New nanowrimo story with a modern theme.
The tears were just streaming down my face. My eyes were red and puffy. Mother stood beside me with her hand on my shoulder trying to get a word of comfort in between my sobs.
As I sat in the emergency room of the hospital, I cradled my right hand, which was swollen twice the size of my left hand. I could not feel or move the fingers of this hand which was involved in a simple but unusual accident only thirty minutes earlier.
It was 11:45 pm of the night before my big exam for Mrs. R., my English teacher, who said that this test was going to be an hour long written exam on the story that we had just completed reading in class. This was a test to determine who might get exempted from the final exams for the end of the semester. I had always tried to do my best but lately, I have made such simple mistakes that even an eighth grader would not make. I needed good points, a clear head and yes some luck to get on that “You Are Exempt!” list.
I thought about when I took Grace out for a walk about an hour ago. Grace was an abandoned dog who we decided to foster because the shelter was going to reduce its number of animals. The economy had taken a drastic turn for not only families with children but those families with pets also. Some animals were lucky to get immediate homes and others were not. I went to school with a girl named Marilyn who was always talking people into ‘just looking’ at pictures of cute animals. For me, Grace was an instant love. I was surprised that mother allowed me to bring in a dog, but since I was alone home some nights, mother felt that a dog would keep me company.
But after a month, I noticed that Grace needed one more walk out at night. She could smell out possums, cats and even the smallest mouse in our back yard. She would bark a high pitch bark to show us that she had found something. Eventually neighbors would politely mention that her bark would annoy them and that they needed it to stop. So the extra walk was needed for the little critter to get out of our yard on its own and quickly.
Grace’s walk also gave me time to sort out my life and feelings for my boyfriend Schuller. Schuller and I had been going together for almost a year. We had kept our dates casual during the summer because he wanted to earn money to buy a car for college. He had worked for his father in delivering furniture during the weekends and worked as a trainer in a gym on some school evenings. He certainly enjoyed demonstrating the machines and telling the customers how to get the most out of their workout plans. If anyone saw him from a distance, they would think that he was a natural in the gym with the most athletic body that was in there. He made the exercising look so easy that most of the clients signed up that night.
Schuller was so good looking as well as smart. He was about six foot tall and had sandy brown hair. His brown eyes were the kind that made me feel so warm and happy. His smile just made me shake inside every time I saw him. It was so fortunate that we enjoyed the same things: music, television shows, teachers and animals. You might say that we were as close to being like the most wonderful couple who made the best love story we ever saw. You know. I think the lovers’ names were Romeo and Juliette. We saw that movie in class last week. I don’t know that Schuller would fight someone for me, but I do know that Schuller would always want me to be happy. Or so I thought! Now it looks like Schuller is moving out of my life.
The gray haired doctor is walking slowly into the ER room now. He motions that he wants to talk privately to mother and shows her the X-ray. I wish that I could hear what they are saying but then a new wave of pain moves from my hand up my arm and brings a fresh flood of tears to my eyes. Should I cry out loud? Should I be brave and keep it in? Or should I just save the true anguish for when I get the oncoming news?
I can see mother put her hand to her mouth as if she also wanted to start crying. She looks hard at the x-ray and then at me. Then I hear her speak the question, “Are you sure Dr. Maxwell?”
Dr. Maxwell replies, “Yes, you cannot mistake the break in her hand. It could have been much worse, but for right now, her hand needs surgery as soon as we can get it scheduled. If the break had been any lower, then I would have put her into surgery tonight. “ He paused to let this information sink in. “I will put her arm in a cast and send her home with some pain medication. Please make sure that you give her the medicine and that she takes it only when necessary because it might make her sleepy. If she has to handle any machines, she must be careful.”
Mother responds by shaking her head and saying that she hopes that he gives her the name of a good doctor. “I appreciate your giving me your professional opinion. I’ll call the office to set things up tomorrow.”
The doctor walks back to me to repeat the same information. He tries to make the injury seem important but not one that will change the function of my hand. Little did I know that this cast, a thing of medical necessity would change my future dramatically. Grace, you impulsive little girl, you are going to obedience school as soon as we can find one at a reasonable price. That is if we decide to keep you.
After a few well chosen “ouches” and “oooh that hurts,” my hand is in a temporary cast. The technician tried to be careful, but when bones are broken there is no painless way to make a cast look and feel pretty.
As we were walking out the door, mother whispers to me, “Caroline, I am so sorry to see you in this condition. We will hurry to the drug store and get this prescription filled.” She looks in her purse to make sure that she has enough checks and saw that she has used the last one. “Oh no, I guess we will have to use the ATM. I do hate doing this because there may be some fees for using my card. I have been trying to stay within my budget until we can get your father to start paying child support again. He would lose his job at the worst time. “ I just nodded and got seated on the rider’s side of the car. Could anything get worse?
We drove down the street and keep our eyes peeled for an ATM that we could use. Mother did not like to go to a place that was not well lighted. She also tried to look around to see that there was not anyone near the machine waiting for something. As she pulled into a parking lot, we saw some flashing lights and heard a siren.
Mother let out an agonized sounding groan. She stopped the car and waited for the policeman to come up to the window.
“Good evening mam. Did you know that your left rear light is out. That is a violation and I am afraid that I must write you a ticket. Please show me your proof of insurance and driver’s license.”
Mother slowly reached into her purse to find the documents. “Officer, I will get this fixed as soon as my ex-husband can send me the money. I am really sorry.”
“Well keeping your car is not your husband’s responsibility. I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard from women blaming a husband or boyfriend for something about driving. “ he said as he returned the papers and gave mother the ticket.
Mother looked at the ticket and started shaking her head. It seemed that both of us could use a good cry tonight when we got home. But I want to be first because I got hurt first and my hand was starting to throb even harder.