Brittle Bones by Anton Rose
January 22, 2015 Comments Off on Brittle Bones by Anton Rose
“One fibula, three ribs, a collarbone, and a dislocated shoulder. Not to mention all the stitches. It’s been a remarkable recovery.”
My physiotherapist smiles at me. I look at him, trying to remember his name. John, perhaps? Or was it James?
“I had a word with a couple of people downstairs,” he continues. “And I managed to get hold of these.” He takes an A4 brown envelope off his desk and hands it to me. “I thought you might like to keep them. As a souvenir.”
I take the envelope from him and pull the tab open. I slide my hand inside, running my fingers along the smooth surface.
“The guy down in the X-ray department remembered your case when I mentioned your name. Said he rarely sees anyone smashed up so badly.”
“Thanks,” I say.
“I’m not exaggerating, you know. To be back on your feet so soon after your accident is quite an achievement.”
I shrug my shoulders, and he laughs. “You’re too modest,” he says.
“So is it ok if I go now?”
“Yes, of course,” he replies. “Sorry for going on. Am I keeping you from something?”
“Nothing in particular.”
“Oh. Well, as I say, don’t hesitate to get in contact if you’re having any issues. We can arrange another session or two.”
I stand up. The pain seeps out through my legs, like thick syrup, up into my hips. My neck prickles with sweat.
“Are you ok?” he asks, narrowing his eyes.
“And you’ve got enough painkillers for now?”
I nod again. There’s a full bottle at home.
He pauses for a moment then walks over to the door, opens it for me.
“You take care,” he says.
As I walk through the door I hear his voice again. “Oh, before you go, I had meant to ask. Have you remembered anything about the accident yet?”
I shake my head and leave.
Outside, I make my way to the main road. By the side of the pavement there’s a grassy area with a bench. I sit down. I open the envelope again and take out the slides. The first one is of my leg, washed-out blue and white. I see the fracture and run my finger along its length, trembling. I take a file out of my bag and clip the new slides in along with the old ones.
As I stand up, the burning sensation returns to my joints. I am on fire. I walk towards the road, watching the traffic. The tarmac is newly laid, its urban pungency filling my nostrils. I breathe it in deeply.
There’s a blue van driving towards me, on my side of the road. I watch the driver, keeping my eyes trained on his approach. He doesn’t even glance at me.
© 2014 Anton Rose
Anton lives in Durham, U.K. He writes stories and poems while trying to complete a PhD in Theology. His work has appeared in The Alarmist, Structo, and Open Pen.