A gigantic part of Ken’s identity was his left leg…er…lack of one. After having it amputated below the knee when he was a teen was life-defining–and I’ve written before–it sent him down the path of becoming the most inspirational people I’ve ever known–let alone loved. “Feet” played a big part in his life, and in turn, mine. His one-man show about his journey with cancer was called “My Foot Left”…as is his website that I haven’t touched. He had a Grey’s Anatomy tattoo of a leg on his upper left arm, illustrating the various medical lines of amputations (pictured above.) It was such a part of his identity. Because he chose it to be.
So, it’s no wonder as I settle into my new home, continually rearranging and organizing, that I stumble across lovely reminders of Ken and his sense of humor. He owned his differentness–loud and clear. Mementos of that bring a smirk to my face. I was cleaning off a bookshelf (and desperately looking for distraction) and came across Tickle Toes, a Simon-like game he found for something like $2.97/each on Amazon.com when we lived in Los Angeles. He put his contact information on the bottom and left them as gifts with casting agents. Anything to stand apart, right? Ours lay around the living room and always got played when company was over. I put mine back into the living room after I found it, and played it for the first time in I-don’t-know how long. Check out the video. I crushed it.
I found a piece of pretty card stock, lined up with I-Zone photos of the left legs of his friends he took back in the aryl 2000s. It was going to part of an art project that didn’t happen because of some material limitations at the time. He was going to have them placed on the “bucket” of his prosthetic leg. Ironic. Funny. Irreverent. And all very Ken.
I pulled an old jewelry box off the shelf to look through, wondering what sort of feet I’d find in it. The ring I discovered was surprising. At first I didn’t remember it at all, but the more it sank in I recalled it from early on in our relationship. The inner track with the foot prints, spins independently. And is obviously horribly tarnished and way too small for me.
When I moved into my new place during the dead of winter, I was in a bit of a daze in some respects. Aside from moving itself being a stressful task, moving away from such a special place with so many memories made it even harder. Plus, Chicago’s winter was particularly harsh and unforgiving this year. I just needed to get things into the new place and put them somewhere. Stumbling across any artifact of Ken’s transports me for a split second to another life that seems at the same time so long ago in many respects, and like yesterday in just as many others.
Like any place you’ve lived and thrived, it’s a place I love to visit, though I know I no longer live there. I sometimes wonder if I didn’t purposely hide some of these relics away to find and reflect upon sometime in the future. Whatever the case, I have no doubt more “feets” lie ahead for me.