Wednesday, 11 July 2012

72: About This Exhibition

Rachel's first job that morning was to finalize the wording that would be engraved on a small plaque in front of the display.  She had been struggling for days and the deadline for submission was that afternoon.

Although she had taken a module on Writing for Display at university, nothing she learnt had prepared her for a scene like this one.  Were this a display of endangered monkeys or extinct birds, she would be fine.  Even historic farming machinery or Victorian sewing needles would be manageable. 

In front of her were the items making up the exhibition “The History of Prosthetics.”  It wasn't the prosthetic limbs themselves that upset her.  They were fascinating, from the ancient wooden toe, the hand a simple extension of a suit of armour, to the more modern designs including prototypes of the carbon fibre runners' limbs badged with GB Olympics designs. 

It was the stories behind them and their owners that made her pause.  Every exhibit had been owned and worn by someone.  Every one represented pain and sorrow, struggle and prejudice, bravery and hardship.

Rachel imagined soldiers in battle fighting without question for their king, losing flesh and bone for a cause they perhaps didn't even understand.  She thought of children treading on landmines instead of playing football in safety.  Of babies, then children, then men and women born of during the 1960s morning sickness drug scandal.  Of that car crash her father was in.

She knew every single item in the exhibition was precious and told a story should could scarcely conceive of.  And she wanted to do each of them justice with her words.

Rachel looked at the wedding photo on her desk showing her and her father walking arm-in-arm down the aisle, his pride and delight and determination showing on his face.  Taking him as her inspiration, as she had so many time before, she began to write.

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