It's not a long distance from the kitchen to the living room, and given that Charlize had just gone about making sure part of the way was extra clear because a wheelchair needs extra clearance on either side and a wheel could get hung up on something a foot would step over, it should have been simple to deliver a plate with a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches from the one room to the other.
Should is a word that, when spoken of things that already happened, really means "somehow wasn't" because what should have been easy resulted in me heading toward the floor at around the halfway point. Jackie reached out to help me, but I was already too far gone. She got a hold of me, but that only brought her along for the ride.
The grilled cheese hit the floor. The plate landed upside down. Unbroken, thankfully. I landed on my side. My head landed on my arm. I couldn't see Jackie from where I was. The giant sound threatened to bring mothers rushing.
Jackie had thought of that and shouted, "We're ok," to the next room. Then, to me, she said, "I see you're as smooth as ever."
I wasn't ready for talking just yet, and when I did speak I said, "Ow," to no one in particular. Drawing out the word like you do when you've just been hit by the floor. Then I shouted to the other room, "I dropped your food."
I was actually rather uncomfortable, but I didn't want to get up. I asked Jackie, "Do you mind if I just lay here for a bit?"
"Yes. In point of fact I do." Pause. "You're on my arm."
That explained some things, most notably, "That explains what's in my side, there's also something sticking into my back."
"Does it feel like my left knee?"
"Could be, let's get untangled."
It was a fairly simple process. I lifted myself a bit, she pulled her arm out from under me. I rolled away from her, she rolled away from me. We were untangled.
"I can't believe I dropped the grilled cheese."
"What else would you have dropped?"
"I poured my heart and soul into those sandwiches."
"No you didn't."
"How would you know?"
"You overcooked them."
There was a bit of silence as we both lay on our backs looking at the ceiling. The only sound being the game our mothers were watching in the living room.
"Have you had your inner ear checked?" Jackie asked.
"I have been poked and prodded in more ways than most people can imagine."
"No less than three doctors have concluded that I am the opposite of sane. Clearly I don't have any problems and I'm just making it up."
"But you have the scars to-"
"No, I'm making it up. It's all in my head. It's just my imagination."
"Yeah, well your imagination could get you hurt badly."
"I know. There's a reason I cling to railings for dear life whenever I'm at a stairway."
"You could just take the elevator."
"I could sprout wings and fly."
"I somehow doubt that."
"Yeah, I was being snippy."
"I wasn't going to say anything."
"Your doctors sucked."
"What's more likely, that every doctor I ever went to sucked, or that I am psychologically un-"
"Every single one of them sucked."
"Yeah, that's what I said. But no one ever listens." I corrected it to, "Except you."
And then, it seemed, we ran out of things to say.
After a while Jackie said, "It's a very nice ceiling."
"Oh yes, quite ceiling like in it's qualities."
"I suppose you're right, I've never noticed that before." It was a ceiling. It looked like a ceiling.
"That's why you need me around. To point these things out to you."
And for a while we lay there looking at the ceiling.
Finally I said, "Want to help me make more food?"
[Edith and Ben Index]