This essay is special to me because it was my first published piece. It appeared in The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine in September 2001 with the attached image.
STEP BY STEP
There are 26 stairs leading up to my friend Marie’s apartment, where I have been invited to dinner. Marie is the best cook I know. She makes chili and rhubarb pie and chocolate chip cookies. But she lives on the top floor of her building.
I open Marie’s front gate, which is interlaced with the flowering white buds of a potato vine. I know that it is a potato vine only because I planted three of them in my front yard two years ago. One of them is dead, but the other two are thriving.
Eight steps across the gray cement entryway and I begin my ascent. The first time I visited Marie I thought I might have to drop the workshop she was hosting—there was too little parking and too many stairs. The sidewalk was slick with rain, and the climb to her front door felt like a trek up Mount Everest.
I start with my left foot, the stronger of my legs. My left calf is shapely and rounded, like a woman who has grown up climbing hills. My right calf has become withered and thin, blotches of sunken skin where muscle should be. My massage therapist says if I walk barefoot on the beach it will help build up those muscles. I hope he is right …Read More