Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cathy's Long Lost Stores - A Devoted Future

I wrote the 'Devoted Future' series many, many years ago, and it was posted on one of my early websites.  The website got shut down at some point, and I lost the originals after a computer crash, so I assumed they were gone forever (which was sad, because I liked these).  Recently, a fan got in touch with me, asking about them, and shockingly he was able to come up with copies of the originals that someone had saved, so I'm re-posting them here and over on my DeviantArt site to share them with people again.  This series was a kind of weird concept, but one that I really liked, and I'm really glad to be able to read them and share them again!

A Devoted Future
By ParaGirl

Jenna was fast approaching her eighteenth birthday, the time for puberty. For so many of her girlfriends, the decision to go through puberty or not was easy, they would or they wouldn't, they had probably made up their minds years before.  Jenna, on the other hand, was torn.  She would look at the empty sleeve of her mother's shirt, from when she went through puberty, and she would think about how great her childhood had  been, her schooling, her doting father. Everything turned out fine for her mother, it was true- she had been a great head of household, she had a good state job teaching school, the good pay, the state housing, a state-approved husband, and even TWO approved children, Jenna and her big brother Charles.  Charles had entered state service through the military and hoped to be approved for a wife some day.
Jenna knew that she was expected to go through puberty- all girls her age were, really.  There were some, a minority, who didn't go through it, and most of them turned out alright- if living in trailers outside City Central and working in the co-ops and on farms for barter was considered all right.  Without going through puberty, a girl wasn't considered an adult, ever, and therefore couldn't hold a state job, couldn't get an approved husband, and couldn't ever have children, at least not in a state hospital.  Her friend Eliza had chosen not to go through puberty and her family had actually kicked her out of their house the day after her eighteenth birthday.  Jenna knew that could happen to her, too.

What bothered Jenna so much was the uncertainty in the whole process.  Her friend Samantha had chosen to go through puberty two months before, and had come out of it blind- that scared Jenna.  Her mother always handled her loss very well, but it was only one arm, not sight.  And there was the possibility, although very slim, that she would not make it through puberty at all.  Jenna desperately wanted to be an adult, to become a woman, but she was so frightened about what would happen to her in the process.
The day of decision came one week before Jenna's birthday, as was the law.  There, before her parents and two state witnesses Jenna had to make the decision that would determine the rest of her life- no pressure, of course.  Two of the state witnesses were women, one who had only one arm, like Jenna’s mother, and the other in a wheelchair, with both legs still on but very thin, so she must have been a para.
The third witness was a very stately man who was obviously a subservient to the two women.  Jenna was dressed in a beautiful white gown that was traditional for the ceremony of choice, and her head was adorned with a garland of real flowers that her mother was able to get for this special day.  It was only the third time in her life she had seen real flowers, and as her mother placed them carefully on her head with her single arm, Jenna actually broke down in tears.  She walked up to the state witnesses and the question was asked: "Do you, Jenna Ellen Tremaine, of your own free will, choose to go
through the process of puberty and become a full adult member of the state community?"
Jenna was sweating, her hands were shaking.  She looked at her mother's empty sleeve, thought about Samantha, totally blind, thought about Eliza's tears as she left her home, leaving City Central for the outskirts.
"Yes, your honor.  I, Jenna Ellen Tremaine, of my own free will, choose to go through the process of puberty.  I wish to be an adult member of the state community."

