Part 1: G & G in A & E
It should have been straightforward: walking to the bus stop for work at 6.55am. Grimble wasn’t late, she was wearing normal boots with a small heel and it wasn’t slippy. She reached the corner and, as ever, bald man with big dog was approaching. Big dog might have been a very good reason for the fall but it wasn’t. Big dog was amenable as was bald man. Usually, as they passed, there was the ubiquitous morning, a head nod and then their daily acknowledgement ended. Bald man was not expecting Grimble to dismount the pavement with such an ungainly movement that her left foot crumbled underneath and, if Grimble’s hearing was to believed, there was a distinct crunch from her ankle region.
Grimble was now sat kerbside with inquisitive big dog nearby. This had thrown all into a quandary. There would need to be additional communication as it was clear that Grimble wasn’t just taking a rest, she was immobile and her pained “shit I can’t move” comment and the fucking hell expression seemed to sum up the current situation. Bald man seemed equally paralysed by the predicament but was sprung into action when Grimble, without warning, pulled off her boot exposing her sock. Random removal of outer clothing in November was not British. In fact, Grimble was not sure why she decided that the boot was the offending item and not the crunched ankle. However, evidently bald man was alarmed at such histrionics and offered to get his nearby car and transport her from the kerb to home before other clothing items could be removed.
Grimble was most grateful for this kindness and also happy that this small audience had gone because now she could do what she wanted: sob and curse at the absolute fucking pain. In the interim, she telephoned the sleeping G to advise him through sobs that she reckoned she might be hurt, she was just about to get into a stranger’s car and he’d better get dressed and ready for a visit A & E. It probably didn’t make a great deal of sense and G started asking Grimble lots of meaningless questions like where she was and who was bald man?
Transported the two minutes between kerb and home in bald man’s car, Grimble sat forlornly weeping on the lobby stairs as a half dressed, somewhat disheveled and confused G descended. She had now removed both boots and was sat in her stocking feet looking at her enlarging left foot. She needed footwear for her right foot and sent G back up the two flights for her furry grey suede boot. When he reappeared, she couldn’t get it on her normal foot as it required effort and G was sent upstairs again to fetch big pink fluffy slipper. Grimble was pretty certain he muttered for fucks sake but she opted to ignore it. They were about to embark on a trip to Swindon A & E, there’d be time enough for serial cussing.
With Grimble’s normal foot encased in a big pink fluffy slipper and bad foot causing such a pain fury that she wasn’t convinced that she would hold off throwing up, they set off to hospital. Given that G had not drunk coffee yet, he was remarkably sanguine, only once asking Grimble not to blubber quite so much. She looked at him, continuing to blubber quietly knowing that, if she ceased, vomit would follow and if this occurred in G’s beloved Sportage, it would be he requiring urgent medical attention.
A & E offered hope in the shape of a wheelchair and, remarkably, very few people. G positioned the unhappy short Grimble in the lowest chair he could find, they registered at the desk and he parked her and sought the coffee machine. Grimble wondered if the feeling of floating away was secondary shock kicking in, until she realised that G, in his desperate need to acquire coffee, had forgotten to apply the brakes and she was freewheeling through A & E and heading towards the exit: backwards. Luckily, G had observed her plight without her screaming and steadied her before she made it to the exit.
The waiting time was mercifully brief. The first nurse removed Grimble’s sock to reveal an egg sized lump on her ankle. The X-rays confirmed that this was a fracture and the various doctors established whether her stability would permit a black boot rather than a cast. Grimble had an unnatural sensitivity on her feet and all this sole probing made her respond with a mixture of anguished yelps and hysterical laughter. It was decided that her wobbles would suit a boot.
