“Adventures at Fifty”
Jocelyn groaned that morning. Her body creaked and cracked as she stood. Her heels hurt. The pain shot up her legs and she waited for the relief that came after standing for a bit. That subsided, and she then became aware of a twinge of nerve pain in her back and shooting down her left leg. “God, I’m falling apart!” she wailed inside her head. Outside, she pretended her best that all was good and she charged on through her day, wincing when necessary and taking care of these ailments in private, for that is all they were, just ailments, annoying as they were.
And most of the day she felt pretty good, good enough at least that these things, though bothersome, were only at their worst in the morning and as the day went on, they fell into the back of her consciousness.
So by the end of this particular day she was feeling better. Her back felt better and her heels hurt less. At seven-thirty, when all her work was done and there was time to kill, she went outside to find her son, who was down at the end of the street. Wanting to get to corner faster, she grabbed a scooter from the garage, contemplated a ride down the driveway to get her on her way and stopped. “No,” she thought. “Start at the bottom.” So she walked the scooter nearly down to the bottom and hopped on with just a little way to go before the street met the driveway. She didn’t know exactly what happened next and in what order, but there must have been a bump along the way, for a split second later she was in an airborne tangle with the scooter. And it wasn’t until later that she figured that her knees and elbows must have hit the road first and then maybe the palms of her hands. But what she remembered most was the jarring sound of her chin smashing down on the road and the jolt of pain that shot through her jaw a second later.
She might have called out. She hoped she hadn’t, actually and, when she looked around, she saw that the street was empty. A circle that on a cooler day would have been filled with children and their parents was mercifully empty and so her ridiculous scooter accident was thankfully unseen.
“I am a complete fool!” she thought. For Jocelyn had recently turned fifty and was struggling to accept and assimilate her age into her life with her family, her active children. As she looked down the street and pulled herself up, she saw her son riding towards her on his bike. He had seen and was racing up to check on her.
Once standing, she was sure her elbows and knees would be bleeding, but they were only scraped a little. The palms of her hands stung, but they too were generally okay. She opened her mouth and there it was, the worst of her injuries was in her jaw.
She wanted to brush it off, but inside she was in a crisis. She got inside the house, her young son behind her. He wasn’t too worried—she was glad for that. Little boys wiped out all the time on their scooters and bikes.
As she walked through the garage and into the kitchen, she felt a rush of nausea and sweat. Her body shook. She wanted to hide or at least play down her fall. Her teenage son was there, on the computer. Maybe he wouldn’t look at her too closely and notice what his brother had not—that she was afraid, that she felt weak, that she was about to faint.
She got herself onto the couch. “I fell off the scooter,” she announced. “Are you okay?” her teenage son asked. “I think so. I just need to sit.” She sat and willed the room to settle, her sweat to dry, her legs to find balance.
“I’ve got to get better at riding that scooter,” she thought to herself. “Maybe a different pair of shoes…”
To be continued…
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