Gumption Man

The athletes in London are wondrous. Athletes everywhere are wondrous.

Today I saw a big-shouldered man with a left leg and a prosthesis where his right leg should be, riding a mountain bike along a path, a path that skirts Diversey Harbor like a crayon wiggle.

Did he lose his leg or was he born without it? I think he lost it. He’s symmetry interrupted, everything large and in place except for the missing leg, like a brick house with one window blown out.

How did he get on the bike? Did somebody hoist him up and attach him? He probably handled this himself. He had the square jaw of a man whose eyes would dare you to help. You wouldn’t.

By the look of the fake leg, they had been a team a long time. It was worn in like good Nikes, and useful, almost like a real bone-and-muscle-skeleton, minus the rest.

He moved with what I’d call gumption. Was he gumptiony before he lost his leg or because he lost his leg? (original posted 2010).

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About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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