I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary about the man as he walked down the path to my back door. He looked like a regular middle aged man, slight limp, had crutches.
“I’m here to collect the wetsuit” He said.
The day before I leave for the Falklands and everything must go. Even my old wetsuit has been bought on ebay. I remember know how this guy has arranged to collect the wetsuit, he wrote in an email something about working out bus times from Penzance.
So I invite the man in to a scene of bedlum, the dog is barking and the house is turned upside down. I apologise for the chaos and explain that we are just about the leave the country. I rummage around until I find the wetsuit and hold it up for him to see.
“Yes, that’ll be fine. As you can see I’m lucky in that it will definitely fit me” He nods down and it is only now I realise that he doesn’t have any legs. Protruding beneath his shorts are two metal poles with boots on them. I struggle trying to get the wetsuit into a plastic bag.
“I’ve just got back into kayaking, it’s one thing I can do and be the same as everyone else. You don’t need legs to paddle.” He said. Not in a sad tone, but a statement of fact. I told him that I too loved kayaking and had only just begrudgingly sold my kayak as there was no way of getting it to the Falklands.
“Oh so you are moving to the Falklands! I was there in ‘82” he said, again nodding down to his legs, or lack of. “I bet it’s changed a bit”.
The man told me that he had served in the marines during the Falklands war and we reminisced about Stanley and how it has changed.
Later that evening I went on to ebay to give feedback, his username was ‘The Last Man Standing’.