I walked down the aisle left for me as people moved out of the way just enough to get in a better position to stare at me. I shrugged off Ty and Kat's help and ignored their whispered comments which summarized said I was supposed to wait and get called up to the podium. I don't wait. It pisses some people off. I can't say that I care.
Of course I wasn't doing my manly confident stroll either. It was more of a lurch which I knew didn't quite make the impression I was used too. That did bother me. A lot of what I did was built around getting an edge and appearance was part of it.
A bitter small voice whispered to me "You're a fucking cripple now. Give it up." I ignored the voice but it still stung. Not as much as what I saw in some of the eyes of people I passed. The pity rankled, a few were amused, one of them, a young guy with his own hardware worn like mine was appraising me and I could tell he liked what he saw.
I stopped at him, I needed to, plus it was time to make a point, and stared at him. I didn't smile. I just stared and watched him run through his card deck of reactions. That alone told me enough. People like me, when faced off, don't have any cards to run. We are ready to go all the time, anytime, anywhere. It's why we live. For me it was all I have left.
He folded. I moved on. It was another show time in another town.