"Alive or Just Breathing?" she asked as she came into my room. "Haven't decided yet" I responded.
"Agh so you know it is a choice then?" she said while cocking her head to the side with a slight sarcastic grin.
"Aye," I said "I do" carefully clasping my hands over my chest after tucking the blankets just under my armpits and closing my eyes.
" We have a wonderful aquasize program, bridge in the common room and afternoon tea on the patio at two" she said while reading her clipboard and turning the page
"Will see" I managed to mumble with my eyes closed hoping she would take the hint.
"Choice is yours" she said as she turned and left shutting the door from which she entered.
"I know" I thought. Trust me I know.
I hated that she was right, I was just breathing. It had been ages since I last felt "Alive" but the thought of aquazie made me think of drowning and let's face it I already felt like I was. Cards never interested me and well the thought of Afternoon tea was almost enough to get me out of bed, I am not one for watered down tea and store bought biscuits. If one was going to go to the effort of calling it afternoon tea it best be served on a three tier tray with three types of sandwiches on the bottom, two types of scones, one savory and one sweet, with jam and devonshire cream of course, on the second tier and the third better have three pastries you cannot live without, now that, that is worthing living for and that would normally make me feel alive.
It had been about two weeks I guess since they brought me here, post op rehab. They said it would be good for me, this way I could get the rest, help and care to help me get back on my feet again after the accident, help me get back to normal, or the new normal I guess.
After 6 weeks in the hospital the thought of another four here made me shutter. I missed my apartment, my cat, my teapot and my teacup collection and I missed my work. I hated not being at my tea shop, not being able to come downstairs from the apartment, opening the store and tea room, putting the convection oven on and mixing up that first batch of buttery scones each morning. I missed my strong black vanilla tea, the robust and resilient rooibos red teas from South Africa and the delicate green teas of Asia. I even missed the herbal teas, my least favorite as they were not teas at all, merely teasaines but done right they were tolerable. It took every ounce of energy not to reach for the phone and call my niece Elle Bea and just check on how things were going at the shop. Three of my 7 nieces were happily employed in the family business and while I knew they could handle it I truly missed the day to day interactions with them and with my customers."
Closing my eyes I drifted in and out of sleep, terrorized by the post traumatic stress that comes with being an accident victim, feeling so helpless and so lost. The sounds of the screeching tires, bump of the car as it hit me, knocking me through the air, the smell of pavement as I hit it, the flashing of the lights and the sounds of the sirens as I came too. The soft brown eyes of the EMT who helped to stabilize me and get me on the stretcher backboard and who stayed with me all the way to the hospital. The sounds of the hospital monitors, the throbbing of the IV, the smell of the disinfectant and urine, that only hospitals seem to have. The combination of remembering and the dream woke me in yet another cold sweat.
Stronger people than me don't ask why, but I do, I want to know why, why me, and I am not ashamed of that. The broken hip and cracked pelvis made for only part of the reason I could not manage to recover at home, the stairs well they were not doable at this time and I could not exactly put a hospital bed and commode in the front parlor of the tea room, but the thought had crossed my mind. I blame the pain meds for that one. As I drifted in and out of sleep for most of that morning, my fear and frustration turned to anger and anxiety. What the heck was I doing in here when I could be out there running my normal life. The one I had before the accident and why the heck had the police not found any leads?
Random attack my patootie. Stolen car, hit and run, police finding the car abandoned just a few streets from the tea shop. Me minutes from home, having a lovely day and then boom, everything changing in an instant. Did the police really not think the threats I had been receiving through the mail slot of the tea room were credible?
A knock at the door woke me from my self pity party, opening my eyes to find that the physio therapist had arrived for our daily torture session. Sighing and resigned to the fact that if I was going to get out of here and find out who did this to me I was going to have to choose to be "Alive" and stop laying here "just breathing. "
.....-By Karen M. Gibson
Many thanks for your kindness, patience and time to read. Thank you to Lisa for this take over and a chance to share my writing. We all have these stories somewhere in us, time to invite them out, sit down with them and invite them to tea.