Sunday, June 29, 2008

On the Level

The horrified boy in the shower, on the side of his bed, locked in the toilet, fearing, more than anything else, the Sensible Thing To Do. Tense, heavy-hearted, restless, I crawled and stumbled through a few long days before I did the sensible thing. Thenceforth it had its own momentum, and I was at least spared of plotting my own course of action.
"Shall I take a look at it, then?"
"I'd rather you didn't."
I could just make out a smile forming somewhere inside his greying beard. Sighing, I climbed the patronising steps to the bed and dutifully, though hesitantly, lowered the elastic.
"The right one, just there."
"Hm."
His fingers were cold, clinical; I was numb. He rose, frowning, and I hurriedly shoved everything back into place. My family waited.
"We'll definitely need to do some tests."

The boy moved in the huddle of his family as if a ghost, suddenly detached from the present. The news had put him on autopilot and he could do little but gaze blankly at things. Everything bounced off. The murmur of the engine was the sole point of comfort; reassuring words irritated more than reassured. When it was finally black, I was still too hyped to contemplate a theoretical death with anything other than idle fascination. That hyperbolic fear didn't much weigh upon my mind in the intervening time, nor, in fact, did the more realistic fear; everything seemed to sit second to curiosity, even excitement. Consequently, I wasn't exactly sure how to feel when I received the news that the bugger was benign. Still, at least I got a consolation operation.

"I'm going under the knife tomorrow."
"Really? What for?"
I realised my mistake and stalled. Tom honed in, shattering my affected coyness. The school uniforms didn't much help matters.
"It's my knee." I pointed, vaguely. We moved for the bus.

All in all, a nice week or so of attention. I was sad to see him go.

24 comments:

Kathryn said...

Fond of your benign lump, eh?

Hugh said...

He meant no harm.

Kathryn said...

I'm not fond of those patronising steps. Or the bed, for that matter. Ugh.

Ben said...

So don't use them. They're for the elderly and infirm, anyway.

The steps, not the lumps.

Kathryn said...

I'd take a running jump, but there's usually not enough room.

Hugh said...

Sometimes the bed's high, or even a bunk bed.

Ben said...

Gee, it must suck when things aren't made small enough for you.
Luckily, I don't have that problem, as doors, shelves, trolleys, cars, clothing shops and so forth demonstrate.
Really, it's unfair to allow high beds in a doctor's office. They should be geared towards the tiny as well. Screw the chronic back problems tall people invariably get, the tiny masses are grumpy.

Tom said...
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Hugh said...

I believe Tim was the locker-fitting one. I never went as far in.

Neko?

Kathryn said...

Neko?

Ben said...

A truly hip cat.

Hugh said...

Or fox.

Kathryn said...

Meow?

Hugh said...

Everybody hurts.

Kathryn said...

Tomboy, why am I Neko?

Tom said...
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Kathryn said...

Nice one.

Hugh said...

In that case, I was incorrectly pronouncing the first syllable with a long vowel, after the singer.

Tom said...
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Tom said...
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Hugh said...

Recalling of events? Why, this never happened! That is to say, no worries whatsoever.

Kathryn said...

Grain of salt, Tom. Grain of salt.

Tom said...
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Hugh said...

Someone's threatened the witness!