things that used to be out of reach will no longer be so. I will be like a kid who has suddenly grown two feet. The sights will be so very fascinating from just two feet higher. Believe me. It will be like being in a new world altogether.
And I do not have to talk to groins and breasts. Two of my cervical vertebras were fused together to strengthen the fractured one. This has severely limited the rotation of my head. Ideally while talking to a person on a wheelchair, one should kneel beside him so that the conversation can be carried out at the eye-to-eye level but most do not. They just stand there and expect me to look up to their face. I have talked to tall men. I have talked to well-endowed women. It can be embarrassing when my eyes are always fixed onto those intimate parts while chatting with them. I did not mean to. I could not help it. The movement of my head is restricted. What am I supposed to do?
What will be the things that I will do when I can walk again? I will walk into the House of God and kneel down and pray and praise and thank Him for that miracle. And then I will pay my respects to Mum and Dad for giving me life and for giving me hope when all seemed lost. And then I will take Wuan to the beach and walk and walk and walk and watch the sun set and rise again together. And then walk some more. I will take her to all my favourite spots and hiking trails and be in communion with Nature, just the two of us. And then walk some more.
If I get back the use of my hands as well, I will get a guitar and serenade her with some of our favourite songs from Bee Gees to Eagles to Whitney Houston. Yes, we are from that era. And then I will cook for her with my own hands. And yes, I will do the cartwheel, just for her. The cartwheel thing is from an e-card that she had sent to me many years ago. I have long forgotten what the content of the card was but it had greatly encouraged and amused me at the same time. Yes, I will do many cartwheels, just for Wuan. And then I will go to Kuala Lumpur and paint the town red with William. It is good to have dreams like that to keep the hopes alive. Thank you, William, for igniting that aspiration in me again.
The photo above is one of those few taken my before my accident. My classmates and I were on the way back from Pantai Kerachut. We were caught in the rain. I am on the right. Pantai Kerachut is one of my favourite beaches. It used to be isolated and pristine. To reach the beach, one has to hike a 4km trail beginning from the Teluk Bahang fishing village.