For all the clear memories I have of moments and conversations in years past, I cannot quite recall how this happened two days ago…
Early Sunday morning. Tote bag with Bible and Sunday School lesson, studied and ready to teach. Annotated cantata book for Easter drama practice, ready for first rehearsal and casting. So much to do. So much to think about. Mind full of minutiae to remember. Let me put all this in the car, lest I forget something… wait, the sweet pickles for lunch. I forgot to take them to church with the sandwich stuff for rehearsal. Let me put the jar in my bag. There. Ready…
Opening door. Garage steps, red brick. Car is right there, I will put everything in the backseat floor…
Everything in my hands scatters across the cement floor; I watch the music book and all my papers sliding away with remarkable speed.
I cry out. I don’t know if it’s during that split-second fall, or on impact.
Sharp pain in my right foot… I am only wearing socks, no shoes.
My son, Cadillac Man, is there in an instant. He heard me fall.
I am clutching my foot. It’s bad.
—Mom, is that blood dripping down your bag?
No. Pickle juice … get my Bible out of there.
And get your father.
His father tries to help me up but I can’t stand and he can’t be pulling on me; he is still healing from bypass surgery.
Don’t touch me, I tell them. I don’t know how to move. I have to figure it out.
I crawl back in the house. I take off my sock.
My foot looks intact.
I will try to stand…
My husband and son do not know what to do. It is Sunday morning; one is a pastor, the other, a music director. They each have church services waiting,
Go, I say. I have to figure this out. Maybe it will be better by the time you get back. If not, you can take me to an urgent care. Just go.
I wait until they’re gone to crawl down the hall and, sitting in the floor, change from pajamas to street clothes, for I know I’ll be going somewhere about this foot.
Suddenly everything is exponentially harder than it was.
That’s when I cry.
X-rays reveal that I broke the fifth metatarsal on my right foot. The tech tells me I snapped it and I say yeah, I heard it. Now I am in a boot for six, eight, ten weeks; who knows? These things are slow to heal, says the orthopedist.
And no driving with the boot, she adds.
So now my husband and son must take me to and from work, every day for weeks on end.
—I cannot do this, I say to myself.
But I walk, lopsided, imperfect, maddeningly slow in my Frankenstein boot, out of the office. My husband takes me home.
I watch the countryside whizzing past the passenger window. I know what this is shaping up to be. A hard lesson in dependence, at the least. It’s not like I haven’t lived this before. Seventeen years ago, just after my father died, I broke my foot—the same foot, different bone—while preparing to direct a church play. This second time occurs just after my husband’s brother died. Déjà vu. A curious twist of fate. None curious-er. I am seventeen years older; this is going to be harder.
—Well. It’s just going to have to be one deliberate step at a time.
Oh, how much I take for granted.
Today, back to work.
Just a good bit slower than before.