A young guy in his early 20s; bearded with a black grubby farm equipment hat. He had crutched out of the pub and was collapsing into a wheelchair. An attendant was holding the chair steady as he fell back, swinging his left leg onto the horizontal support. When he moved his pants crept higher to show shiny steel. His lower leg was a pole that disappeared into his dusty running shoe. It looked clinical, intimidating. As his jeans showed all, his head snapped up, scanning the small pack of girls passing by. Scantily dressed like most teen folkies, they pulled alongside him as he showed something he wanted kept secret. His piercing eyes, tinged with fear and doubt, instantly searched their faces in that second of eternity. Did they see it? Would it push them away? Would it ruin his chances, chances already slim because he was in a chair? Was his quick cover-up enough to keep hope alive?
His eyes were an ocean of hurt and rejection. They begged for acceptance, pleaded for understanding, for someone to look beyond the metal chair and the metal leg to a young man driven by the ancient desire to hold a young woman. Or at least be noticed by her.
As soon as he hit the seat of the wheelchair and could free his hands from his crutches he tugged on his jeans to cover his metal. It took less than a second but when he looked up again, they were gone. They hadn’t noticed his leg. It hadn’t repulsed them. They hadn’t seen him at all. As they walked on he started to turn his head to look after them but half way around he stopped and slowly twisted back.