When she was thirteen, she decided to hide her ankles beneath thick stockings.
The decision was reached two days after her birthday, a quiet day that was marked only by the twenty dollars her mother, in a new relationship of divorce and unemployment, gave her. Being quite indescribable (and by this, I mean the author refuses to divulge, and shall keep a secret just for himself) she caught the bus into a cold, grey sprawling shopping complex to buy a Joy Division album that she would not like much, later. It was on the return cold bus ride where, sitting at the back, that she met a man who offered her forty dollars to show him her ankles. He, unlike her, was describable, but only by his one defining characteristic which was that he had legs made from hollow, but polished wood, and which stuck awkwardly into the isle as he turned to face her. He was young, also, though older than her by her life at least; the rest a reader will have to decide, based on tone, sympathy, and their own imagination, just how much older, and how attractive or not that he was. Still, back in our bus, and our girl, the heroine, reasoned in a pragmatic way that if she didn’t like the black covered album in her bag, that she would come out no worse for wear—and in fact would come out better—if she agreed to his proposition.
So she took off her shoes, which were sneakers, and then her socks, and then pulled up her jeans, and let him look.
"Beautiful," he murmured, once. Then he stared without touching, and with a hint of sexual desire, but mostly with a longing that left her with the impression that he saw her in a way that she had never been seen before, until his stop emerged from the grey skyline fifteen minutes later.
Then, having paid her, he walked awkwardly, stiffly, and with apologies to the driver for being so slow to do so, to the front door, and into the cold, uncomfortable air.
She did not like the Joy Division album, as I have previously stated (though again, there are no details as to which one she bought; perhaps you bought one you did not like, once) but on the following day, she did not buy new music. Instead, she bought three pairs of stockings. Red and black, purple, and rainbow: a mix of clashing colours that her mother viewed with the distaste of a very proper adult who saw her child’s dress sense leaving her own and could only view it as another loss through the losses she had already occurred. But even she, later, would admit that she never suspected this change in her daughter would result in the purchase of so many stockings over the years (which was more than five hundred, but less than seven hundred and twenty eight) and that she would leave them covered for what, now, was a strangely lingering period of time.
Of course, there was never another man who offered her forty dollars to see her ankles, and certainly no man with wooden legs, and that perhaps that is the most important of the absent details in the end.