Legs by Susan Tepprer

Trey told me not to put on pantyhose. He said it gets in the way if he wants to get in right away. I felt dizzy after he made that speech. I was putting sugar in my tea and I never use sugar in tea. That’s how turned around he made me. The kitchen wallpaper has stripes and they were dancing. Well, wavering. Either way I left for work without my Chapstick and no pantyhose. I was cold walking to the bus. When I got to the bus shelter it was empty. I looked down the street and saw the back end of my bus, the dark smoky tail pipe emission that’s probably illegal. I sat down in the empty bus shelter. It would be twenty minutes to a half hour before the next one. My legs were freezing. I touched them and felt nothing. “This could be bad,” I said aloud to no one. “This could be the start of frostbite.” I stood up and started to move around the bus shelter, then I jumped up and down and bent in different directions. I stamped my feet on the ground. Nothing was bringing back the feeling in my legs. I could see the ER docs sawing them off then asking me if I wanted to take them home.


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Filed under Susan Tepper

15 responses to “Legs by Susan Tepprer

  1. The empathy you elicit for this character, the desire in the reader to try to make her see what she’s doing rather than hide from it in fantasy, is so real and well executed, Susan.

  2. This piece is unsettling–in the way only good, empathetic writing can be.

  3. Kim Hutchinson

    The empathy is strong, and so are the legs as a symbol of her situation. Very well done.

  4. Len

    i really like your still. it started out loose and breezy and got wrenching as it went along. nice.

  5. Somehow I don’t think a thin layer of hose would protect her legs THAT much, but the piece is obviously about more than that. Well told.

  6. Well, I just shrieked with laughter at the last line. Maybe I’m a complete arsehole, but that was so absurd and hilarious, I could almost see the hospital staff asking her, “Would you like fries with that?” Of course the relationship is clearly unsettling, and a subsequent reading further reveals how unsettling the story is and how dangerous the relationship is and yes, indeed, I am a complete arsehole for laughing so hard.

  7. First no pantyhose, and then what? Am I reading into this, or is her ‘over-reaction’ to the cold, and her imagining losing her legs, symbolic of her seeing, and yet not seeing where things with Trey could go? Anyway, really like this, like where it could go.

  8. yes, unsettling, but also inspiring. good detail there…the sugar. and the ending: absurdly comical.

  9. I like how someone else’s desire can become a life-threating situation, and caused me to wonder just how much I or we all do that is not our truth, for whatever apparent reason. It also made me want to move to a tropical desert island, but I did that once, and that’s a whole other story.

  10. grey johnson

    I liked the signals you gave (tea, wallpaper, chapstick) that things were only going to get worse. And like others said – this was really funny.

  11. Poor thing. I bet the DSM has a name for what she is/has.

  12. guy

    The pantyhose bugged for me a morning after i read this. Like ganymeder, i thought if it’s too cold for bare legs, it’s too cold for pantyhose. I have to say that i ended up blaming the victim: “No wonder she got mixed up with that Trey guy.”

    This one stuck in my consciousness.

  13. This one reminded me of The Story of O. The first scene, when she’s in the cab with no stockings or underwear. Your story leaves me unsettled in the way that scene left me, full of angst and foreboding what would happen next to her. Tight and taut and disturbing, the way I like my fiction. Peace…

  14. Such great readers here at this site! I’m still having trouble with the end lines being clipped off– cannot figure this out.. thanks to everyone who commented on this micro. Yeah, cold legs can be a problem…

  15. Pingback: Week #31 – Missed the bus | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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