"Very well then." Said the head witness said.  "This is a proud day for you and for your family.  Your day of puberty shall be in one week, on the dawn of your Eighteenth birthday.  Congratulations to you all."
After that, some papers were signed and Jenna was given the hospital center where she was to report to.  There was still the chance that she could just not show up, but then she would have no identicard, no identity anywhere, even the outskirts would shun her, and she would truly be one of the lost.  No, the decision had been made, and she had made it. Now it was up to fate to determine how she would come out of  it.
She thought of all the women who went through puberty, each of them affected in some way.  Most were simple, the loss of a hand or foot, or deafness.  Some were more severe, like loss of both legs and even loss of three or all four limbs, but those were rare.  Jenna had a teacher in middle school who had been mute and spoke only sign language, but by that time all students knew sign language like a second language anyway.  By age nine, all children knew sign language and Braille along with their normal language requirements.  It was necessary in the society they lived in.  Also, there were no steps or curbs anywhere, at least in City Center.
Jenna, and all students, were told that there were still such things in the outskirts and beyond, and had been shown films- a stately woman in her wheelchair coming up to
some antique steps and actually needing to ask for HELP to get up them.  Jenna couldn't imagine the humiliation she must have felt doing it, even if it was only for a vid.  Then there was the door film, one that still frightened Jenna.  A judge, of all women, who had no hands or lower arms, walked up to an old-fashioned manual door, with a round knob of all things!  She couldn't turn the knob, just stood there unable to get past the obstacle.  It made Jenna cry to think of it, just weep thinking of this important woman stuck behind a door of all things!
    She was glad that all the doors in City Center were now automatic, they sensed when a person approached and opened the door for them.  It was so much more civilized that way.  No matter what puberty threw at her, she was comfortable with the fact that she would be taken care of by the state.
    It wasn't always so, Jenna knew.  There was a time, hundreds of years before, when the state didn't do very well taking care of its people.  People went hungry, people didn't get medical care, some people who were non-walkers couldn't even get mobility aids, like a wheelchair.  Jenna couldn't imagine such a world, but she thought that the outskirts might be similar to it, although she knew no one ever froze or starved there, people were still taken care of, if not to the level of real citizens.  That was just proper, though, wasn't it.
    The day after the choosing there was a great party for Jenna, with all her friends and family invited.  Samantha was there, with her mother still helping her through the transition.  Samantha's mother was on crutches, having only one leg, but she still guided Samantha through the crowd to a seat with ease.   Some of Jenna's younger friends were curious as to what mark puberty would put on Jenna, but that wouldn't be known until the day of puberty.  Even Charles, Jennas' brother, was allowed to come home for the week before Jennas' puberty.   Jennas' aunt Eileen was there in her stately powered wheelchair, her para legs dressed in luxurious silks.  Aunt Eileen was a stateswoman and overseer who Jenna had always looked up to, and it made her happy to see her there for the party.
    Jenna stood back during the party and looked out over her friends and family.  The girls all played with one another and drank the fruity drinks.  The women chatted or watched the girls, comparing their puberty stories, a stump being flashed here, a crutch there.  Jenna saw that even Samantha was getting into the conversation, her blind eyes
not focusing on anything, but flitting uncontrolled around the room. Jenna noticed she kept reaching out her hand to touch her mothers' leg stump, as if for reassurance.  It must be very difficult to adjust to
the loss of one's sight, and although Jenna was sure that she made the right choice to go through puberty, she had a list of things she truly prayed would not happen to her.  Becoming blind and being confined to a wheelchair were two of the top on that list. The men in the room stood back, almost at attention, to provide support and assistance to their ladies.  State approved husbands were totally devoted to their wives, no matter what had happened to them during puberty.  There was no such thing as divorce, no such thing as infidelity if you were lucky enough to get a state approved husband.  Jenna wondered if she would get one, and what he would be like.
    Later that night, after the relatives had gone, Jenna was in her room with her  
school friends when one of them suggested a game of 'What will I be?'.  The game was silly, and Jenna hadn't played it since she was a little girl, but with her upcoming day of puberty looming nearer, she agreed to again play the child's' game.
    The game was simple- a girl would lie on the floor and the other girls would surround her and hold a blanket over her.  The girl on the floor would ask the other girls 'What will I be?' and they would drop the blanket, Whatever limbs the blanket didn't cover would be the limbs effected during puberty in some way.  It was silly, true, but Jenna found herself on the floor asking the question anyway.  The thin red blanket floated down and Jenna felt it cover all of her but one leg, from about the knee, and one hand.  The odds of this combination were slim, Jenna knew, but entirely possible.  She had known a woman who had lost one leg entirely and one arm at the elbow during her puberty. Jenna knew that it would confine her to a wheelchair, and shuddered at
the thought.
The other girls took their turns next, Jamie 'losing' both legs, Cindy ending up with her head uncovered, which meant deafness or blindness, and Caroline 'losing' a single arm.  Rebecca, who was youngest, had the blanket cover her completely, which made the group fall silent-  being completely covered meant that the girl would not go through puberty at all, she would say no to it.  Rebecca said something about it being a stupid silly game and everyone chuckled, but the mood was killed nonetheless.

