Without warning

The short story “The Skirt” (2006) by Zoe Lambert depicts Bethany’s life after getting paralyzed in her lower body. Bethany wakes up paralyzed one morning after a night of drinking.

She can’t move her legs so she must call an ambulance. In the plot of the story, she’s getting ready to go shopping with her aunts. Her mum dresses her in a skirt and a cardigan, as it’s easier to get her in a skirt than trousers.

She doesn’t like the skirt and decides to change into a pair of jeans. Whilst Joan and Bethany’s mum are busy arguing, Bethany sneaks out to go ride the bus.

The bus is crowded, but a man makes sure people make space for her. Bethany feels very uncomfortable whilst on the bus.


Having a physical disability is challenging, especially if it hits you overnight. You must get used to living under new circumstances – but how do you learn to cope with something so challenging?

This question is raised after reading the short story “The Skirt” (2006) written by Zoe Lambert. In the story, we hear about the narrator

who’s going through this situation, and via the point of view, the narrator gives the reader an exquisite insight into a life, where the narrator must cope with a tough way of living.

The short story makes use of a first-person point of view by telling the story through Bethany’s eyes. This can cause some problems with the reliability of the story. “Have you had some kind of accident?” he asked.