Story

Woody

As adulthood came, to Woody’s surprise, his body started changing. A sharp metal plate started shooting out of him. It became bigger and bigger until it became impossible to ignore. It turned out Woody was actually a knife.

Once upon a time, there was a kid named Woody Wodmun, who lived in a humdrum city. He was a tall, brown, wooden cuboid. Humorous and chatty, Woody was a popular kid, most people liked him. He was great at school and theater too.

Growing up, Woody always felt he was different. He couldn’t tell how, but something always felt off. Sometimes, he felt restless, like something strange was inside him. Nevertheless, adolescence was spent in innocent fun.

As adulthood came, to Woody’s surprise, his body started changing. A sharp metal plate started shooting out of him. It became bigger and bigger until it became impossible to ignore. It turned out Woody was actually a knife. He was terrified. Coming from a family of cuboids, nobody he even remotely knew was a knife.

He started hiding this fact from his parents. He’d fold the metal plate whenever he was with family. He was completely comfortable this way; life was great, nobody needed to know about the metal plate.

As he grew older though, holding the metal plate in constantly became harder and harder. It was heavy, and the edges would make cuts inside. When alone, Woody would take the blade out. As the discomfort grew, he started bringing it out in front of close friends, people he trusted. Some understood, some didn’t. But Woody didn’t want a fuss, he loved the people around him, and wanted them to love him back.

One day, Woody got into a fight with a close friend, Pinot. The argument got heated, Woody physically retreating to a wall, Pinot yelling, accusing, saying things that made Woody feel horrible. Woody was against the wall, eyes shut tight, wanting to escape the room, trying to soothe himself, crying, struggling to hold the metal plate in. The intensity of the argument grew, until there was the sound of a clink, followed by a scream.

Woody opened his eyes. To his horror, his blade was out and his friend was hurt, on the floor, her surface splintered from the cut. Woody was horrified. He tried to help her, but it was too late, she was already out the door.

She was a good friend, no one came to know of the incident. But Woody was deeply disturbed. He wondered if he could really live his entire life pretending to be a cuboid. If he tried really, REALLY hard, maybe he could. But would it be worth it?

Wanting an honest life, Woody decided to tell his family. Gathering all the resources he could that would make him brave, Woody came out. Afraid, sobbing, he slowly unfolded his blade as his parents and siblings stared in horror.

“But how is this possible?”

“‘You’ve always been a great kid! Unlike others, you used to pay special attention to smoothening your surfaces – making sure there was not a single splinter on your body, so others wouldn’t get hurt, even accidentally! Now you’re telling us you are a giant sharp blade?!”

“Do you think this will go away if you just don’t think about it?”

“You’re being extremely selfish! Think of those who want to live with you Woody! Keep the blade in! Forget it exists!”

Chaos ensued. Woody thought telling everyone would be the end of the agony. Who knew it would just be the beginning. He was taken to doctors – dendrologists, botanists who specialized in wood physiology, even psychiatrists.

Shaken, Woody resolved to do everything he could that his family wanted. “There is no harm in trying,” they said. “A little bit of discomfort in holding the metal plate in would save your family.”’ He would spend hours blunting his blade, rubbing sandpaper on the metal or banging it against large rocks. He went to specialized woodworkers, who would hollow out his wooden insides so the blade would fit in better. This was hard, physically and emotionally.

Dejected and drained, Woody shut himself off. He distanced himself from people. All interactions with family were the same. They said they were trying to help, but they would come closer, purposefully rub a part of their body against Woody’s blade, show the cut, shame Woody, crying, pleading with him to continue to change himself.

Woody knew that his family meant well. He really did. He felt bad for putting them through pain too. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. “If everyone knows I have a blade, must they throw themselves at the sharp edge?” he often wondered. “Can’t we just be careful around my sharp blade?”

Woody left home. He stopped all therapies. Hopes for happiness were given up long ago. All he wanted was to be left alone. He started traveling, and went to visit Metanoia, a land foreign and far away.

With free time and space, Woody started reading about knives. He joined meet-up groups and met kitchen knives, combat knives, utility knives, crafting knives. Everyone had a unique personality, varying by shape of the blade, composition materials, purpose – the varieties were countless. It felt so liberating, he was not alone! He could be whoever he wanted to be!

Woody realized overtime that he himself was a foldable utility knife with a Damasteel blade shaped like a pike. The little kink he had towards the bottom of his blade was what they called a ‘serrated edge’. It seemed to twinkle when people complimented it.

“Hey there! That’s a hell of a cute kink!”

He learnt how to use his skills as a knife. Some hunting knives took him out for a camping trip. He rested, learned how to maintain and sharpen his blade. Woody volunteered for garden trimming sessions with the local knives. He started making friends. Bobo, an old potato, would come to meet him regularly to get his sprouts chopped off. Woody started to cheer up, life started to feel normal, wonderful even.

As he grew more confident, his blade got sharper, gleaming, his posture poised. People found him approachable, strangers would come and chat with him about their problems. People looked up to him.

Eventually, Woody came back home and resumed his life. He and Pinot started hanging out again. She stopped her monthly grooming visits to the woodworker. Instead, Woody would now tease off her splinters himself, sometimes carving cute shapes onto her skin, like embossed wood.

His family was still not completely accepting. But Woody learnt that despite this, not everything in his life had to be about him being a knife. He was still the same Woody that his parents raised, he still loved aimless banter with his siblings, he still loved his friends. At his core, nothing had changed. And the people around him, his friends, his family would see that. If not now, eventually.

Woody Wodmun had stopped folding his blade in. Except of course, when riding a roller coaster.

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Riddhi Jain is a bay area based theatre and literature lover. She writes to unwind, to grieve and to deal with the intricate emotional jumble, that is life. She is a strong believer in self expression and representation.
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