    The girls continued to talk about school, who said what about who, and other petty things, until Caroline brought up Elise.
    "She got what she deserved, I say." Rebecca piped in.  "She thought she was better than everyone else, that's why she didn't go through puberty.  She got exactly what she deserved."
    "She was just afraid, Rebecca." Jenna said softly.  "Elise was terrified of being blinded, she was deathly afraid of the dark. She told me before she made her Choice.  To Elise, the outskirts were a better choice than risking blindness.  She didn't think she was better than anyone.  She was just afraid, and so am I."

    "You, Jenna?  I thought you were excited about puberty."
    "Well yes, but I'm still afraid.  I don't want to end up blind, or in a wheelchair.  It scares me."
    "I'm scared too, Jenna."  Caroline said.  Everyone was quiet and looked at her.  "I don't want to lose my arms, actually.  One would be fine, your mom is just great Jenna, but both arms would be scary for me, I like to many things that I need hands to do."

    "It is scary, Caroline, but life without puberty is more scary, don't you think?" Jamie asked.
    "I'm not sure, Jamie." Replied Caroline.  "I won't be sure until the day comes, I believe."
    The day of Jennas' eighteenth birthday was a busy one for Jenna. She bid farewell to her parents as the sun rose, a long tradition.  It represented Jenna the girl leaving the hose, never to return.  She would not see her parents again until she was Jenna the Woman, when she returned from her puberty to her state supplied home, which would be filled with her friends and family for yet another celebration.  This process was already beginning as Jenna took the transit to the center she was assigned to.
    Jenna arrived at the medical center and reported to the assigned desk, where her paperwork was taken, verified, and she was escorted to the waiting room to wait for her doctor.  Each girl going through puberty was assigned a personal doctor, always a woman who had herself gone through puberty, to help with the transition.

    There were two other girls in the waiting room when Jenna arrived. They both looked as nervous as Jenna felt.  Both looked at her, but neither spoke, so Jenna remained silent as well.  The waiting room was bright and cheerful, with plants and pictures of famous women of the state.  Jenna looked at the image of Maggie Walters, whose sightless eyes saw financial catastrophe over the horizon and prevented it, making the state more prosperous than ever.  There was Caroline Banks, the armless leader of the new space program, and of course Jessica Homsley, the chief Judge Advocate, in her majestic powered wheelchair. None of these women could have made the marks they did without puberty, and after today Jenna had a chance to be like them, great names doing great deeds.

