It was a dark and rainy Saturday morning. I was a little depressed so everything looked boring to me. The book I tried to read held my attention only for half an hour. Then, I decided to clean the garage and throw away all unnecessary things.
I live alone in a big house. After retiring, my parents moved to live in France. Not a bad decision at all.
The maintenance of the house was taking so much time and effort. It exceeded all my worst expectations. Repairing a leaking roof is not a woman's work after all. If I had married Dave, I would not be having such problems. At that thought, I laughed. He is such a fool.
I was reluctant to throw out my old bicycle. After looking more carefully, I decided that there was no use of it anymore. Then, I saw the crutches. Simple, wooden crutches. Memories flooded my mind.
Fifteen years ago, my mother broke her ankle. I was only nine years old then. She stepped in a hole in the courtyard and her ankle turned. Her screams were horrible. Until then, I had never heard my mother screaming. It frightened the shit out of me. Daddy was very confused too. She was on crutches for a month. Now, I was holding these crutches in my hands. I remembered the plaster. It covered her delicate foot, leaving her toes free, and ending just below her knee. I was much taken with that cast. I wanted to stare at it as much time as possible. That troubled my mother greatly.
'Don't worry for me Nadine! I am not in pain anymore. There is nothing to be afraid of, ' she used to say.
When I realized that I want to wear a cast, I was very ashamed. I thought that I was pervert or something like that. I started to keep away from my mother. Then, the cast was removed, and my life got back to normal.
The crutches were covered with dust. I took a rag and started cleaning them. I had almost done when the telephone rang, startling me. My daydreams evaporated at once. The phone was upstairs so I decided not to answer the call. Eventually, the ringing stopped. I turned my attention back to the crutches. Why am I cleaning them? There is no use of them. Despite this reasoning, I did the job diligently. Then, I placed the crutches under my armpits, and leaned on them. I did it as if to the manner born. It was exciting to feel their support. I lifted my left foot up and held it two inches above the cement floor of the garage. The first tentative step came naturally. Five minutes later, I was almost an expert. After that, I stopped, leaned the crutches against the wall, bent over and unlaced my left training shoe. Then, I took off my sock. I propped myself on the crutches again, and looked down at my small, bare foot. It was great to feel the cool air caressing it as I crutched some more.
I closed the front door and locked it. The rain had become a drizzle. I set off toward the nearby store, crutching slowly, enjoying every step. My bandaged left foot hung clear of the ground. I had wrapped a perfect ace bandage. It hugged my foot tightly. From time to time, I stopped to look at my bare toes and heel. They were rose-colored. Maybe the bandage is too tight. I wasn't sure what I was doing, and why, but it felt good.
At last, I got to the store. A young man held the door for me. I entered. As I was crutching slowly between the shelves, I felt that the people were staring at me. I tried to calm myself down, but I just couldn't. A man in his forties was leering at me. I smiled. He blushed, and turned his eyes swiftly away. All this attention had made me nervous. Possibly, I was making a big mistake. A shop-boy came to me, looked down at my bandaged foot and asked if I need any help. I refused. After taking only a loaf of bread, I went to the cashier. She helped me put it in my rucksack. I left. At the door, I nearly collided with my neighbor Sally. She is 32-year-old. Her smile faded as she saw the crutches. Her eyes widened.
'Good God! What happened to you?' she asked.
'I ... I turned my ankle.'
'Something broken?' she stared at my foot curiously.
'No. Just a sprain.'
'Did you consult a doctor?'
'Yes. I will be OK in a couple of days.'
'I hope so, ' she said and moved on her way.
By the time I got home, I was already tired. The telephone was ringing. The crutches clattered as I threw them on the tiled floor. I started to climb the stairs. There was an unexpected problem. My bandaged foot was numb, and I wasn't wearing a shoe. That was the reason why I was limping. I made slow progress up the stairs. The ringing persisted. I tried to move faster. Near the top of the stairs, I caught my bare toes against a step and fell. My left knee hit against the edge of the last step. I felt sharp pain, and grasped my knee, groaning. A minute latter, the pain subsided a little. The phone stopped ringing. I cursed, then carefully examined my knee. It looked normal. As I tried to bend it, the pain increased, but remained tolerable. I stood up supporting myself on the wall, and hobbled down the corridor. Since I didn't want to flex my injured knee, I straightened my leg, and continued limping that way. Every step was painful. Finally, I got to the room where the telephone was, and lowered myself cautiously on the couch. There were two messages. At first, I leant forward and unwound the bandage covering my foot. I moved my ankle around. It still felt a little numb. Then, I pressed the button to hear the messages. Meanwhile, I started to bandage my knee. In my opinion, this was necessary because a swelling had started to form just below my knee. I heard David's voice.
'Honey, I hope that you are OK. I know that it may sound stupid but I had a nightmare last night. You were sick. Your face looked very pale. You were coughing badly, but were eating ice cream despite that. I tried to dissuade you, but you would not listen to me. Please call me!'
The second message was from Dave too.
'I am worried, Nadine!'
I laughed and dialed Dave's number. He answered immediately.
'You behave so foolishly, Dave. How did you concoct this?'
'The nightmare was so real and I... '
'Stop it! I should know better then trusting you. So worried about me, uh? I broke up with you. Don't you understand this?'
'But I... '
'If you need sex go to see Sara. You are a nice couple.'
'Nadine, I... '
'Sorry, David.' I said and hung up.
I poured a glass of vodka, and made myself comfortable on the couch. My leg felt sore. Ten minutes later, I was still thinking about David. Why does he behave like this? Does he really care for me? I don't believe it. He just acts in an ingratiating manner. Was it possible that he have seen me on crutches? No. Moreover, he had called before I went out. Half an hour later, I felt my eyelids becoming very heavy.
They slipped something like a long white stocking over my toes, and carefully pulled it up my leg. More precisely, the nurse was supporting my leg, the doctor was pulling. Their movements were gentle. I barely felt the touch of their fingers. Then, the doctor took rolls of wadding and started to wrap my entire leg. I wasn't sure why he was doing this. The nurse brought a bucket of water, and I shuddered at the thought of what was coming next. My excitement grew when the first roll of wet plaster covered my foot. The doctor molded it cautiously around my instep and heel. More plaster hugged my calf. Before long, the white plaster covered my knee, and reached the middle of my thigh. I became even more excited. I felt the weight of the cast and its peculiar warmth. Finally, I got what I wanted. I had dreamed about this moment since the time when my mother broke her ankle. The doctor finished the cast. Now, I was able to see my bare toes sticking out. I wiggled them. They were the only part of my leg that I could move. I was filled with admiration for the cast. The slight bent at the knee would enable me to walk on crutches. I was sure that my toes would be hanging safely a couple of inches off the ground.
I woke up with a start. At first, I was unable to determine where I was. When I propped myself up on my elbows, I looked down at my left leg. The cast wasn't there. It was in my dream.
I flexed my knee, becoming aware that the pain was gone. The swelling had diminished considerably too. That did not cheer me up.