First Steps—A Short Story

He stood, flanked by metal bars that stretched long in front of him. The sweat of his hands threatened to break his grip, spill him pell-mell onto the floor. This, the first time he’d been out of a chair or bed since the accident, and he was destined to make a fool of himself in front of every single person in the room.

“You can do this, sir.”

Sir. Everyone here called him sir…as if his long ago rank was still settled in stripes on his shoulder.

Across the room his wife, Janie, sat in a plastic chair, twisting her hands in her lap. Round and round. Made him nearly scream. Round and round. Not going anywhere. Tethered to him. Half here. Half full of metal fragments and gone.

His mind fogged, hot as the desert sun.

It’s not her fault.

His fingers tightened, elbows locked against his body weight.

“Sir. You gonna let them win?”

He looked down at his new leg, hard, and solid…rather like his attitude. Captain would hand him his head on a platter. There was no way this Sargeant would go down without a fight. He closed his eyes, shifting one last time before swinging the prosthetic forward, adjusting and stepping. Adjusting and stepping.


Part of the research for my next book has led me to stories of the men and women injured in war. Their struggles both physically and mentally have affected me deeply. This post (in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Try is dedicated to all of you. Thank you for your sacrifices and strength.

May we never forget.




9 thoughts on “First Steps—A Short Story

  1. I’m teary-eyed. I don’t have anyone who has lost a limb in the service, but our 17-month-old grandson lost his leg in a mowing accident. He’s nine now. I’ve watched him over the years endure the same struggle, watched the same determination well up inside of him, watched the same motion of swinging the prosthetic forward, adjusting and stepping. Adjusting and stepping. I feel so blessed to have been the one to follow you on this week’s FMF! (You’re at #61 and I’m at #62.) Blessings! <3

    1. Rebecca,
      I believe our order was ordained by God. I’m so glad the story touched you. In every challenge we face, we have the option to give up or adjust and step (or sometimes crawl!). The message underneath is exactly where I find myself again today and I’m sure I will tomorrow. In the end, I hope I have half as much courage as your grandson.

  2. Another thought provoking article. It is difficult to read about those who have suffered great lost to help secure my freedom and “comfortable” life and am reminded that I tend to take all this for granted.

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