Saturday, 4 March 2017

Fractured - Short Story


Fractured

“For goodness sake! Why didn’t you call?” Melanie said sounding agitated,

“It was only a little fall. Nothing to worry about.” I replied trying not to let my irritation show,

“But mum you are in plaster. That’s hardly nothing is it?” I sighed looking at my daughter. She looked cross, harassed and worried. This was exactly why I hadn’t called her. I’d arranged a lift home and felt fine. Unfortunately a nurse had checked my next of kin details and called her without my knowledge. The nurse had probably thought she’d been doing the right thing.

I was home with my leg propped up and my daughter was busy in the kitchen. She had brought me a drink and some snacks on a tray. I could hear her banging about in the kitchen and the sound of something cooking on the hob. I’d tried to stop her. I was more than capable but she’d just told me to rest and I could see her mind was set. I knew Melanie worried and I loved her dearly but today her presence was making me feel like a burden. Since her dad, my beloved husband Jim had died three years ago she had called me like clockwork three times a week and we went for coffee most Saturday mornings. It’s like she thought I couldn’t cope alone. I missed Jim dearly but had surprised myself with a steely independence and had managed to build a strong support network of friends. Jim had been my rock and we had gone everywhere together but I’d coped better than I ever imagined. I still thought about him daily but it was always happy thoughts. I was just reminiscing about our last holiday together when Melanie interrupted my thoughts. “Earth to mum. Hey are you ok?”

“Sorry love was just thinking.”

“Oh. Are you ok?”

“Yes my love. Was thinking about your dad?” Melanie smiled continuing, “Do you remember when he broke his ankle falling over the cat? I’ve never heard him curse so much. I never think he forgave Charlie.”

“No that poor cat avoided him for weeks.” I laughed remembering the accident vividly. Melanie sighed seemingly lost in thought but then visibly shook herself off.

“I’ve made a quick shepherd’s pie. It’s just browning in the oven and the washing is on the line. So how exactly did you hurt yourself?” She settled herself on the sofa and her face relaxed,

“I was at the community centre for our ballroom dancing session…..”

“I thought ballroom dancing was supposed to be sedate.” Melanie said interrupting and laughing softly,

“Well it is but we were learning a new routine and I just lost my footing and fell awkwardly. Could have happened anywhere. It’s not a bad fracture. The doctors said it should heal well.”

“That’s good. When I got the call from the hospital I panicked. You really should have phoned.”

“Mel it was all under control. A friend took me down and stayed with me for a while and then Pam picked me up. I feel absolutely fine.”

“I’m so glad it wasn’t worse. I’ll pop and see you tomorrow.”

“There’s really no need love. Pam is going to come round for coffee and I can always ring Becky she’s only up the road.”

“Are you sure mum? It’ll be difficult on crutches living alone.”

“I’m fine love. You are busy. You don’t need to pop round.” After dishing up the shepherd’s pie and clearing the plates Melanie left and I relaxed. I needed to talk to her but now was not the time. I’d been dreading her spotting the holiday brochures under the coffee table. I wanted to tell her but was worried about her reaction. For the past 6 months I’d been seeing a lovely man called David. We had met at the community dances over a year ago and become firm friends. To start with it was purely companionship but had developed into something more. He had given me a new zest for life. It was partly his fault I fell today I remembered smiling. He’d convinced me to give Salsa dancing a go and I’d borrowed some higher heels for the afternoon. A mixture of speed, lack of experience and higher shoes lead to my downfall. It was a bit embarrassing but everyone was lovely and shared jokes about me being swept of my feet.  So far I’ve not discussed David with Melanie although I have mentioned him when discussing a collective group of friends. Pam thinks I’m being silly but I’m worried about how she’ll react.  She was so close to her dad.

Several weeks passed and I failed to talk to Melanie about David and our holiday plans. We’d settled on a cruise that left from Southampton and went around the Mediterranean. I’d always wanted to go on a cruise but Jim had hated boats. Two other couples were going to come. I was growing increasingly excited about it all but needed to discuss it was Mel before booking. 

One Friday Mel popped round to share a take away and watch a film when she unexpectedly mentioned going away. “I’ve been thinking mum. Do you fancy going to the Isle of Wight or maybe Spain? I could have a week off work and we could go away together.”

“Oh…I…Um….” I stammered.

“Don’t you like the idea? Obviously we’ll wait till your cast is off.”

“It’s not that love. It’s just I…Um…I might be going away already.”

“Really? With Pam? You didn’t mention it.” Mel said surprised,

“I’ve been meaning to tell you. I’ve meet a chap called David. We are planning to go away together. They’ll be six of us including Pam. It’s a cruise.” I blurted hurriedly feeling strangely nervous.

“You’re dating? How long?” Melanie said looking stunned,

“Um…about 6 months.” I said blushing,

“Mum! Why didn’t you tell me? That’s fantastic news. I’m delighted. Dad always said he didn’t want you to be alone. Where did you meet your fancy man then? Spill the beans. Did he have something to do with your fall?” she indicated my leg and grinned,

“Oh Mel I’m so glad you are pleased. I was worried about telling you. I met him a while ago through the community centre but it’s slowly developed. He’s a lovely man. We were at a salsa class when I fell.” I said smiling,

“What are you like?” Mel said laughing. She shook her head gently and sighed. “Mum I can’t believe you were worried about telling me. I’ve only ever wanted you to be happy. You’re too young to spend the rest of your life alone. I’d like to meet him though before you sail of into the sunset.”

We settled into a long conversation and I showed her some pictures. A week later following the removal of my cast we all got together and had a lovely evening meal. We poured over the brochure and I was delighted when Mel decided to join on us on the cruise with Pam’s daughter Kelly. I decided breaking my leg had been fate and said a silent thank you and began counting down the days till the now much anticipated cruise.

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