    A few minutes had passed in silence when a petite redhead entered the room. Jenna couldn't tell if her complexion was pale naturally or if it was due to nerves, but she suspected a little of both.  A Doctor entered the room from the clinic door, a younger woman on crutches with a leg gone at the knee.  She called the name of one of the other girls, and the girl got up slowly and walked up to Fate.
    Fate was what determined the course of a girl's puberty.  It was a large screen, at least that's what was seen, and there was one in every puberty clinic.  It was said to reflect a girl's true womanly self, though just how it determined what that was was a mystery to just about everyone.  The girl stood on the round platform and the screen lit up, showing first a true reflection of the girl standing there.  The screen then went dim, and another image appeared- the girl naked, with one arm gone right at the shoulder, just a smooth rounded stump left.  The girl let out a sigh of relief- the loss of a single arm was a very good puberty indeed. There were better results, but not much better.
    A few minutes later, another doctor, this one in a wheelchair, came into the room and called the next girl in line.  Again the girl got up and stood on the platform, and again her image came up first as a true reflection, then as the girl, naked, with no apparent change. Jenna looked closer and saw the black indicators at the girls' ears-
she was to be deaf.  The girl made no sound, and the doctor asked in sign language if she was ready.  The girl replied in sign that yes, indeed, she was ready.  Both left the room, the doctor in the lead.
    It seemed an eternity before the next doctor entered and called Jennas' name.  This doctor was also in a wheelchair, with para legs which were mostly bare, as was a current fashion.  Jenna stood on the platform and saw herself as she was, then the image dimmed and she saw herself naked.  Her hair was blonde and shoulder length, her neck and shoulders slender, her stomach firm.  She continued to glance down to
see where her legs ended, high up on her thighs, leaving a four or five inch stump on each.  So it was to be a wheelchair then, legless for the rest of her life.  Jenna looked at her womanly self once more and turned stoically to the doctor.  She was in a wheelchair, and she was a woman or respect and authority, a doctor in a state clinic.  Jenna followed her and resolved to be the best woman she could be.
    The puberty room was like any other hospital room except for one monitor- it was the monitor that held the image of Jennas' womanly self.  The equipment wasn't visible, it would be brought out once Jenna was asleep.  Her doctor spoke to her, saying that her puberty would be easy, that there would be no pain, and that there was very little
chance of anything going wrong, it was very safe.  She was given a drink of soda that was laced with a sedative, and Jenna soon found herself laying back on the bed, falling asleep.  The last thing she saw was the image of her womanly self on the monitor.
    Jenna awoke some hours later, groggy from the sedative and from the process of puberty.  She was blindfolded, which was the custom during puberty- the new woman was not to see herself until her body was proper, which took two days.  She was helped by her doctor during the two days, and she felt the treatments on her legs- or, what used to be her legs- to complete the healing.  Her doctor told her what a beautiful woman she made, and that her family would be so proud of her. Jenna could hear other doctors talking to other women from her room, and wondered how the other girls she came in with had fared.
    On the third morning, Jenna was awakened by some commotion and realized that her blindfold was off.  She opened her eyes and looked first at her doctor, sitting there in her wheelchair, smiling widely at Jenna.  Jenna then looked down at herself- she was naked, uncovered completely.  Her body from the waist up was how she remembered it, but below her waist she saw her stumps, smooth and without scars, round and soft.  She looked to her doctor, then touched one stump, a tentative
caress.  It was sensitive, even ticklish, but Jenna was suddenly in love with it, with both her stumps.  She started to cry, tears of pure joy, and her doctor leaned up and they hugged warmly for several minutes.  Jenna was then given privacy to change into a new outfit, which was made for her new womanly body.  It was a blue shirt and a tight jumper style one-piece that went first over her stumps, then over her shoulders like suspenders.  She finished dressing and sat there, admiring her new stumps in their tight cloth pockets.
    Jennas' doctor came back in, followed by a man- obviously a doctor's aide- wheeling in a shiny new wheelchair.  It was a manual chair, as Jenna expected- the motor chairs were usually used by the matrons and elder stateswomen, and were a symbol of pride.  Jennas' wheelchair had no legrests, of course, and the cushion, Jenna knew, was made from a fitting of her own body, so it would almost become a part
of her.  The aide wheeled the chair to the side of the bed and locked it there, and with the doctors' coaching Jenna transferred herself into it.  It was like a coming of age, sitting in her new wheelchair.  Jenna took to it immediately and smiled warmly at the doctor.

    "I had the same reaction when I first transferred into my wheelchair, Jenna.  You'll do fine, just wait and see."
    "What's next doctor?  When do I go home?"

    "First, you'll go through a week or two of wheelchair training, to make sure you're ready for your new life as an adult woman.  Then, once you get cleared, you will be taken to your new home.  You'll love it, I've already been there." She smiled at Jenna.
    Jenna was taken to a training center where she could train in her wheelchair for normal daily living and other tasks.  There were more girls here than she expected, and her doctor explained that some of the more difficult pubertys had to stay for a longer time, to train more thoroughly to get along in their new lives.  They had to be cleared before they could go.  As Jenna sat there, she saw one of the girls she came in with, the one who had become deaf.  The girl came up to Jenna and signed how wonderful she looked, and heartfelt congratulations on her womanhood.  Jenna signed back to her warm congratulations of her own and asked where she was off to.  The woman, whose name turned out to be Lisa, was on her way home, as she had completed her training and was allowed to go now.  Some women took to their new womanhood quicker than others, and Lisa had not spent two days blindfolded either.  Jenna signed her good byes and good lucks, and Lisa left as a new woman.
    Jennas' training during the first week consisted of a lot of wheelchair exercise, upper body strengthening, and a lot of maneuverability and transferring, as well as some 'emergency' lessons of what to do if her wheelchair broke, she fell out of it, etc...  As she was training, Jenna saw the other women she came in with.  The one who
had gone first had no arm, as the screen had showed, and seemed to be training in simple dexterity tasks, easy with two hands but now more difficult with only one.  There were also balance exercises for her, as arms are used a lot for balance.
The other woman, the petite redhead, was learning a great deal more.  Puberty had claimed both of her arms, only inches below her shoulders, leaving smooth round stumps that wiggled and jumped as the woman tried to accomplish tasks with her feet.  As Jenna trained she watched this other woman working on dressing, eating, and writing with her feet.  She worked so hard at things and so often failed, Jenna saw her crying more than once from frustration.  Jenna was suddenly much more appreciative of her leg stumps, and rubbed them as if in thanks that she wasn't going through something much more difficult.  There was another woman who was minus one leg at the hip and one arm at the shoulder, complete loss.  She was training at many things too, like using her power chair, which she obviously required to get around.

