February 25th: Strange romance
For the Love of a Leg
, by Melodie Corrigall

Charles or the leg, which was it to be? Charles was difficult to live with, often a negative naysayer. The leg, on the other hand, was an easy partner, and offered comfort in difficult times. It was there for her when she returned home on the boil following a rancid work meeting, there when Charles droned on about why her ideas were impractical, there when the world entire hurtled towards environmental and social disasters.

But her dear leg was more than a comfort in hard times; it also glorified good times. Now when she got a “hats off” from the boss, a seat on the bus, a wink from a stranger, her success was appreciated on the home front. At those times, cradled in her hand, the leg’s warmth and reliable firmness shot electric possibilities surging down her arm.

Since the tiny leg appeared (as with most great loves, unexpected and unsought) her life became more doable, her confidence soared; there was a lilt to her walk. Armed with its presence, she was impermeable to the stings and arrows of outrageous fortune, even to Charles’ cracks. Then came high noon.

For years, Charles and she had shared a home office where they reigned together peaceably, each at his or her own desk. Charles had ignored the mementoes Alice displayed around her computer until the fatal day the innocent appendage caught his eye and sent him spinning. Suddenly, with her husband’s jealous intervention, the leg’s existence was in peril.

“What the hell is that thing?” Charles said sweeping it up from the small tray where it lay cradled among her multi-colored paper clips.

“Leave it,” she warned.

“It’s a tiny leg,” he said incredulously.

It was indeed. A small, translucent plastic leg from, one assumed, an equally miniature skeleton. She had found it, abandoned, on the beach.

“Where’d you get it?”

“Leave it,” she said ramming her husband aside. “I don’t touch things on your desk.” She would have added “except spare change and gum,” had she been in a conciliatory mood.

Charles would have flung the leg into the garbage had she not, like a mother bird guarding her chick, pounced on the predator hawk? The beloved leg safely gripped in her hand, they stared at one another across the chasm.

It was a narrow chasm as their shared office—advertised as a 2nd bedroom when they bought the condo—was too cramped for any but elves to sleep in. The room did, however, serve the two of them comfortably as a workspace: two desks, two chairs and a shared bookcase. But was it big enough for three?

“This is an office,” Charles said. “I don’t want clients finding bodily parts strew about.”

“It wasn’t strewn. It was snug in its container.”

“It’s like those limbs pilgrims hang in churches,” he cried. “Your Catholicism is rearing its ugly head.”

“What about that monstrosity?” Alice roared shaking her finger at the framed mosaic creation displayed prominently over Charles’ desk.

“That’s my Nannie Buffs’ art. In spite of the cracked glass from your rough treatment it’s a beauty.”

“And this?” Alice said opening her hand to exhibit the delicate gem leg sparkling in the sun.

“Al-Al-Al-ice,” he pumped. “You cannot compare a plastic toy part with Nannie’s art: she was a missionary in Africa for God’s sakes.

Alice stared up at the monstrosity of glass, beads, and plastic, roughly shaped into a ship and stuck on a backdrop of faded blue velvet. A beam of light flashed on the broken glass, awakening in Alice an epiphany.

“I’ll have the glass replaced this week,” she said, “Promise.”

Charles looked at her suspiciously, “And the leg?”

“You’ve seen the last of it.”

Alice lifted down the framed art piece and blowing a kiss into her hand swept out the door.
Three days later, when Charles returned from line dancing, Nannie Buffs’ art piece shone clearly through a glass hung over his desk.

“They did a good job,” he admitted, pleased to see Alice had seen the light. “It never looked better.”

“I agree,” said Alice, gazing enraptured past Charles to her true love, which shone like a cut diamond masthead, and was shaped cunningly like a leg.

For the Love of a Leg is based on a true romance with creative license, the leg now lying in a red velvet box of good proportions. When not finding treasures along the beaten path, Melodie Corrigall writes short stories some of which have surfaced in print and on line.

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