Grimble’s footwear now comprised of a pink fluffy slipper on her right foot and something akin to what Darth Vadar might wear on her left. She had been given painkillers and felt strangely pain free and much calmer. She felt tremendous happiness at being with G and wasn’t sure if this was love, shock or medication. This was not her first foot break though it was a different bone. The last time, four years ago, she had been living alone and had relied on the kindness of friends, online supermarket shopping and her own company. It was great to have G there in the hospital with his unrelenting Cockney humour and wit. Today, he had been adding thought and voice overs as he over heard the injury explanations from nearby cubicles. Overhearing, “I was in Barcelona, looking at the Sangria Familia and I slipped on a really steep step. It was a really high step”, came G’s interpretation, ” I was pissed on cheap cava and fish bowls of gin on a girls’ weekend to Barca, blind drunk, next thing I was in a heap on the Ramblas, singing Desparcito. When I got back to Swindon, my foot was a balloon.” It kept Grimble entertained and stopped her quiet weeping.
On the way home, Grimble realised that G had only had one caffeine supplement and that was from the A & E vending machine, which having served up a hot brown liquid to G had promptly ceased operating causing coffee consternation in the waiting area, especially as the machine happily drank everyone’s cash. In her state of thankfulness at still having both her strangely attired feet attached to her body, she offered G a treat MaccyD en route to home. It was 10.45, breakfast was over and Grimble cheekily suggested that, early though it was, G could launch straight into the main menu. A trip to the hospital and leaving alive always made her feel a sense of gratitude at survival and her own mortality. Thus, they would throw caution to the wind and eat off the belly busting menu at an irregular hour.
In her own head, she had drive through and home but as G only barely tolerated food shopping in the vehicle, it was clear they’d be entering MaccyDs to enjoy this treat. It was also clear that Grimble was possibly quite medicated as her face was smeared from tears and make-up, her hair was wild and freaky and she was wearing mismatched footwear: a Chav fluffy slipper and a black imitation Star Wars boot but she was happy at a public viewing. However, this was Swindon and, in Swindon, her attire was neither eccentric or unacceptable. In addition, this treat would allow them to defer to a later time, the lack of food on their premises.
Finally, at home, Grimble created a high cushion wall on the sofa for her poorly foot, the now most important item in the home, shoving G to second place. Their sofa was big enough for both of them to sprawl in comfort plus the full footed, nimble Grimble rarely sat there anyway. Indeed, normally, in the day, the sofa was G’s territory as she was at work. He would lounge, watching Star Trek and the news in a solitary heaven but now his haven had been disturbed by Grimble and her cushion wall. In addition, Grimble was less than mobile and rolled uncontrollably into G’s area like a defective weeble. To compound the situation further, the medication was lessening and with it Grimble’s tolerance to pain, lack of space or the proximity of G’s feet. The earlier euphoria of love was being replaced by frustration and a territorial sofa war. They viewed the next 6 weeks with apprehension.
Part 2: Grimble’s Slow Grumbling Recovery
Recovering from a broken ankle was really quite boring, as Grimble was learning. It was also rather painful. Getting comfortable was difficult so the doctor’s advice to rest was fraught with lots of sofa rolls and failed attempts to make her foot happy.
G and her sofa sharing was becoming increasingly fraught. With a normal footed Grimble, he liked to sprawl his feet on her as she massaged them, much to his joy. Now, this damaged Grimble was restless. Feet placed on her seemed to create a grumpy reaction. Her getting off the sofa was a major logistical procedure. She had no buoyancy or bounce. G found himself constantly launching her off, with several ungainly shoves, and watching her haphazard hop, minus her boot, towards the bathroom, grumbling and groaning en route.
He now realised the value of a perfectly formed Grimble. This damaged version liked to online shop but then couldn’t get to the door when the bell rang to collect her various purchases. Nor had she any buying system. Her items of desire were ordered hours apart, ensuring that both G and the delivery company were irritated in equal measure at the frequent repeat calls. Nor could G express or vent his frustration as this version of Grimble was moody and changeable and any type of criticism caused her to death stare him quite alarmingly from her huddled heap on the sofa or, worse still, cry. When she did attempt tasks, broken ankle Grimble had become incredibly clumsy, unsteady and somewhat dangerous. One time, she had hobbled in her boot to look at the oven for no particular reason and, within moments, he hard heard shattering glass and found her standing immobile and tearful in the middle of shards that had been a wine glass drying on the sink. He lead her to safety like a hero, found a dustpan but no brush and cleared the mess as best he could. He heard her grumble something about the vacuum that he chose to ignore knowing it was in the cupboard of doom. But three days later when he removed yet another tiny piece of glass from his bleeding sole, he knew that, unstable as defective Grimble was in many ways, her knowledge of cleaning and tidying remained intact.
