The house was silent when I woke up the next morning. Lying still for a few minutes, I listened out for the usual sounds of people making breakfast, and the television blaring. All that surrounded me was an eerie quietness that caused me to swing my legs over the side of the bed and get up. But before I got that far, I noticed a note on the bedside table addressed to me.
Please make sure to do the morning dishes and fold yesterdays’ washing. We’ve all gone out onto the yard and will see you at lunch time. Oh and the flowers could do with a morning shower.
“Oh so I’m the housebound slave eh?” I grumbled, screwing up the letter and reaching for my crutches. I hobbled out into the living part of the house and groaned at the sight before me. The whole couch was covered in assorted clothing waiting to be folded and there was a stack of plates needing to be washed. “Just bloody perfect.”
I made my way into the kitchen and balanced myself, reaching for the refrigerator handle. Yanking it open, I pulled the milk out onto the bench and then fumbled to find the cereal and a bowl, clumsily making my breakfast. I glanced at the dining table and then at the bowl, wondering how on earth I was going to get it there. Letting out a groan, I readjusted myself and scoffed it down, trying to keep off my bad leg, although I lost my balance a couple of times. Once I was done, I dumped the plate in the sink and hobbled over to the closest chair, sitting down and it and letting out a deep breath.
“Now how the h*ll am I meant to do the dishes?” I wondered aloud, looking around the house for a solution. I spotted a stool on wheels in the corner of the kitchen and went to retrieve it, cautiously taking a seat on it and then wheeled myself to the sink. I smiled as I realised I’d be able to reach everything and set to work, finding the remote to the stereo on the bench and switching on some music.
Twenty minutes later the dishes were all sitting in the tray drying off and I felt a small burst of satisfaction from completing my task. My annoyance subsided and without thought, I continued on with my tasks, folding the washing into neat piles upon the coffee table. I took a small break to rest my leg and then reminded myself of what was left to do. “The flowers, right.” I stopped halfway to the door, glancing down at myself and my short nightie that I was still wearing. Feeling my oily hair, I turned around, and thumped down the hall to the bathroom.
I shut the door and looked around at what was waiting for me. The shower had my special seat sitting in it and I noticed my toiletries were in a small shower tray beside it. All I needed was a towel and I’d be ready to shower. I found a pile of towels under the sink, and balancing myself, I quickly reached for one, yanking it off the top and shutting the door to the cabinet. I placed the towel on a shelf and then sat down on my special seat.
“I can do this all by myself,” I said determinedly, knowing the confidence I felt was from completing my tasks before. Since the incident I hadn’t taken a shower alone completely, my leg holding me back in shifting around myself. But as I sat on the edge of my seat and unwrapped the bandages upon my leg, I ignored my rationality, knowing there was no one to help me anyway. I figured if I showered and dressed, I’d be able to do the flowers before lunch time. This was all the incentive I needed and carefully lifting my leg out of the end of the bandages, I got over one of the small obstacles facing me. I removed my clothes and slid back on the seat, glad that this shower didn’t have a huge side to it like the one back home. I gritted my teeth and coiled my left foot under my bad leg, hoisting it up so I could slide back some more. Soon I was sitting fully in the shower and I let out a cry of delight, revelling in the fact I was able to do something for myself here. I stretched up for the tap and water soon rained down upon me, my mood lightening as the hot spray seeped through my dry skin and revitalised me. I cleaned my hair and body, spending an extra five minutes just enjoying the water. Finally I reached up to turn off the tap and opened the curtain, ecstatic to see no water on the floor.
“Best shower yet,” I announced happily, and guided my leg back out so I could sit on the edge again. I then realised what I was missing from my equation and began to panic. My dilated focus darted around the room, and I wondered what I could use in place of my wheelchair. My confidence pushed its way back to the top, calming my nerves so I could think it through. “Just do it slowly Sunny. Towel first,” I ordered and nodding to myself, I stood up shakily and reached for the soft fabric, wrapping it around my body and then clutching at my crutches before I fell. I smiled and decided I would go get dressed and then come back for my bandages, knowing I wouldn’t be able to carry them with me. I hobbled as quickly as I could down the hallway, despite being the only occupant in the house and then flung open the top drawer Kate had filled with my under garments.
I managed to dress myself, although it took some time and by the end of it I was sore and tired. But my stubborn streak fuelled me on to get what I needed for my leg, going back to the bathroom, and after putting a folded towel on the almost dry shower seat, I sat back down and reached out for my bandages. After a few stretches, I still hadn’t been able to grab them. I stood back up, and balancing myself, I leant down for the roll on the floor. “Come here you stupid thing,” I growled and pushed my arm down further, my fingertips grazing the side of the fabric. I wobbled but continued reaching out, determined to grab it. My fingers clasped the fraying edge of one and I cried out, realising I was going to fall. I snapped myself back up but I couldn’t find my balance and my weight sent me backwards. I reached out for everything around me and screamed again, my bottom contacting with the seat and I grasped it with my hands, panting heavily as my leg hit the ground but I didn’t go any further. The scream that left my mouth upon contact was deafening and I sat there shaking, the sobs leaving my mouth a moment later.
I don’t know how long I sat there, my top soaked through from tears and my exhausted body slumping against the side of the shower in defeat. I called out for help several times, waiting for someone to come find me and help out. I made no attempt to get the bandages for awhile, but when the tears finally subsided, I realised I hadn’t really hurt myself at all. Whatever was left in my tear duct ceased and I sniffled a couple of times, my brain sending messages to my leg to see if it was hurt. I couldn’t distinguish any ache or pain and I roughly wiped my damp face. Deciding to see if I could use my crutch to scoot the bandages over, I pushed them towards me and then bent down for one, feeling foolish for not doing that in the first place. I held my breath as I put them back on my leg clumsily, but they seemed to stay on securely once I was done. I headed off slowly to my room, changing my soaked top for a clean one and took some medication. I waited ten more minutes and slowly went out to the living area, Maddie coming through the door as I started towards it. She took a look at my obvious state and walked to my side.
“I’m sorry, I was just heading to do the flowers,” I said quietly, and she nodded once.
“Did you take a shower?”
“Yeah, I did.”
“Everything okay?” she asked with concern and I forced a smile onto my face.
Maddie stared at me for a moment and then nodded again. “Good, looks like you’ve done a great job today.”
“Might have to give you some more tasks for tomorrow then.”
“Sure,” I said absentmindedly, still heading to the door. “Just going to do the flowers now.”
“Okay, I’m going to start on lunch hun,” she told me and walked towards the kitchen. I opened the sliding door and stepped outside, slumping happily into my wheelchair and letting out a sigh of relief. I then glanced back inside at my Aunt, wondering why she hadn’t made a fuss over me like everyone else did. I smiled briefly, feeling a glimpse of hope wake up within me.
Maybe I wasn’t as crippled as I thought.
♥ Seoul Searchin' for the Lovebug ♥