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.

I nod.

“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.

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