    On Jennas' second, and hopefully last week of training, her doctor told her she was doing very well with her wheelchair and that she should focus on getting into it from the floor and wheeling while carrying things, like shopping bags.  Jenna started this training wholeheartedly, but all the while she watched the redheaded girl.  She would be in the training center for quite a while, Jenna thought.  She watched the woman's empty sleeves hang there, like her mother's single sleeve, and suddenly her doctor was behind her.
    "You've stopped training, Jenna, why?  Oh, Susan over there?"

    "Yes, I was just watching her trying to do things with her feet- makes me kind of thankful that I still have my arms." Jenna replied honestly. "I hope she does alright."

    "Don't worry, Jenna, Susan will be just as adapted to her womanly body as you will when she leaves here, it might just take longer.  You could go and say hello to her, if you like."

    "I will, I think." Jenna replied.  She wheeled across the floor of the training center, stopping once to allow the woman in the power chair pass by, and came up to the redheaded girl.

    "Hello there, my name is Jenna." Jenna said to the woman.  She had just placed a glass on the table in front of her after taking a sip from it- her feet were obviously becoming very adaptive already.

    "Hello Jenna, I'm Susan, it's nice to meet you." The woman replied, offering her foot to Jenna as a form of welcome.  Jenna shook it without hesitation and smiled at Susan.  She noticed Susan had a watch on her ankle.

    "I couldn't help but notice you seem to be doing much better today Susan, congratulations."
    "Well, if this is the cost of puberty," Susan nodded at her empty sleeves. "then that's fate, and there isn't anything I can say about it. I just have to do my best and that's all I can do."

    "Same here.  I wasn't expecting this-" Jenna said, rubbing her stumps and wheelchair "But I'm getting along very well.  Actually, I was thinking- if you put us both together, we'd be a whole person!" Jenna chuckled.

    "Only, we'd have two heads!" Susan replied, and both women began to laugh out loud.  They got a few looks from some of the other women, but they laughed anyway, and it felt good.

    After a few more minutes, Jenna said goodbye to Susan and wheeled back to her area, training more.  For an hour, she dropped from her chair onto the floor and transferred herself into it from different positions and different angles, knocked the wheelchair over and righted it before she got in, and other tasks that might come in handy some day
    One day, her doctor came over from one of the other women she was helping, a woman who appeared blind, and gave Jenna the good news.

    "I've just been informed, Jenna- you are free to go, we're processing you out now.  Do you feel ready to go?"

    "Oh yes, definitely.  I'm familiar with my new womanly body, and my wheelchair, and I would like to leave and see my new home!"  Jenna could barely contain her excitement.  She then looked back at Susan, and her doctor said "Don't worry, we'll give her your address when she's ready to leave.  You'll see her again, I'm very sure.  Actually, your new homes are only one street apart."

    "Oh good, thank you doctor, thank you for everything.  Will you be at my new home?"

    "Of course, who do you think is taking you there.  The messages are being sent out right now, so your family will be there by the time we get you checked out and ready to go."
    As Jenna and her doctor wheeled up to the door of Jennas' new home, this time with Jenna in the lead, the door opened automatically for her.  There inside the home were Jennas' parents, her family, and many of her friends waiting for her.  As was the custom, no one knew what puberty had done to Jenna until they first saw her, and they all appeared very pleased with the result.  Jenna had dressed in a very adult outfit, with form fitting 'leggings' on her new stumps and a silk blouse with a beautiful vest.  She wore a silk scarf around her neck and a beautiful gold bracelet that the state had given her in honor of her puberty.  Jennas' mother came up to her and hugged her warmly in
her one-armed way.  Jennas' father hugged her next, even lifting her new self out of her wheelchair a few inches.  Jennas' friends were next, telling her how beautiful she looked, how mature.  

