Stiff

     
 

“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.” ~ Voltaire

Think you’re stuck? Lemmie tell you about Oti.

The Cage

It mightn’t be so bad if was just a problematic knee, or elbow, or even both. It was ALL of Oti’s joints that refused to budge and bend. What Oti had was Marie’s disease: concretize cartilages and long bones that don’t stop growing.

If Oti slept with her head tilted to one side, and the bones grew during the night, she'd be stuck with that questioning tilt for the rest of her life. Seeing how many joints and cartilage areas we have, we can only wonder what it’s like: The skull, shoulders, vertebrate, jaw, ears, ankles…

And there was Oti, relatively young, extremely poor and consciously caged inside an armor of calcium for the span of her natural life.

The Freedom

But it wasn't always bad; because whatever soft tissue she had left, it was used in good service.

When her condition worsened, her siblings (all eight of them) took turns holding her in their arms. They held her every day to feed, and wash and let her sleep easier. She was like their common doll but with a heart and soul and kinship.

And you know what physical contact does to people. In the minutes when they held each other (Sibling: Oti's frame, Oti: her sibling’s heart), they walked in each other’s paths and felt better about the ones they had to return to.

When her jaw could no longer chew solid foods, she became lighter in weight and spirit. And funnier, because nothing broke the ice like a fresh steam of crap jokes (they couldn’t just leave her hanging over the toilet!). And fairer, because she had to hear all sides of a story at some point of the day.

And freer, because it’s just the thing that exchanging stories do.

The End

So when she died, they really cried.

Not merely for a sister’s passing, but also for the world that she created for them. They cried for the warm magic that stuck them together. And for the passing of revelations that had set her, and the loving arms that stiffened momentarily to hear them, free.

 
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