When I was young, I made a deal with my parents.
Here’s the story of how the deal went bad.
Sometime after my last major surgery, which was the summer before I went into eighth grade, I started physical therapy.
Mr. Maddox, my physical, therapist, made house calls.
He stretched me, and we did exercises aimed to help me balance better when I learned to walk again.
Since Cerebral Palsy affects people in different ways, I don’t know if there’s a set process to teach someone who has it how to walk a second time.
I remember I had to learn to trust my legs to work and carry me after surgery.
They worked and felt different before.
Another memory I have of those days is when I learned to shift my weight again.
It was a hard thing to learn — to put all of my weight on one leg, take a step with the other one, put it down, shift all of my weight to it and repeat the process.
It happens unconsciously now, but when I learned to walk for the second time I had to will myself to do it.
I remember the day it clicked in my head, the day the light bulb came on and all it took to take a step started to become second nature again.
I don’t remember the date, but the moment burned itself into my brain like a brand.
After the moment happened, or maybe a little before, Mr. Maddox had me walk with a walker, down a hall and back, for practice and endurance.
It’s at this point in the story my parents and I made the deal.
It was more like a bribe, but the terms were when I walked a certain amount of laps in the hall I could have a hamster.
Please don’t ask me why I wanted a hamster.
I don’t know. I probably could have chosen from a lot of rewards, but for some reason I chose a hamster.
Anyway, the day came when I walked the necessary laps.
My parents held up their end of our bargain and we picked up a hamster.
I don’t remember if it happened to be a boy or a girl, and I don’t remember what we named it, but we also picked up a red ball to put it inside so it could run around.
I watched it run around the house a lot.
It was fun.
It turned out to be the only fun about having a hamster.
The rest involved feeding it and watering it, which wasn’t bad.
What happened to its cage as a result of the food and water was terrible.
The hamster peed and pooped more than one would think possible for such a small animal.
The drudgery of cleaning its cage and ridding my room of unholy odors outweighed the fun of it running through the house in a red, plastic ball.
It didn’t take long for my parents and I to reach a mutual agreement to part ways with my prize pet, because we’d all gotten the raw end of the deal.
This post is a response to Sue’s prompt, which is, “deal.”