Caroline hugged her and made a comment about their game from the party being a silly game after all.  Jenna was overwhelmed by the love and pride she felt from her friends and family, but she was also overwhelmed by the fact that she was staring at the midriff of almost everyone she knew- it was one of the things she would have to get used to being in a wheelchair now.

    She took a tour of her new home with her doctor and her mother. It was beautiful, finished in faux woods and marble, with a large bedroom and attached bath.  Everything was especially accessible for her, as she knew it would be.  All state homes were specially adapted to the person they were assigned to at puberty, as all state homes were assigned to women at the time of their puberty.  Men got houses from the state only if they were approved husbands who found a wife, military veterans who served their term, or public officials, who were usually former military anyway.  Men were normally housed in finishing schools or military barracks, at least until they were able to get married or get a state position.

    The party went until late into the evening, when Jennas' parents finally left, and Jenna was there with her old school friends.  They chatted, and Jenna told them all about the hospital, her wonderful doctor, and the feeling she had when she first saw her woman's body, when she first sat in her wheelchair.  She took off her leggings and
let the girls see and touch her stumps.  They had seen many like them over their lives, but Jenna was one of the first of their friends to go through puberty, and so it was a special thrill.

"Five more weeks for me." Jamie said.  All eyes turned to her, and she sat there, a weak smile on her lips.     "Just five weeks Jamie??"  Caroline asked.  All the girls knew it was so, of course, but it was a surprise to hear it out loud.

    "you know what that means?" Jenna asked all the girls.  Their quizzical looks were all the answer she needed.  "Less than two months before our next welcome home party!!"

    At this all the girls cheered, and talked on into the wee hours of the morning.  Most of the girls fell asleep on the think carpets or on the furniture, while Jenna transferred herself from her wheelchair into the large, soft bed that was now hers.  She looked around before turning in, noticing many of her things had been moved to his  lace, but some, the more childish things, had not been moved.  She noticed many new, womanly things, which were obviously gifts of the state.  She turned out the lights on the first day of her new adult life, curling up in bed and drifting off to a restful sleep.
    The chime on the door sounded and Jenna transferred quickly from the couch where she was studying to her wheelchair.  She wasn't expecting anyone today, so she was dressed down, in a long shirt and pull-ons over her stumps.  She activated the door and was amazed to see Susan, in long slacks and a sleeveless shirt, showing openly where her arms ended in smooth round stumps.  Jenna was amazed and pleased to see her old training center friend out of the center and welcomed her warmly.  Susan came in and raised her foot for Jenna to shake it, which she did immediately. It was just over a month since Jenna herself got out of the center, and she was surprised to see Susan so soon.

    "Susan, how long have you been out, you look wonderful!!"      "I got out last week, and I've been getting acclimated to my new surroundings, which is why I haven't visited earlier."

    "That's fine, come in please, I want to hear all about your new place, what are you doing now?"

    "I'm doing great, I've gotten back on my feet, so to speak, and my new home is just wonderful!"

    "I know, I love it here, I've been here a month and it's so much like home it's like I've lived here all my life."

    "I'm still getting used to my place, there's only so much they can prepare you for in the center.  I still have trouble with a few drawers, and I never did get writing down very well, but the terminal in my home is all voice-active, so I can still do anything I want
really.  Tell me Jenna, have you chosen a field of study?"

    Jenna lifted a medical text from the table where she had left it. "I'm going to try to be a doctor, Susan!  I'm getting ready for the admission exams in six months, it should give me plenty of time to meet the minimum requirements.  What about you, any thoughts?"

    "I'm going into law, actually.  I had kind of decided even before puberty, I guess I've just always liked to argue."  Both women giggled at that.  Jenna got both of them tea and delicious biscuits.  Susan slipped her dexterous feet out of the sandals she wore and picked up the delicate tea cup expertly, sipping from it as deftly as Jenna using her hands.  Susan lifted a biscuit with her foot and nibbled it while
chatting with Jenna.  Jenna watched her and again complimented her on
how well she had adapted to adulthood.

