I was rushing, I should not have been but I was. Mat and I were fighting about something unimportant, so I was angry too. I stormed into the bathroom to grab one last thing before we left the house. For a split second I noticed that the floor was very wet from the leaking shower and then it happened. I slipped. It was exactly the way a cartoon character would go down, legs fly out from under her, so that the whole body is suspended horizontally in mid-air for a few seconds and then everything comes crushing down, in my case on my elbow.
I screamed out in pain and immediately began crying. Even though he was probably still angry with me, Mat rushed over from the kitchen as soon as he’d heard the crash. He crouched down behind me & put his hands on my shoulders,
“Oh zz, are you ok? What happened?”
“No! That. Really. Hurt.”
I was beside myself, holding my elbow, rocking myself to self-sooth.
“You poor thing. Can you get up?”
I shook my head, no. I could not get up.
Getting up would mean:
- I would have to concede that while I was hurt I was not maimed or somehow incapacitated, meaning I would have to continue as normal people do, and maybe no-one would ever know that I had been hurt. That I was still hurt.
- I would need to change my pants & possibly my top too because I had been sitting in cold shower water.
- I was very much enjoying the sympathy, and perhaps if I was not mistaken a hint of guilt coming from this man crouching in the dark behind me, because in some small and inexplicable way I’d decided that he did this to me.
- Why the hell should I get up anyway? Why is that the first question he asks, or the third, or whatever? No I will not get up.
He was breathing in my hair because I was still crying. He put his arms around me & gave me a little squeeze.
“Okay, baby. Okay, let’s get up.”
I nod my head and he helps me to my feet.
“Slowly, there’s a lot of water.”
I knew that.
Then I was facing him. He had his arms around me and I cried on his shoulder. He rubbed my back as I made my lament. After a while he leaned down and whispered:
I mumbled into he shoulder to show I could hear him.
“I know you’re hurt, & you’re still upset, but… I can’t see a single tear coming from those beautiful eyes.”
I peeped up at his face from my place on his shoulder and he peeped down at me with a smile & a glint of mischief in his eyes.
“You’re just like one of the Kindergarten girls when they get hurt.”
I could feel a laugh rising warm and familiar between us, but I was not ready to be happy again. Not yet. He just smiled & waited, because even though my face was still contorted with ugly feelings and even though I was still subliminally blaming him and the rest of the planet for my current mishap and perhaps my woes in general, he knew I was on my way back. Cause I’m the comeback kid.
Getting up really meant:
- I conceded a brief defeat, yes I got hurt – that happens sometimes. I’ll be ok, even if no-one sympathises, I’m getting ready to go again.
- I get to change my pants & top, they are so last season anyway.
- It’s nobody’s fault, people are involved sometimes, but life happens & the more responsibility I can take for where I landed, the more power I have to change things.
- Can I get up? Will I get up? Sometimes I can’t, I sometimes won’t. Today I will.
So I let the laughter come, even as I clutched my wounded elbow & my wounded ego. We stood in the dark, in the puddle of cold shower water, laughing at his little joke, laughing at me and suddenly nothing seemed important enough to lose one tear over. My spirit wasn’t harmed, there was life left in me, I could tell by all the living sounds that were coming out of my mouth.
A wounded ego is worse than the actual wound ever was, but a wounded spirit will kill a person. I am the only person who can let my own spirit go down, but I won’t let it stay down, because I am the freaking comeback queen.