I’m a watcher. I never thought I would become one, but I have. I sit here for about seven hours almost every day, staring out the aluminium windows at Melbourne, splayed out below me. At least, sitting here, I have a good view. It’s a good vantage point, to watch people from, and they can never watch back.
I guess this habit of watching people developed after the accident. When you suddenly lose the feelings from your hips down you tend to do a lot of sitting. It was such a stupid accident as well. I regret diving head first into that lake every minute of every day. It was an accident that could have been so easily avoided, but that doesn’t matter now. I didn’t avoid it. Now I am here. The doctors say I can’t leave home yet. They say I’m lucky I’m not a quadriplegic, that things could have gone much worse for me, that I survived and should be grateful.
I know we’re going to have to leave this place soon. Living in a high rise apartment when you’re in a wheelchair isn’t exactly the most convenient option. Still, it’s going to be harder to watch people if I’m down below. My parents are slowly removing our possessions, carting them down in boxes, leaving with them, two at a time. I can’t help, of course, even if they’d asked. There are too many hazards here for me, they said, just like they said getting aluminium window repairs in Melbourne up here wasn’t cheap.
That was when I was mad. That was when I didn’t want to watch, I wanted to live. I’ll have the scars on my fist for a while, they said. So many scars, said I. There are the ones you can see and the ones you can’t.