Grimble, despite her grumpiness, was pretty impressed by G. He showed that he cared by patting Grimble’s head, foot and chastising her when she attempted short household journeys, minus the boot, in a genuinely concerned way. He raced round the car to the passenger side and opened her door to allow her to stumble out. In town, he gave his arm to her so that she could wobble more securely. In fact, there was no end to the wonders that Grimble had witnessed.
The other day, ankle accident plus 16 days, Grimble was huddled clumsily on the sofa, watching TV food shows when G lurched off and claimed he was going to sort something out. Grimble immediately tumbled into the vacated warm space and watched in trepidation. G was not a natural cleaner or tidier. He saw the home very differently to Grimble. She saw dust: he saw clear surface. She washed pots, pans, crockery as it dirtied. He felt economic efficiency was achieved with one wash of an overfilled sink. He refused to contemplate using the vacuum as it was homed in the cupboard of doom.
His decision to tidy the dining room table filled her with dread. True, the clutter was all his but, prior to this day, G disclaimed that this was clutter. Grimble saw an untidy mess of G’s papers, ancient fliers from Iceland, Specsavers and the local garden centre, a mixture of pens, screws and tape, two empty boxes designed to store his miscellaneous products and other sundry items. He saw the dining table as his filing centre for seriously important stuff. That he went to the kitchen cupboard for a bin bag surprised Grimble, not least that he intrinsically knew where the bin bags were, but he clearly intended to have a clear out. What was his purpose thought a complexed Grimble? Was he clearing the table in readiness for Christmas? Did he even remember that they used the table at Christmas? Grimble decided to remain silent and watch.
The cleansing was thorough. G was rigorous, almost fanatical, in his desire to clear the table. At the end of an hour, it was decluttered, the two boxes were used for their purpose and fliers, with offers well exceeding their life expectancy, in the bin. The table was now clear but Grimble felt this was not the end of the endeavour.
Still untidily placed by the TV, with wires like a bowl of spaghetti, was G’s recently purchased PS4 and the box for his Call of Duty WWII. Grimble cautiously noted how G kept looking at that debris and the table. Still unable to fathom how his brain was working but hoping that he would be removing these traps from the floor, she maintained her silence. The G plan then unfolded. He asked if he could use Grimble’s Prime account to order something, naturally she agreed without even asking what. It transpired that he wanted a new 28″ monitor as he was taking up gaming and he would need a top of the range screen resolution, new keyboard (he didn’t like to shoot from the handset, apparently), keyboard pad, mouse, a gaming chair and other items that made no sense to Grimble. As his shopping list extended, she pondered as to how he envisaged his new gaming world. As if he had sixth sense, G boldly directed Grimble to his recently created gaming station or, as Grimble knew it, the dining room table.
Thus, the plan had been revealed. The table, with the stunning view, overlooking the Cotswolds Water Park, had been transformed into a World War Two battlefield, but at least it was no longer a battlefield of paper and crap. At least, this new gaming station conformed to the stringent Grimble rules on tidiness and organisation. She knew that she could kick up a fuss at the lack of table and she had, in passing, mentioned Christmas but G was safely encased in his new headphones, shooting at things and there was no response. She sprawled on the full extent of the sofa and the footstool, the most comfortable her foot had felt post break, watching all the cooking shows on TV she wanted, followed by terrible reality TV, Bed and Breakfasts slagging each other off, hotel make overs and no news whatsoever. G was happy, swearing every now and then at some explosion. In fact, the whole home was content, tidy and functional. This was a good thing.
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