Raven-haired and beautiful, she pushed me every morning from English class to American History. I was in a wheel-chair recovering from a crippling disease.
I'd noticed her the first day of school Freshman year, but being a shy kid, said nothing. I have no idea when she first noticed me; it is possible it was due completely to my paralysis, and she volunteered to push me between classes out of a Florence Nightingale complex. All I know is that three years after that first day of Freshman English we were spending five wonderful minutes together every day. Just her and me, me and her. There were others in the hallway, but when the two of us were talking they seemed to disappear.
And then there was that day in May when everything changed. We stopped halfway to our destination and Celia temporarily abandoned me.
"I left something in the English room, I'll be right back."
I sat motionless in the wheelchair waiting for her return as the hallway emptied of students. When Celia reappeared we were truly alone. She whispered into my ear the last question I expected to hear, and stunned I just nodded my head.
She pushed the wheelchair into the girl's restroom and into the handicapped stall. She then undressed in front of me, and after that proceeded to undress me. She put my underwear on herself, and her underwear on me; my jeans over her underwear and her jeans over mine. Then we headed for History.
I was unable to concentrate on the teacher telling us about the Battle of the Bulge as I was battling my own bulge as I thought about what had just occurred, what I had seen, and what I was wearing. Everything somehow looks different when you're wearing the silky underwear of the girl you love.
At the end of the school day my mother picked me up. Heading back towards the hospital, where I still spent the hours I wasn't attending classes, I began to worry. Not being able to dress myself yet, the next time a nurse assisted me, they'd see Celia's underwear. Not only would that be embarrassing, I wanted somehow to keep the pair as a memento without my mother finding out. I'd have to ask somebody to hold onto it until I left the hospital, and then return it to me. I decided I'd have to ask Tom, the only male nurse on the floor. In his mid-twenties, he had acted several times over the past months like an older brother I always wished I had.
About an hour after I knew his shift had begun I pushed the call-button. He entered and I shared the experience as his eyes spread in shock.
"Oh my God, sure I'll help, but you have to promise me something."
"What?" I asked
"Listen carefully, don't you dare let this woman escape."
"You've found the woman all men dream about, don't do anything to hurt her or upset her. Do whatever you need to to make her stay with you."
I laughed. "Don't worry."
Tom helped me into a new pair of my own briefs and assured me he'd keep Celia's underwear safe until I left the hospital, and would then present it to me wrapped up as a gift I could open in private once I returned home. On his way out of the room, he was about to stuff the underwear into his coat pocket when he saw Celia's name inscribed on the inside, and fell against the wall.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"You know her?"
"She...She's my baby sister."
I grinned, "I promise I won't let her get away."