Knee – A Parable

“Are you OK, Knee?” asked Upper Leg, who was not co-ordinating well with Lower Leg this morning.
“Umm…yes” Knee said faking the cheerfulness. Then Knee thought about the feeling of ripping off a Band-Aid. When something had to be done, the doing it quicker would be better and Knee knew this better than most of The Body.
“Actually, no.” Knee paused. “I think you should know that I am thinking of leaving The Body”
“Leaving The Body? What do you mean? How? I mean don’t you need a Body?” Upper Leg was now trying to co-ordinate and absorb this new piece of information.
“Yes, yes. That’s not what I mean.” Knee was now thinking he really should have thought how to explain this. Knee was going to have to explain it to the Others, but Knee wanted to start with Upper Leg, as they were the closest in The Body.
“It’s not that I am leaving any Body, I want to join another Body.”
“Can you do that?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Are you guys getting it together this morning?” Interrupted Lower Leg.
“Knee is thinking of leaving The Body” Said Upper Leg.
“Are you going to join another Body?” Asked Lower Leg.
“I was just getting to that” said Knee. This was not going as Knee had of hoped at all.
“But why?” asked Upper Leg
“And what will happen to us?” asked Lower Leg
“You guys don’t really need me,” said Knee. “Remember that time I was injured and in a brace. You guys just went along without me and you don’t really need me, do you?”
“Well, yes, but it wasn’t easy.” Said Lower Leg, he whispered “Upper Leg is not the easiest limb to work with you know”
“I heard that!”
“See, I told you.”
“But why, Knee? I thought we worked together so well.” Asked Upper Leg
Knee paused. “I don’t feel like I really fit here. Like I said, you can work without me, I am not really needed here. I want to be closer to Mouth, that is where the action is and I can’t do that on This Body. I want to feel important, connect with other Limbs. To know what it is like further up The Body.”
Upper Leg and Lower Leg were silent. Knee suddenly realised what he had just said would sound to them. Part of Knee wanted to apologise, but at the same time Knee felt a sense of freedom that that the frustrations had been expressed.
After a long pause.
“Can you do that?” Asked Upper Leg
“Limbs are starting to do that all the time, now” said Lower Leg, sadly. “One of the Toes was telling me that limbs were joining more than one Body at a time.”
“Like…prosthetics?” asked Upper Leg
“Yes” said Lower Leg, who was becoming more unusually quiet.
“But, but…how could that work? Prosthetics are not meant to be real limbs. How can real limbs move from Body to Body? How do that grow and live?”
“They don’t. Eventually they die off. Toe says they even blame some of the Body’s when they do”.
“How could they blame the Body when they are the ones doing all the swapping around?”
Knee had been quiet through this conversation, glad that the subject had shifted a little. Knee wasn’t planning on being one of those Limbs that moved around all the time, Knee just wanted to change a to a New Body and new place in the Body. So while Upper and Lower Leg were disturbed by the idea of moving limbs, Knee became more and more excited.
Upper Leg came back to Knee though.
“I still don’t understand why you would want to leave this Body.”
“Aren’t you guys tired of moving everyone around, Arms don’t do the work we do. We do all the walking and moving around, mainly so Mouth can be where ever Mouth wants to be”.
“Yes, but that’s what we do, how else would the Body move around? Besides its not really about Mouth, its about us all working as a Body.”
“But think about it. How many steps would we do a day? And what are the Arms doing when we are just walking? Half the time they aren’t even just dangling there, they get to rest in pockets and stuff while we do all the work. Shouldn’t it be fairer than that?” Knee was starting to get on a roll.
“And who says it has be about Mouth? Why does everything have to be about where and who we speak to?
“And who says where Limbs should be anyway? Shouldn’t we have a say in where we are on the Body? Why can’t I be on an Arm instead of with you guys?”
“Hey, what’s wrong with us?” Lower Leg got fired up again.
“You would want to be on…an Arm??” Upper Leg asked in disbelief.
“Well, why not? I don’t feel connected to the rest of the Body down here. I mean I know you guys and the other Leg, but really I am sure there is more to feeling like being connected to the rest of the Body than being down here and doing all the work.”
“But…but…” Upper Leg could not really grasp how this would all work.
“You are really going to do this then?” asked Lower Leg.
“Yes, I have thought about it and I think I need to move on” said Knee resolutely.
“Well, I think this is really stupid. How can a Knee be anywhere else but on a Leg” Upper Leg was unusually opinionated on this. Upper Leg was usually the kind of Limb that worked on getting along. But this had hit a nerve. “I mean you can’t say we don’t need you, just because we got on without you for a little bit. We have to do what we were made to do. I just don’t get this!”
“Upper Leg,” Knee said quietly, “It’s just something I have to do. I need to think about me for a change and do what makes me feel happy. You want me to be happy right?”
Upper Leg was quiet for a while.
“Knee I want you to be happy. I really do. But are you really doing what you were made to do? Isn’t that what would make us the happiest? I guess what I am saying is, is your happiness really the most important thing here?”

Some time later…
Two Bodies met together
“You’re a bit late” said the Other Body.
“Well I’m not as quick with only one Knee, my left Leg needs to limp a lot,” said the Body. “I hear that you have inherited my extra Knee.” Body looked down to see where a third Knee would fit on the Other Body’s Legs. There were only two Knee’s looking a little uncomfortable.
“Umm…its not down there, its up here on the Right Arm.”
“The Right Arm!? Well, that’s….” Body wanted to finish the sentence with words like ‘crazy’, ‘weird’, ‘bizarre’ but settled on “….interesting”.
“Yeah…it’s umm…” the Other Body wanted to use the same words that Body had thought of but found that “interesting” was the safest option.
“I guess that means you can bend your Arm in interesting positions.”
“Yes, that’s true” said Other Body as if it had just occurred to Other Body.
What the Other Body wanted to say was that it was frankly a pain. Not being able to balance Arms had meant a huge new learning curve for the the whole Other Body. But Other Body was too polite to say anything.
And that had really been the problem. When Knee first came to Other Body and asked to be part of the Arm it was hard to see how that would work. But all the Limbs agreed that the most loving thing to do would be to try and make it work.
Now after a while the Other Body had found that it really only worked for one Limb.

“Hey Lower Leg, hey its Knee, up here, on the Arm” Knee called out to Upper Leg of the Body.
“Oh, Hi Knee. Good to see you again” The words were there, but the meaning was anything but. Upper Leg was exhausted. Walking meant Upper Leg and to move Lower Leg and do all the work that Upper Leg had been doing before. Having Knee around had been so much easier. Upper Leg had to try and keep up with the other Leg and that wasn’t easy. Lower Leg tried to help as much as another limb could but it wasn’t easy.
“Great to see you” Knee called out. Knee was obviously excited. “It’s so great to be up here on Arm. You can see things and it is where the action is. And these limbs are great. They love having me around.”
“No we don’t” said Lower Arm.
“Oh, Lower Arm is like that, these Limbs are such a kidders!”
“No we aren’t”,said Lower Arm. “It’s really a pain to have you here, you should be down in Legs like I keep telling you!”
“No, I belong here. You know that Lower Arm” Turning back to the Limbs on the Body. “See what I mean, we have so much fun here. You should join us!”
“No!” said Lower Arm, but was ignored by everyone.
“Like I said, this is where the action is. How are you guys?”
“Well, things haven’t been easy since you left, Knee. I have had to do so much more…”
“Did I tell you how much more I can see up here? I tell you Limbs should be free to go where ever they want to. I have never been so happy!” said Knee.