I’m Okay. You?

 

I fell down the stairs this morning.

“Did you break your hip?” Mike asked when he realized it was me at the bottom of the stairs and not some junk I dropped. I had been taking down the recyclables and missed a step. Where was Nick when I needed him? Right. He’s where he’s supposed to be. College.

“No, I landed on my knee,” I said.

I pulled up my pants leg and already a green lump rose on that knob at the top of my tibia. You know the one. It’s the dot at the bottom of the V of my knees that used to make them look elegant and now just makes them look lumpier. It’s what digs into vinyl or worse, concrete, and aches for ten minutes any time I have to climb down and then up again from a kneeling position. It’s the part of the bone that sticks out farther than my patella, thankfully.

I sat there for a while on my butt as Mike examined my leg without touching the ugly green knob I’d grown. He asked me about a million questions. I convinced myself that I could bend my leg a little. Finally, I scooched my butt up onto the first step and then onto the second before I stood up.

I felt ice on the front of my leg and a little zingy thing. I wondered if I really had broken it. But, I feel that all the time, nerve damage from when I broke my back in fifth grade. Thanks, Jeff.

Still, Mike got me settled onto the couch with an Advil, a blanket, and an ice pack. He left for work and I went back to sleep.

I’m like that about trauma. If I can go to sleep afterward, I almost always feel better when I wake up. It was like that today. I took my time but I got up and got ready for work without too much trouble from my knee.

Later, Mike texted me to ask again if he needed to take me to urgent care to get an X-ray. I really was okay, sore, but okay.

I did fine at work too except when that kid knocked my knee with his chair. I managed to keep a straight face and breathe evenly for a couple seconds while the ringing in my bone settled out. Kids hardly ever look at you when you tutor them anyway. It’s some kind of avoidance or a denial that this older person correcting them is actually a human being and not a robot. I try to say surprising things to wake them up to my humanity, but complaining about a bruise isn’t the way to go.

So, I was hardly thinking about being traumatized after work. It was just an ordinary day, one with a bruise added to it. I turned my car in the opposite direction to go meet with some friends instead of heading home.

I went through a round-a-bout and was driving straight past a car waiting on a side street when she started honking at me.

In response, I hit my brakes, turned to wheel a little into the bike lane then realized why she was honking when I saw a silhouette of a body fly up in front of my car and felt my car clip something at the knees.

It was a deer!

I hit a deer!

I pulled to the side of the road, found an opening in traffic, and backed around the corner off the main road. I had to put on the light on my phone to find the button for hazard lights. I’m still driving Nick’s car.

I got out of the car to look for the body. I couldn’t see a body. I walked out into the middle of the main road. No body. The road was lit with streetlights.

A man walked down his driveway toward me.

“Did you see the deer?” I asked him. “I hit a deer. I’ve never hit a deer. Somebody honked, but I saw it too late and I hit it.”

“That was my girlfriend, going to work. I heard her honk.”

He backed up and unconsciously, I followed until I realized we both had stepped onto the sidewalk. Nice one. He didn’t even ask me to get out of the middle of his road.

“Those deer are pretty tough,” he said. “He’s probably alright.”

I imagined the poor animal running a mile or two in fear and then collapsing into a heap.

“Do you think so?” I asked. “I clipped him pretty good.”

“He’s probably alright. Deer are a lot tougher than people are.”

“Thank you,” I managed to say. “And tell your girlfriend I said thank you for honking at me. It helped.”

“Alrighty, then.”

He walked back up his driveway and I got back into my car. I had to turn on my phone light again to turn off the hazard lights. Then, I started the car, took it out of park, and sat there with my foot on the brake for a minute longer. I hit a deer. I’d only ever hit a bird and a squirrel before. A deer. There was that silhouette. My lights. A body.

Like a human body. My first thought, as the whole thing replayed in my mind was that I was an idiot for braking when someone honked at me. My second thought was that I’d originally thought I’d hit a person. A person! I had seen, after a few milliseconds, that there were four skinny legs instead of two thick ones. I sat there in my car with my foot on the brake, and I shuddered, then burst into tears.

I’m fine, thanks for asking. Really, I’m okay. I am. How are you doing?

Thank you for listening, jules

 
 
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