Blood Flow and The Misstep
She’s walking down the street again. It’s getting dark, so she’s got her cane out and it’s tapping away to the rhythm of her footsteps. She had enough foresight to bring it with her to the church activity.
Usually they drive to church activities, but this one wasn’t at the church. It was in the bishop’s backyard, and the bishop told everyone that parking was limited. They parked at another church building just a few blocks from his house and walked up.
Now, walking back down the hill, she’s listening to his day at work. He’s just switched from walking on her left, near the yards, to walking on her right, near the street. She thinks he’s gentlemanly, but she also realizes that he’s learning how to walk beside someone with a cane. His story never pauses.
She’s reached a series of driveways after a long stretch of forest that is someone’s backyard. She notes the dip of the first driveway from the curb and her cane feels the slope. Her foot goes to step on the slope and it realizes that it was one step too early.
It screams in protest, and she’s sprawled on the ground. She’s sure it’ll be in a cast for months. His voice asks over and over if she’s all right. Of course she’s not all right. She stares at the foot; maybe some sound issued forth. She knows she’s never fainted before and wonders that birth pain is definitely worse than this.
His hands do a steady examination. Fingers firm, thorough rotations, nothing’s broken. Something’s wrong with her toes because she can’t bend them on her own. Still, they’re not separated, so she gets up to walk. And she does walk, concentrating on one tap at a time. He deliberately continues with his story as they get to the car.
She sits and is thirsty. No, she doesn’t want the punch in the cup he’s still holding. Water is the only stuff for someone who’s in pain. She looks at her hand and it’s bleeding. Only now can she feel the pain of scraped skin. She debates on whether she should use band-aids.
Through the pain, she remembers her last misstep. She was admiring a statue and reading its plaque. She got to the end of the paragraph and walked away; she forgot the step down from the platform around the statue. She was disgusted at the stick and soak of blood through new jeans. It had the same body-wide shock of pain, the same uncontrollable trembling, the same whirling of sky and ground and up and down. The same sheen of blood. The same “I can be injured”. The same limp.
A week and three days later, she plays with the scabs on her fingers. She remembers a time before this fall when she fiddled with another scab and wished that it was on a bendable part of the body. So the scab could come off easier. She got her wish. The joint above her ring finger is brown and pink and white; the black spot is where her leg and foot meet.