The beauty of dating an amputee
I have to confess that the first time I saw her stump I felt a bit disgusted. The skin was loose and wrinkled, full of scars. It was kind of soft to the touch and it had a peculiar smell, maybe because of all that time inside the rubber envelop of her orthopedic leg.
We made love, anyway. Erin, despite having her left leg amputated just below the knee, is a beautiful and sexy woman. She has the willowy body of a teenager, well-defined muscles in her arms, shoulders and back, a flat belly, small delicious breasts and an exquisite ass - as can be seen in this picture I took while she was sleeping.
Soon enough, I became aware that Erin is an expert in the erotic arts. Her desire gets easily turned on and then she gives herself entirely to you, to everything you want to do to her, opening her body with a fiery enthusiasm, without fears or traumas.
We rolled in bed testing every position, every perversion, our naked bodies covered by a sheen of sweat, not knowing if it was hers or mine.
As a prerequisite for our relationship, I required of her the most rigorous honesty: I can’t stand lies, and I hold secrets only when strictly necessary. So the following day I didn’t want to hide what I had felt. “I had some trouble with your stump”, I confessed. Her answer was totally unexpected: “And you think I don’t? It’s been more than twenty years since I lost my leg and I still haven’t gotten used to it”.
That moved me. If I didn’t like her stump I always had the option of leaving her. But she didn’t. She always would have to make love putting just one foot up in the air, trying not to look at her stump, hoping that the lover of the occasion wasn’t bothered too much by her incomplete body.
I think it was then when I started falling in love with Erin.
Little by little, in subsequent dates, Erin told me her story. When she was a teenager she loved to run. She would spend hours jogging between the houses of Burbank, just at the foot of the steep San Gabriel mountains that mark the horizon of Los Angeles. She ran marathons and even won a few medals. She had beautiful legs, strong and slender. Once, when she needed money, she signed up to show them off in a strip-tease show, and they were a big hit.
She was twenty five when disaster stroke. At sunset, on a fine September day, a friend asked her to take her home in her scooter. A car appeared out of nowhere, making an illegal left turn, and slammed into them. Erin found herself lying on the street with her left foot torn apart, spitting her teeth on the asphalt. Her friend came out of the accident unscathed.
Erin spent several months in the hospital, until Christmas. The doctors did everything they could to save her foot, but to no avail. Erin told her mother that she’d rather die than to let them cut away her leg. She couldn’t live without being able to run.
In the end, it was the stench of the gangrene that changed her mind: an odor indescribably foul that was with her night and day. She thought she was going crazy, particularly knowing that it came from her own body.
One day the doctor came into her room and looked at her without saying anything. “It has to go, doesn’t it?”, said Erin. The doctor nodded. But that was not the end of it. Even after the amputation, the gangrene continued to spread. The doctors had to cut her leg over and over again, every time a bit higher, getting closer to the knee. Her fibula had to be completely extirpated and only a little piece remained of her tibia.
To cover her stump, they had to remove skin from the front of her thighs, leaving two rectangular patches of whitish skin that resemble the mended pants of a beggar. One day, joking, I told her that she looked like a scarecrow. For a while, she signed her e-mails “scarecrow”.
Erin had no money to buy an orthopedic leg, so she made herself a wooden leg, like a pirate’s leg, that she tied to her stump with leather straps. Her workmates gave her stickers and tags that she placed over the wooden leg until it was completely covered.
Now she has a nice orthopedic leg that allows her to walk normally. One day we went to the beach and I convinced her to run with me at the edge of the surf. Yes, Erin can still run, but she doesn’t do it unless necessary because the repeated impact can crack the plastic of her orthopedic leg, and she doesn’t have enough money to replace it.
I never thought that I would end up with a lover with a broken body. I never thought I would come to like her so much. What is beauty, in the end? There is a beauty that is easy to see, the one that they instill in you in movies, magazines and advertisement. The soft, unblemished skin. The symmetrical body. The shapely muscles with that thin layer of fat that soften the corners of the female body. That type of beauty is just an animal reflex; in the end everything comes to attraction to whatever reveals health and revulsion to whatever indicates disease.
But there is another type of beauty that is exclusively human: the beauty of acting the right way, of living an ethical life. The beauty of a story that touches something deep inside you.
That’s what I see in the mutilated body of Erin: her story, the courage that she summoned to face never been able to run again, having to spend the rest of her life dragging a leg made of plastic and steel.
Now, when we make love I kiss her scars, I caress her stump. She tells me it’s quite sensitive, because all the nerves that used to ran all the way to her feet had to end there.
Yes, Erin is beautiful, and not only because of her slender body, her flat belly and her exquisite ass. She is beautiful because of her missing leg, the rectangular patches of whitish skin in her thighs and her scars. Those things speak of her story, her suffering and her ability to overcome it. They show that her good mood and her easy smiles are her conquests, her triumph over bad luck. They show that she has more strength that most of us will ever have.
I wrote this article in 2013, while I was dating Erin. She loved it and showed it to all her friends.
She left me in June that year. Soon afterwards, in November, she took her life. It seems that what she told her mother was true: it was too painful for her to live without her leg.