The Surprise

By Vicki


††††††††††† I arrived at the mall a little early to meet Ann. I decided to head to the food court to get a cup of coffee while I waited. I went up to the counter and ordered my coffee.

††††††††††† "Skip the lid," I said.

††††††††††† The clerk poured the coffee as I unzipped my handbag. I grabbed my wallet with my right hook and opened it using both of my hooks. I fished out two dollar bills and handed them to the clerk. As she got the change I opened the change compartment.

††††††††††† "Put the change in here for me," I requested.

††††††††††† "Sure," the clerk said. "It can't be easy using those."

††††††††††† "I'm used to it now," I replied. I was, but not after a lot of practice and frustration.

††††††††††† I then grasped the cup by the rim and carried it to the area where the cream and sugar were located. They had one of those dispensers where you pushed the top. That was easier for me than a pitcher or those little creamers which I just couldn't open very well with my hooks. I ripped open a packet of diet sweetener and poured it in. I grabbed a stirring stick and stirred. I carried my coffee to an empty table and sat down. Doing some things was now almost natural except for the fact that I would be doing them with my two prosthetic hooks instead of the hands I once had.

††††††††††† As I sipped my coffee I thought about the years since my arms were amputated just below the elbow and I was fitted with my two prosthetic hooks. My life was certainly very different. Living by my self without hands was a challenge. I had learned to do most of what I needed to do with my hooks, but there were things I still needed help with. I looked at my now familiar hooks, the levers or thumbs connected to my control cables, and the multiple rubber bands that provided the prehension necessary to enable my hooks to grasp things. I was used to they way they looked, but I knew people tended to cringe when they saw them. I knew they couldn't imagine what it is like needing two hooks to function.

††††††††††† I wore my hooks from the time I got up until I went to bed. I rarely went without them since that left me very handicapped. I needed them for just about everything. After my amputations I used to cry a little each time I inserted my stumps into the sockets of my prosthesis. Now I barely remember what it was like to feel things with real hands and to manipulate fingers. The big problem with hooks is that you have to look at them when you do things. You have absolutely no sense of feel. At least my hands donít get cold on a cold day.

††††††††††† By now I was used to the fact that I would be like this for the rest of my life. I would always be using hooks unless they made some real advances in prosthetics. The very expensive and heavy electric powered prosthesis with cosmetic hands were good for a single arm amputee. But needing two prosthetic arms decreased their value. They just don't have the ability to grasp tiny things and manipulate them the way hooks do. A prosthetic hook is actually quite amazing considering its simplicity.





††††††††††† A normal person can't really appreciate how wonderful real hands are unless they experienced life with two hooks the way I do. I use my hooks for everything I would use hands for. I know all the little nuances of positioning my hooks to do things, I know their limitations and capabilities. They will never take the place of real hands but without them I would be very handicapped. I have tried using my feet for some things and it just hasn't worked out that well. I couldnít imagine not using my hooks like I know some arm amputees do. I was still thinking about my life using my hooks when my friend Ann arrived.

††††††††††† "Hi Katie," Ann said. "Whatcha thinking about? You look kind of deep in thought."

††††††††††† "I was just thinking about how my life has changed since I got these," I replied holding up my hooks.

††††††††††† "You know, you are so good with your hooks that I sometimes forget you have them."

††††††††††† "I wish I could totally forget," I said. ďThank God I am a DBE. I canít imagine how tough it must be to not have elbow joints. I know I could never live alone if I was a DAE.Ē

††††††††††† ďA double above the elbow?Ē Ann asked.

††††††††††† ďYup. They have artificial elbows and a second control cable to lock and unlock their elbows. I met one in my prosthetist's office once. She was born that way and was only 15 years old. She never knew what it was like to have arms.Ē

††††††††††† "Okay, so what's all this about a guy entering your life?"

††††††††††† "Well his name is Rob. He works for the same company I do. We chatted a few times and then, all of a sudden, he asked me if I would like to go out to dinner some evening."

††††††††††† "No kidding. What did you say?" Ann asked eagerly.

††††††††††† "Well what do you think I said? It's not like guys are flocking all over me these days. One look at my hooks and see you later."

††††††††††† "So you said yes?"

††††††††††† "Yup. Friday night is the big night."

††††††††††† "Oh wow! That's great. Is he good looking?"

††††††††††† "Definitely," I replied.

††††††††††† "So what did he say about the, you know, minor detail about having a couple of hooks instead of hands?" Ann wanted to know.

††††††††††† "He hasnít said a thing. It's like he doesnít see them. He treats me like I have hands. Really nice. He obviously knows I donít have hands, but he doesn't seem to want to call any attention to the fact," I explained.

††††††††††† "That's wonderful. I hope. Then again, you are an extremely attractive woman in all other aspects. And you're smart. That has to be an attraction."

††††††††††† "Well I am very excited about it. I need you to help me with a few things."

††††††††††† "Okay, whatever you need," Ann offered.

††††††††††† "Well I need a nice long sleeve dress and some more intimate items. I sort of have a master plan, but I will need your help."

††††††††††† "Arenít we being devious," Ann laughed.

