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Sport 29: Spring 2002

My One-Legged Grandmother — (or: A Failure of Imagination)

My One-Legged Grandmother
(or: A Failure of Imagination)

Saturday morning and I'm
on the phone to my friend
Maree. This is not something
that happens often at the moment
because I'm in France and she's
in Wellington. Suddenly
there's the sound of something
crashing on to our balcony.
I rush out to find Greg holding
a metal crutch. We both look
up—there are seven floors
above us—but there's no sign
of anyone. Greg heads for the door
I say to Maree you'll never guess
what's happened … and we're both
laughing, though it's not very
funny because what if it had hit
someone. Then there's a knock
page 15 at our door and I say hang on
Maree and open it to a man
in red shorts standing very firmly
on two stocky legs. I point upstairs
in the direction Greg headed, then
get back to Maree who tells me
that Fiona Farrell wrote a story
about something falling onto the balcony
when she lived in this apartment
in Menton. It's obviously something
that happens here, we say.
Then Greg returns from upstairs.
He went to the apartment above
where they all appeared to be in good
health, then the man in red shorts
appeared. He was from the sixth
floor—exclamation mark—and Greg
said très dangereux as he returned
the crutch. The man looked serious and
nodded and headed back upstairs.
I related all this to Maree, then we
finished our conversation.
When I told my mother what had happened
she said well, she wasn't surprised,
given our family history.
A week later a friend came to visit and
offered the perfect ending to the story—
it goes like this: There's a knock
at the door. I open it to find a man
leaping up and down waving his other
crutch in the air shouting cela tient
du miracle. I wish I'd thought of that.