Being 31, I felt fifteen again. I had to ask my parents for a ride to a friend’s, to the museum, to the movies. I was 400 miles from home, where I would ride my bike to the grocery store, to the cleaners, to the shops on Valencia St. My old life was gone. In LA the distances were enormous—The Valley to Los Feliz, to downtown LA, to the West Side. Then a ride home with a friend. I was grateful, but in high school again: waiting, impatient, silently raging, until I turned sixteen.

With my physical therapist, I wheeled out to my mom’s car in the parking lot. She did the transfer first, showing me how to place my hands and not bump my head against the window. Then I tried. She said my dad’s truck would be easier. Now, I always had to sit in the front seat with my four-point, then my one-point, cane. My friend Jesse’s car was low to the ground, and I fell into the seat when I got in. He said that his grandma has the same problem.

About Nikki: Nikki Thompson is a poet, book artist (aka Deconstructed Artichoke Press), and happily failed architect. She fled Southern California for UC Berkeley, where she earned a degree in architecture and edited Berkeley Fiction Review. She remained in the Bay Area and earned her MFA in creative writing from California College of the Arts in 2002. She has worked extensively with Small Press Traffic and the San Francisco Center for the Book. Her work has appeared in Paragraph Magazine, Spork, and Palimpsest. She is the host and organizer of the Deconstructed Artichoke Press Reading Series in San Francisco’s Mission District. She currently teaches special education at South San Francisco Unified School District, while residing in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights with her fiance and Boxer-Pitbull mix, Billie Holiday.