I thought my deformity would devour me. It was a demon with greed in its eyes. The demon wanted all of me, not just my ability to walk like everyone else. It wanted to devour my mind, my personality, my very soul.
I had never been able to walk with the ease of everyone else.Being born with my right leg 3 ¼ inches shorter than the left, it took me longer to learn to walk. I never did learned to run. When I tried to run, it was more of a lurch.
“Look at Lurch trying to run!” the children cried out when I joined them in a game of tag.
“Hey, Lurch, why don’t you have a date to prom?”
“Hey, Lurch, you’re never going to have a girlfriend!”
“Hey, Lurch, can’t you do anything?”
These were the taunts I heard all throughout my childhood and adolescence. Of course, in order to avoid those taunts, I stayed to myself. After awhile, I didn’t try to be like everyone else. I didn’t trust other people to be my friends, so I just escaped into books. No,I was not the kind who escaped into the world of make-believe where everything was wonderful and people lived happily ever after. I knew I would be bitterly disappointed when I put the book down.
My world was that of mathematics and science. Stephen Hawking was the first person I ever dreamed could understand me enough to be my friend. I saw what he had overcome, and I studied more. How many 4th graders understood String Theory? For once, I was proud to not fit in.
“Hey, Lurch, why can’t you get across campus on your own?
“Hey, Lurch, who’s going to hire you after college?”
“Hey, Lurch, why don’t you get some exercise?”
“Hey, Lurch, how did you get to be 300 pounds?”
So much time was spent in books. So much time was spent with food. They were the only things that made me feel good. They were the only friends I could trust, but food had betrayed me. Food had just pretended to be my friend and then stuck a knife in my back!
Why did I ever trust it?
Why did I ever allow it to soothe my wounds?
A tempestuous relationship has evolved. I know I need food in order to survive, but I can no longer allow it to be a balm. When I find myself letting down my guard, when I find myself finding solace in food’s sweet refrain, I purge myself of its existence. I ostracize it as I have been ostracized.
Only when my body begins to weaken further do I allow it to re-enter. I have hung out my shingle on the corner of Bulimia Boulevard and Anorexia Avenue. These things don’t happen to men very often, but I have never been your average man.
I have become a Golem-like creature who phones in brilliant scientific breakthroughs from the dank recesses of his parents’ basement.
I am a pitiful, blanched genius.
I am an unorthodox outcast.
I march to the beat of a dissonant drum.
I have checked out only to check back in and give people my thoughts on topics that don’t interest them. No one misses me when I’m gone. They just breathe a sigh of relief.
“What is he even talking about?”
“Why can’t he just be normal like the rest of the family?”
“Why is he afraid of the sun?”
“Does he LIVE in the basement?”
I do live in the basement. It is there that my books and I have privacy. It is there that I have my world. It is there that I am king. It is there that I am normal. It is there that no one calls me Lurch. It is there that I have greed in my eyes.
It is there that deformity can devour me in the darkness.
If you enjoyed this story, please click the little heart to recommend it to others! While you’re at it, leave a note in the comments! I would love to read your thoughts!