Fungal Nail Child

I know exactly what to say to my twin when we meet: “How’s your life been, unfettered by foot problems?”

Of course, my fungal nail infection cleared up pretty much a few months after I was born, but I’d been whisked away to a small community in the country, and soon, everyone knew what was wrong with the mysterious baby on their doorstep. While my twin was having children’s orthotics fitted at a clinic in Cheltenham, surrounded by podiatry professionals, I was playing Kangaroo Ball by myself because none of the other kids were allowed to associate with me. “That’s the one,” the adults would whisper. “The infected one. Infected with fungal nails, even if you can’t see it. Don’t go near, or you’ll catch it as well!”

Superstitions die hard, especially out in the country. While podiatry has made leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades, these simple folk clung to their old habits. I was the problem child, and that’s how I’ve lived my whole life while my twin lived in foot specialist luxury. I bet there’s a podiatrist around every single corner in Melbourne. Everyone is free to walk comfortably because they’re feet are well taken care of by trained specialists. I bet folks in the city get their first pair of orthotics fitted on the very day they start walking, to set them up for life with healthy feet. I’m aware that some people don’t need them, but I’m sure the one’s that do get exactly the right care they need. I bet it’s a government mandate, which unfortunately makes waiting times quite long because everyone needs the services all the time and there aren’t enough podiatrists to meet demand. But still, podiatrists in Melbourne have it all, while there’s no a single one out here in the bush.

All this and more is what I’m going to say to my twin. But I forgive him. It’s not his fault that he lives in luxury.

I have other stuff to say to my parents.