††††††††††† I explained that I wanted a nice long sleeve dress that was above my knees. I also explained that I wanted to wear stockings. I loved the look and feel of having nylon covered legs. Unfortunately I couldn't wear pantyhose. Even if someone helped me put them on I couldn't get them up and down to go to the bathroom without running them with my hooks. I explained that I had the idea that if I wore regular stockings and a garter belt I could go to the bathroom without the need to fool with the stockings.

††††††††††† "Okay, but how will you put them on?" Ann asked.

††††††††††† "Well I was hoping you would come over and help me dress. You could pull on my stockings and fasten them to the garters. I donít think I could ever fasten the garters in back. Maybe the front, but not the back. I might also need help with my dress if it had a zipper in the back."

††††††††††† "You can count on me. I donít have a problem helping you dress. I have helped you try on clothes enough times anyway," Ann said.

††††††††††† Before we went shopping Ann got us each an order of English muffins and a fresh cup of coffee.

††††††††††† "You eat so well with your hooks that you make it look easy and I know it's not," Ann said.

††††††††††† "Well it's not hard except for certain foods. I haven't tried lobster in the shell. Can you imagine me cracking claws?" I said laughing.

††††††††††† "Now that would be a site." I knew people were watching me eat with my hooks as it was.

††††††††††† When we finished we headed to the lingerie department at our favorite department store and found the sales person we knew.

††††††††††† "So what will it be today girls? We have a sales on bras, buy one get one at half price," she said.

††††††††††† "Well I do need a bra and panty set. I want something sexy and also a matching garter belt," I said.

††††††††††† "A garter belt? What's the matter with pantyhose? Not sexy enough?"

††††††††††† "Well actually it's because of these," I said holding up my hooks. "I thought if I wore stockings and a garter belt I could go to the bathroom by myself. I can't wear pantyhose because I run them."

††††††††††† "I'm so stupid dear," she said. "It must be so difficult without hands. I never thought about the fact that your hooks would not work well with pantyhose. You act so natural doing things that I sometimes forget about them."

††††††††††† She showed us some very sexy black bra and panty sets and a matching garter belt.

††††††††††† "Must be a big date," the sales lady said.

††††††††††† "My first since my amputations," I replied.

††††††††††† "Then I think this will do the trick," she said holding up the black lace bra, garter belt, and matching panties.

††††††††††† "Oh yeah. I think so," Ann said laughing. "Let's hope her date gets to see them."

††††††††††† We then selected several pairs of black stockings to go with the bra, panties, and garter belt. I got out my wallet and I paid for my sexy new lingerie.

††††††††††† "You are amazing doing things," the sales lady said. "Just amazing how you seem to effortlessly open and close your hooks. Can I ask you a personal question?"

††††††††††† I nodded my head. "How do you open and close them?"

††††††††††† I explained that the control cable for each of my hooks was attached to a ring at the back of my neck held in place by my harness and that all I had to do was move my shoulder forward to pull on the cable to open and close my hook.

††††††††††† "I have always wondered. Thanks for explaining it."

††††††††††† Our next stop was the dress department. After looking over the selections I found a black long sleeve dress to die for. Ann and I went into the changing room and Ann spent the next 20 minutes helping me take off my sweater and jeans. She then helped me into the dress and zipped up the back. I wasn't wearing the right shoes and no stockings, but I knew the dress was perfect.† It was low cut in front, but high enough in back to completely hide my harness. Only my two hooks showed from the sleeves. My sockets were completely covered. I looked in the mirror and thought I looked great, except for my hooks of course. They were part of me and I knew that I would have to be accepted with them. I would never wear cosmetic hands. I needed the functionality my hooks provided.

††††††††††† After I bought the dress we shopped a while longer. I got a new pair of shoes that would be perfect with my new dress. We stopped for another cup of coffee and then we left for our cars. My car\ had a driving ring on the steering wheel and I could drive with no problems. I was very happy that night as I made dinner and watched TV. Maybe things would turn out okay after all. Maybe spending the rest of my life without hands wasn't going to be as bad as it sometimes felt. Maybe.

††††††††††† Friday evening came and Ann stopped by to help me dress. I had already bathed and put on my makeup. I spent extra time on that task and used a little more eye makeup than I usually did. I had laid out my clothes on the bed. I had even shaved my legs in anticipation of wearing stockings for the first time in over a year.

††††††††††† I slipped out of my prosthesis and Ann slipped my new bra over my shoulders and fastened it in back. It fit very well and I was pleased at the cleavage the push up bra gave me. Next Ann slipped on my panties and pulled them up. Finally the moment I was waiting for came. Ann fastened the garter belt around my waist and then carefully pulled up my stockings. She fastened all four garters and adjusted the length.

††††††††††† "How does that feel?"

††††††††††† I sat down and crossed my legs and felt the once familiar feeling of the nylon on my legs. "Absolutely fantastic," I exclaimed.

††††††††††† "Well you are certainly very sexy."

