To the Dreaded Stairs at the Train Station


Dear stairs at the train station,

Firstly, please don’t get me wrong. I appreciate you have a purpose, you get everyone from low to high, high to low.

Most morning commuters see you as an exciting challenge, incidental exercise that adds to their daily step goals. I fondly remember being one of those people. A few years ago, before my mitochondrial disease took over my body and made the little tasks in life harder than they ever have been.

Many people don’t even notice you. You’re just part of their journey from A to B. Those who can’t use you tend to use that one grindingly slow lift off to the side. But alas, I don’t. I don’t look sick. I don’t want people to judge me as lazy, thinking that I don’t look like someone who should use an elevator.

flight of stairs
First set of stairs

The days where I go into the office and can make it onto the train, I stare up at you. Two long flights of stairs at one end then three shorter flights of steps at the other. As I get up each set, the muscles in my legs are firing off and fatigued immediately. My legs yell at me like, “What kind of monster are you?!”

flight of stairs
Second set of stairs

I walk behind the elderly people making their way up. That way I can go slowly and don’t feel pressured by the people urgently needing to get to work behind me. They won’t be mad at some older man or woman making their way up. And I can sneakily make my way up.

It has been hard admitting to myself how much I think about you. How much of an impact you actually have on my day. I know my relationship with you will be progressively harder over time, and at some point I’ll probably stop worrying about what people think and just start using the elevator. Until then, I’ll think of you and dread you.

Take it easy, stairs.

Kind regards,

Alice

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