You Can’t

By Ryan Rae Harbuck

“You can’t park there.” Beatrice scoffed to the doe-eyed child just young enough to question a driver’s license. Kit froze, like the very fawn she resembled.

“Um . . .” Kit couldn’t find the words.

Beatrice spoke up again, this time with her slender pointer finger displayed in the air for emphasis of all she spewed. She used that pointer finger ferociously. To her husband, to her own kids. For she was mostly right. “Child, that’s a hand-i-cappppppped spot.”

“Uh.” Again, Kit had nothing. Beatrice was pointing her finger as a tennis match between Kit and the sign above the parking spot. “I’ll move. Sorry, ma’am.”

Kit, with deep shame, pulled the car into another spot down at the far end of the lot. And, with the force of a dead sparrow, Kit shakily heaved her wheelchair out the car door. She’d only just learned how, since the accident.

Her call to write was a quiet, yet constant voice, that Ryan Rae Harbuck finally listened to. Her memoir, when i grow up i want TO BE A CHAIR, launched in February 2022, along with a personal essay about her experience as a pregnant paraplegic published by the Huffington Post in January. Although her writing career is still in its infancy, it is a ferocious little newborn.

A Colorado native, Ryan has always found solace in the mountain air and has always been up for an outdoor challenge—as far as her wheelchair wheels could take her, or beyond. She has been a teacher and a swim coach but enjoys being Mom the most. She and her husband, Andrew, live in Denver with their two mudslinging, car-vrooming young boys.