It was now a month since the accident. Physically I was slowly recovering and was able to mobilize gingerly. Walking down the few stairs backwards provided me with a new perspective on the walls in the stairwell. A slight miscalculation on my part and my lower limbs screamed silently in agony. A reminder of torn muscles gradually mending themselves.
I left the chair conveniently located at the bottom of the staircase to grab hold of as I negotiated the last step. I manoeuvred the wheeled desk chair along the cool concrete floor towards the bathroom. The floor mat by the door invariably caught and it was a struggle to push it away with one foot while praying that my bladder wouldn’t burst at the delay or my legs buckle beneath me. I was drinking water to keep myself hydrated hoping that a good supply of blood flow to the injured area would speed up the healing process. The unfortunate side effect of course was frequent trips to the bathroom located inconveniently in the basement of the house. Not an easy or welcome retreat especially in the dead of these cold winter nights. The central heat didn’t penetrate to this subterranean place, the cold was mind numbing.
I was sleeping on the main floor on a couch in the living room. A faint smell seemed to permeate the room, each time I entered I was slightly overcome by a feeling of closeness.This after all was home and any smells were surely only accumulated dust balls wrapped in some forgotten moist food crumbs brushed carelessly off. I was unable to bend at the knees to peer underneath the couch and could only pray that mice and any other four legged friends were sleeping soundly in their respective winter homes. Not in mine. I hesitate to think of rats although I know they live near the garbage cans situated just outside the back door. I hear them faintly scratching away attempting to slip their skinny bodies under the tightly belt wrapped lid of the can. Oh, I hate rats.
The journey from standing to sitting made me think of that old saying to gird one’s loins. I hesitated each time, clenched my abdominal muscles whilst pivoting on my good leg ( at least better than the other) and sank slowly down onto the worn down foam that sloped towards the middle of the couch. My hands braced to hold me forward, my knees in alignment, my toes slightly turned inward to take the pressure off my inner thighs. It was a learned dance, acquired these last few weeks to stop the sear of pain that otherwise would radiate and befell me. Time to breathe again and maneuver my legs along the length of the couch with a sigh of relief. Good for a few more hours before a repeat performance was necessary. I drank a long draught of cool water.
A letter had been lying on the coffee table for the last week. The sender was unknown to me and finally this evening feeling more myself I opened it. The rich smooth vellum paper was crisp in an old world way and as I opened the letter I read that this sheet of paper had been found in a box of personal possessions during a search for a Last Will and Testament. My name had been written on the back and the sender thought perhaps I would care to have it. The hand written scribbled paper fell out onto my lap and with a start I recognized the writing of my first love Jack. It was a poem written for me.
Back in those heady days, your presence fed my fire.
That burned and reached to the heavens, above the universe that was unfolding for me.
My intentions were emboldened by your pure heart and unspoken yearning to be in the warm circle of love.
Your disappointment was plain to see. You ached and withdrew.
Caught up in fostering my own success, a singular growth mind set. My loss.
You’ve given me a chance to be redeemed. I’ve got love for you in this old heart of mine.
Lost in thought I spend hours gazing out the window at the world continuing on in its ever present rhythm. The street noise, car tires swishing over roads, the occasional blare of sirens and the voices of a couple out late with their dog for a wet walk. February brought either snow or rain to the streets, a different variable, a reminder of the winter season. The light reflected off my windows, the allure of outside was ever present, I just wasn’t able to take advantage of it. My housebound days were still far from over, time for a few Zen moments of silence and thankfulness that I was on the road to recovery.