††††††††††† I got back into my hooks before Ann helped me into my new dress and zipped the back. I slipped on the three inch pumps I had purchased. I asked Ann to insert my diamond stud earrings for me. I had yet to be able to put them on by my self. She also fastened my diamond pendant around my neck. Another task I couldnít perform with my hooks. I looked in the mirror and thought I looked spectacular except for my ever present hooks hanging from my sleeves. If only I had hands I would be ready for the cover of Vogue. No way with my two hooks.

††††††††††† "How do you intend to get out of your dress?" Ann asked.

††††††††††† "Well I sincerely hope I will have some help with that."

††††††††††† "Just call me if you get stuck," Ann said.

††††††††††† Ann wished my good luck and left. Rob was about to arrive and I poured two glasses of wine in anticipation. I had remembered to have Ann remove the cork for me. Doing that was a bitch for me.

††††††††††† The doorbell rang a few minutes later and Rob had arrived. He took one look at me and his jaw dropped.

††††††††††† "Wow! You look just incredible," he said.

††††††††††† "Glad you like it," I replied. My heart was going thump thump thump. "Would you like some wine?"

††††††††††† "Sure. Do you need any help?"

††††††††††† "No thanks, I have it already poured."

††††††††††† I grasped the wine glass with my right hook and handed it to Rob. He never gave the slightest hint that there was anything out of the ordinary about being handed a glass by someone holding it with a prosthetic hook. We sat down and sipped our wine.

††††††††††† We talked a little about the office and Rob asked me where I had worked before coming to the company. We chatted about the usual things, what I liked to do etc. He never once made any reference to the fact that he was dating a girl who needed two prosthetic hooks to function.

††††††††††† I few minutes later we headed out to the restaurant. It was only a ten minute drive. We were showed to our table and I got the usually stares. However, I wasn't quite so sure it was only because of my hooks. After we sat down I crossed my legs and lavished in the feeling of having them encased in stockings. It felt so good. I felt incredibly sexy in spite of my hooks. The waiter brought the menu and I took it with my right hook and used both my hooks to open it.

††††††††††† I decided on prime rib. I knew it would be a bit of a challenge to cut it using my hooks, but I just couldnít resist. We ordered wine and I was thankful the glass was one I could hold easily with my hook. The meal was wonderful and all Rob said regarding my handicap was to let him know if I needed help with anything. I was floating on cloud nine. I was with a handsome man who seemed not to care the least that I had no hands.

††††††††††† I did need to go to the ladies room. The garter belt worked out very well. I hiked up my dress and was able to use my hook to pull the crotch of my panties so I could pee. I learned that trick early on. I rarely actually pulled my panties down.

††††††††††† After dinner Rob offered to take in a movie. A typical first date. Obviously I accepted and we spent the next several hours watching a new release. During the show Rob slipped his hand over to the top of my nylon clad leg. I got so turned on and made no effort to remove it. I knew this was the beginning of some foreplay. What really surprised me was when he held my left hook on the way out. He just grasped it as if it were a real hand. God I was enjoying this.

††††††††††† I had no hesitation inviting Rob in for a late night drink and maybe something else. He offered to open a new bottle of wine and poured two glasses. We sat on the couch and he put his arm around me. A few minutes later he kissed me. I kissed him back. Finally I couldnít stand it any longer and had to bring up the subject of my hooks.

††††††††††† "Rob, I am wondering why you have never asked about these," I said as I held up my two hooks.

††††††††††† "Your prosthetics? I know you are a double below the elbow amputee. You have your own elbows. I would know if you were above the elbow."

††††††††††† "So the fact that I am an arm amputee with prosthetic hooks doesnít bother you in the least?"

††††††††††† "Why should it? You are a beautiful woman and you use your prosthetics very well. Itís no big deal to me. Especially to me."

††††††††††† I had no idea what he was talking about. "Most guys can't stand the look of my hooks."

††††††††††† "Well I haven't been honest with you. You canít hide your amputations but I can," Rob said.

††††††††††† "What do you mean? You are an amputee?" I asked.

††††††††††† Rob then pulled up his right pant leg and pulled down his sock. He knocked on his leg and I knew immediately it was the socket of a leg prosthesis.

††††††††††† "I am a double below the knee amputee," he said.

††††††††††† "I never suspected. You walk so well."

††††††††††† "Well you use those hooks so well that if I couldn't see them I would think you had hands. There doesnít seem to be much you can't do."

††††††††††† ďWell you walk pretty well too,Ē I said. We both laughed. ďI think itís easier for you though. Most people canít tell you are an amputee. Everyone knows I am the minute they see one of my hooks. The big shock comes when they see that I have two. Most people canít imagine having no hands.Ē

††††††††††† We talked about being amputees for a little while longer and had a little more to drink and the foreplay got to be too much to bear. We both knew it was the start of something.

††††††††††† I probably donít need to tell you the details of the remainder of our first date. Ann did not have to undress me, of course. My new lingerie certainly did the trick. I didnít even give it a second thought as Rob helped me slip my stumps out of the sockets of my prosthesis and gently removed my stump socks. I always dreaded the moment that might come when a possible lover would see my stumps. I always figured that would be the end of the relationship. It was quite the opposite. It was the beginning.