    "It was so hard at first, Jenna.  They teach us so much about puberty in school, but when you actually go through it, it's so much different.  When I saw my image in the screen, I was excited at how I looked, I looked like my grandmother, actually.  When the blindfold was removed from my eyes two days later, the realization hit me like a
rock.  I began to cry, I'll admit, from fear more than joy.  I couldn't even wipe my own tears, and it hit me even harder.  The first weeks in the center were so hard for me, I had to relearn to do everything, but they were so wonderful and helped me so much, and now I'm out and a fully functional member of society."  At this she clapped her feet
together, and Jenna clapped her hands with her.

    "It was a lot for me to handle at first, too, and I could just imagine how difficult it was for you. I was always afraid to be confined to a wheelchair, to be honest, but now that I am, I wouldn't trade it, this truly is who I was meant to be."

    "I know Jenna, after I finally got the hang of my new self, I feel the same way too!"

    "I know- there should be a welcome home party for a friend of mine in about a month, would you come with me?"

    "Sure, I'd love it Jenna." Susan replied excitedly.
    Later that week came Jamie's day of choosing, and Jenna was at her party, in her wheelchair and a festive outfit.  Her stumps were dressed brightly and matched the silk scarf around her neck.  She enjoyed the party with her other friends, but she realized that when it was time for the adults to leave, she was expected to go as well.  She wheeled herself home, imagining her school friends playing 'What will I Be', or
talking about how Jenna looked in her wheelchair and leg stumps.  It was such a different feeling now that she was an adult. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was different just the same.  She decided to ring Susan before she came home, to talk.

    Susan activated her door and welcomed Jenna in excitedly.

    "I'm so glad you're here, Jenna!  I got approved for a husband! I meet him on Saturday!"

    "A husband?  So soon, you are a lucky woman Susan!"

    "Yes, I know.  It was luck, mostly.  You know that women, well, like me-"

    "Yes, women without arms are higher on the list, due to additional needs they might have, but it's barely been two month's since puberty, most women wait over a year!  I'm so happy for you!"

    "I know, it's amazing.  There was a man, named Gerald, who has been waiting for a specific type of woman."

    "Armless?" Jenna asked.

    "Even better.  A redheaded Irish girl!  He doesn't have a preference for body type!"

    "Does he know-"

    "That I'm armless?  Yes, he knows all about me, and he can't wait to meet me!"

    "I'm so happy for you Susan, you are such a lucky woman!"

    "I know, I know!"

    Susan and Jenna ate cakes and had tea as they spoke of recent events.  Jenna was still amazed watching Susan drink and eat using her feet.  She had gotten even better at it, so dainty and precise in each movement.  The gold watch she wore on her ankle glinted in the light, and her toes were perfectly manicured- something she obviously had done at a shop.  With a husband, she wouldn't have to go out to have her
toes done, and he would assist her with so many other things, if she wanted him to.  Susan was certainly a lucky woman indeed.
    Jenna sat in her wheelchair, in a white dress cut for her stumps and a pearl necklace she had bought for this occasion.  Susan was with her, along with her new husband- they had been married two weeks before.  She wore a beautiful blue sleeved dress, the sleeves hanging limp and empty, and matching blue slip-on shoes with her blue painted toes exposed.  She was radiant, to say the least.  The place was full of Jamies' family and friends, waiting for her arrival.  A hush fell over the assembled group as the door activated, and in wheeled Jamie, both legs intact yet obviously paralyzed completely.  Her doctor walked in behind her on crutches, one leg gone at the hip.  The crowd moved forward to congratulate Jamie on her womanhood, as they had for Jenna
months before, and Jenna wheeled right up to her, wheelchair to wheelchair.

    "You look great, Jamie." She said earnestly.

    "Thanks, I feel great.  It takes a bit of getting used to, doesn't it?" Jamie said, indicating her new wheelchair.

    "It certainly does, Jamie." Jenna said, patting Jamies' paralyzed thigh.  "But once you're used to it, it's like it always meant to be."

    "I'm sure it does." Jamie replied with a smile, rubbing her hands against her now unfeeling legs.

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