It was the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. She knew it, but that didn’t make it easier. Ian held out his hand but she ignored him. She grabbed the bar with one hand, then the second and pulled herself up. Balancing remained difficult. Leaning on the bars, she took a step, and another. She fell again. She bit her lips.
Ian leaned again to help her.
“Leah you’re too hard on yourself. It’s…”
She wasn’t going to allow others to help her; if she was going to walk again, she had to do it by herself. So she was going to fall and fall again. She knew that. But she was going to walk again. And if she leaned on Ian now, he would become a crutch and she’d never be on her own two feet again.
After an hour, she’d only made four steps. Well really, she’d used her arms to drag her feet. They weren’t real steps. Ian didn’t let her continue.
“No you won’t. Leah, you’re going to exhaust yourself and you won’t make progress. Do you want to go back to ballet?”
Of course she did. That’s all she wanted. She nodded. He wrapped her arms around his neck and gathered her in his arms before returning her to the wheelchair, the machine that allowed her to go everywhere these days, the one thing she was dependent on. It was frustrating: she’d always been protective of her autonomy. It was gone. For now.
It was the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. The would be many fallings. That was ok; she’d fallen when she started dancing. But like then, she would be back tomorrow and the day after. Until that wheelchair was left in the corner and she could dance again.