A few days past with no exciting events. Sharon and Guy came to visit me twice. The first time they entered the room, I could see the shock on their faces. Daniel had told them all about my injuries, but I suppose nothing could prepare them for the state I was in. Their first visit was really embarrassing for all of us. They didn’t say much, and both of them could not stop staring and my casted leg hanging from the bed sling. They asked a few questions – was I in pain, did I remember anything, said how much they worried, and so on. But all in all, it seemed they were afraid to ask the “wrong” questions, and none of us was very comfortable with this visit. I put an end to it when I said I was tired and asked them to call Mark. I saw Sharon’s eyes opening wide when she saw I had a male nurse, and before they both left she leant over to whisper how handsome he was. I smiled and said I didn’t notice that. It was true. I never bothered to “check him out”. I was so occupied with my thoughts about Daniel and my thoughts about being embarrassed by Mark helping me, that I never even noticed what he looked like. I was much relieved when Sharon and Guy left. I told my feelings to Mark, and he seemed to understand them:
“People often don’t know what to say”, he said. “They want to ask a lot of questions, but fear you might not want to talk about your accident, as it might bring back bad memories. So they say nothing, or try to act as if everything is normal – “
“Which is worse”, I said, “because it’s not.”
“Right”, said Mark. “And this way You can’t tell them how you really feel, because you’re afraid they don’t want to know the truth, and so it’s like a magic circle, and everyone is frustrated.”
“It’s true”, I said. “The only one I feel comfortable around is Daniel, because he acts naturally and says whatever comes to his mind.”
“It looks like he cares a lot about you”, said Mark. “He comes in every day and stays for a long time.”
That was true. Daniel came to visit me every day, and stayed for at least 3 hours every visit. He thought about all kinds of stuff that could amuse me, bringing books and newspapers and reading aloud to me. He even brought a crossword-puzzle book and we did some of them together. He was talkative, funny and caring. He was also acting naturally about my casts. He asked tons of questions – all the questions I think people normally want to asked but never dare: What did it feel like? Was it heavy or uncomfortable? Did I feel any pain in the cast? Did I want to get out of them? Could he sign on them? He drew some funny pictures on my casts, especially on the long leg cast. My arm was a bit sore, and so I tried not to move it. The arm cast remained white for a pretty long time. Except for that I felt no pain. I did feel very secure and safe in the casts. The plaster was pretty heavy, but then very comfortable. Yes, I did wish to be out of the casts, especially the arm cast, because I wanted to be able to crutch about. But there was nothing I could do, so I had to live through my sentence.
On their second visit, Sharon came in first, and Guy only joined us later. When she came, she looked a bit embarrassed and shy. This surprised me a little, because she was never that shy around people. So I said “Hello!” in a loud voice, smiled a big smile and invited her to come in. My smile seemed to make her more comfortable. She sat on a chair next to me and handed me two videos.
“Here”, she said. “Guy and I thought you might want some entertainment, so we rented these for you. I hope you like them. If not, we can rent you others.”
“Thanks”, I said. “I could use some stuff to do.”
“So, how have you been?” She asked.
“Fine”, I said, “just a little bored. I’m really glad you came. I can use the company. And you know what, it’s a good thing you mentioned Mark was handsome when you were last here, because I didn’t even notice that, and at least now I can amuse myself with the view…” This broke the ice, and from that moment on she was the same old Sharon I used to know, one that could discuss guys forever. She stopped being “politically correct” about my injuries, asked questions, signed my cast, and laughed at Daniel’s drawings. When Guy came in and saw us laughing and having fun, he seemed to realize that my condition was bad, but not tragic, and joined in being his usual self.
After they had left, the doctor came to check on me. It seemed all was going well, and then he broke with the new: I can leave the hospital in two days! I can go home to recover, and only come to the hospital for check ups every once in a while, and to change my casts when the time comes. I was both stunned and happy with the news. I immediately phoned Daniel.
“Great!” He said. “Do you need me to drive you from the hospital?”
I haven’t given that much thought yet, how things would be organized for me to get home and settle there. When I hung the phone up I asked Mark about the arrangement that needed to be done.
“Well,” he said, “an ambulance from the hospital would take you home. I think it would be pretty hard to fit you in a regular car when you’re like that. The wheelchair will come with us as well, and I believe that’s it.” He smiled. “You don’t need to worry about anything. Everything is taken care of.” In a weird way, it was nice to have absolutely no responsibility.
“Are you going to sleep now?” Mark asked.
“No,” I said. “I have some videos I want to watch. Do you want to watch them with me?” Mark nodded.
“Yes, why not,” he said.
“By the way,” I said, “where will you be staying? At my place as well?”
“Yes,” he replied. “It makes sense, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” I said. But I wasn’t comfortable about that. A stranger at my place… As if having him bathe me and feed me wasn’t bad enough. But at least I’ll be home, where all my books and other stuff are. We watched the videos in silent.