Sightly ankles. I used to have them.
Yeah, I had the meanest set of ankles anyone did see; the type Homer would’ve slapped descriptors such as “slender” “delicate,” or “well-formed” onto.
And I had the aptitude to match: quick, impish, with a profound case of undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I ran everywhere, always — and on strong, steady ankles.
It’s not that I didn’t drink enough milk. Swear on my life, I did. Breakfast was always cereal. During school lunch, I allowed myself to pick a tiny pink carton of strawberry milk only one day a week. The other four I dedicated to good old pasteurized 1%, and all in hopes of preserving my silly little skeleton. What a fool I was, to deny myself that strawberry milk. Cartons upon cartons of it pushed to the wayside, and for what? A dream wasted.
The point is, I put in the work. My body shouldn’t have failed me the way it did.
The breakdown began in my mid-teens. Years of overuse and aggressive participation in contact sports exacted a heavy toll: seven sprains on the left, eight for the right. The last and most severe of these turned out to be an, ahem, osteochondral lesion of the talus (OLT).
That’s what I said.
Essentially, I rolled my right ankle so badly that a part of my bone chipped off. It floats around in there to this day, hangin’ out, causing a perpetual amount of low-level swelling.
A noble death, perhaps, for my perfect ankles: sacrificed to the pubescent gods of a high school soccer pitch. It was this low-level swelling, though, and a personal inclination toward fun socks, that set into motion a tragic cycle that served only to reinforce my particular antipathy.
See, the long socks served a triple purpose. I put them on a) to spice up my outfits, to let the people know I was fun and carefree, b) to keep the swelling down, and c) to disguise their new cankle-esque appearance. I became so enamored with the effectiveness of this trifecta that I said to myself “I will never not do this.”
The result? A truly abominable, supremely irreparable sock tan.
This would not be such an issue if my leg hair didn’t already run on a fascinating gradient, with the lightest hair occupying my thighs and the darkest gathering ‘round my swollen ankles. The paleness, combined with the shocking darkness of my lower leg hair, serves only to draw attention to the ever-present cankle.
At the end of the day, though, how wonderful these achy ankles are. Hundreds of miles trekked, biked, schlepped.
For two decades and some change they’ve put up with my injury-prone ways. If a killer sock tan and compression socks are the extent of my dues, I’m a lucky woman, indeed.