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Residual. What’s left when something’s taken away. This strange word that I had never heard before and didn’t completely understand made me sad. I looked out the window and watched as a truck barreled past us on a steep hill. As we passed Abe Lincoln’s monument on I-80, I stared into his bronze, deeply lined face until our car was too far away for me to see him. As soon as I had the leg, I was going to walk right up to that monument. No walkers or scooters or casts or crutches. Just me and my good and healthy stump.

The idea first came to me in a dream. The dream was funny and harmless and I woke up from it feeling happy. But later, looking down from where I sat on the railing of our balcony, I saw my feet dangling over empty space and my breath caught. I realized I actually wanted to do it. I wanted to stand at an edge and let myself slide, unsupported, over a great distance until my fall, and my entirety, came to a halting end. When I finally slipped back onto the balcony’s sturdy wooden floor and made my way inside, I was crying. It wasn’t the pain that made me cry anymore. I wept in fear of what I’d become.

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