"You're sorry for me, is that it?" His voice began to harden. "You don't have to be. If you think you're going to play the fairy princess, going around kissing cripples to turn them into-"

"What an ugly thing to say!" Jesse interrupted. "What a perfectly horrid, mean little thing to say!"

The anger in her voice startled Dexter into silence. He lay gazing up at her, amazed by the violence of her reaction.

"Just because I haven't dated a lot, because I'm not the popularity queen that Marianne is doesn't mean that I'm going to settle for any halfway kind of man, Dexter Barton! I wouldn't take a cripple on a silver platter! I'd rather go through my whole life without ever loving anybody than be stuck with somebody who wasn't fine and strong and solid! Maybe I haven't spent my life doing jitterbugs and watching movies and mooning over football players, but I have known people, fine, interesting people. I knew a Russian countess who had her land and her jewels and her money taken away from her, but she was still every inch a countess! I knew a man in Switzerland who was an amputee. He lost a leg during the war escaping a Nazi concentration camp. And do you know, he skis! On one leg, using the poles for balance!"

Her normally pale face with flushed with emotion.

"I've heard symphonies written by blind composers and seen cathedrals designed by dying artists, and none of them was a cripple, none of them! It's bitterness that makes a person a cripple, bitterness and meanness and smallness! It's an emptiness inside them, not anything to do with their bodies!"

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