I stared blankly at the letter Tom had sent me as I sat in my hospital bed. I had read it over and over ever since waking up from my induced coma a week ago. After I passed out from blood loss our officers had been able to override the terrorists and suspected it was just a ploy to annihilate our base – a suicide shooting.
Tom wrote of how I was found, lying in a pool of my own blood, and rushed to a doctor at the base to see if I was even able to be saved seeing as my pulse was so weak. Somehow, by sheer miracle, my stats settled enough for me to be shipped back to my small hometown to recover fully. He told me that, after a ‘suitable amount of time’, if I wanted to rejoin the air force I would need to be examined to see if my fitness reached the standard required to do my original job.
A low growl slipped through my teeth as I thought of the last part. What the hell did a ‘suitable amount of time’ mean? How long was that supposed to be? What the hell was I supposed to do if I couldn’t go back to being ground defence officer? I’d built my entire life around being in the air force. I lived, breathed and slept my job... and to find out I might not be able to do that... I couldn’t even fathom what the hell I was supposed to.
I sighed and looked down at my left leg. Beneath the hospital gown and bandages I could just imagine the two circular scars that rendered me slightly disabled at the moment. Only one bullet had passed through completely, leaving another scar at the back of my thigh but the doctors had to search for the one that was stuck inside. The two bullets that were shot into my thigh had done pretty serious damage and as a result I was in terrible pain.
A short man with thinning brown hair sauntered into my hospital room and offered me kind smile. I stared back at him, not an ounce of emotion showing on my face. I was always in a bad mood since waking up. I was a big man and the hospital beds were barely wide enough to hold me, the food (though slightly better than at the base) was horrid and lacking any of the nutrients I needed and the ever constant pain in my leg overrode the pain all over my body.
“Dr Mitchell” I greeted him in a deep monotone voice.
“Good morning Lieutenant Hodges, how’s the leg?” he asked me as he looked over my clipboard. I grunted and winced when I tried to shuffle back a little. “Still quite painful I see. I may have to up your dosage of painkillers” he mumbled.
He hummed a tuneless song as he went about checking my stats and the movement in my leg after checking how the rest of my wounds were healing. I had several stitches and soon-to-be scars all over my arms, legs and torso and my mind wondered to the saying my mother used to say to me whenever I developed a scar, ‘It’s just character building, sweetheart. Soon you’ll look back and see how much you went through. Even if you were covered from head to toe in scars... it’ll just mean you’re a walking storybook’
I ghost of a smile lit the corners of my mouth before I put my frown back on. I sat patiently as Dr Mitchell finished up. “So what’s the story Dr Mitchell?” I asked.
“Well, your stitches are all healing nicely along your torso, arms and right leg. The wound on your side from the metal shrapnel was infected but is healing quite well and shouldn’t be anything to worry about now” He sighed and continued, “Now... about your left leg Lieutenant. As you are very well aware of, you were shot twice. The bullet that was stuck in your leg was lodged in your femur and had to be surgically removed.
“There was enough force, however, to fracture your femur, it quite was a big fracture but luckily not actually broken. The other bullet that did go through all the way had damaged the hamstring portion of your adductor magnus-“
“My what? Dr Mitchell... I’m no doctor or someone who’s too familiar with clinical names of the anatomy... so please, for my sake... speak in English. Dumb it down a little for me” I interrupted Dr Mitchell. I was in no mood to listen to how much more doctors knew about how banged up I was and just wanted to know what the damage was so that I could work on fixing it.
“Of course. Sorry Lieutenant. Basically, the bullet went clean through and left a gaping hole that needed fixing up” he smiled at the bland way he explained it. “Both bullet wounds, including the fracture, will need a minimum of six months to heal then you have months of physical therapy after that to get back into the swing of things with your body” I nodded slowly and thought hard about what I’d just been told.
My recovery was going to takes months before I was even ready for physical therapy. What the hell was I going to do all that time?!
I ran and dove into the water with my surfboard clutched in both my hands and felt the cool salty water splash against my tanned skin. I smiled as I paddled my way deeper into the water and just let my mind clear and let my body feel free as I sat up on my board with one leg on either side with water up to my knees.
This was my favourite part of my day.
Sitting in the sea, bobbing up and down with the light waves as I watched the sun say good morning to the beach. This was the only time I really got to myself and I always made sure I cherished it as though it was my last day. Ever since I was a little girl I’d always loved the beach. Anything to do with it I instantly loved, whether it was the sea, the sand, the sea creatures or the little colourful shells that I used to string into necklaces.
I breathed in a deep breath and smelt the salt as the wind blew lightly on my face. “Good morning world” I greeted no one in particular before leaning down again to paddle towards the bigger waves.
As the waves began to build I turned my board around back at the shore and paddled faster and faster before heaving myself up and standing with my knees slightly bent as I rode the swell of water. The wind whipped my hair back and the smooth glide of my board over the mass of water kept my bright smile on my face until I was out of the waves.
I walked into Shell’s Gym, still smelling faintly like sea water even though I’d already showered and smiled at Naomi who was manning the reception desk. “Morning Mimi” I greeted her with a smile. She looked up and flicked her black fringe back from her face and greeted me back.
I walked into the gym that I was proud to call my own and silently congratulated myself on all the hard work that I’d gone through to finally pay off the mortgage of the building. No one understood why owning a gym would be a dream of mine, and I never told them the reason behind it.
It was barely past eight in the morning and yet there were the usual amounts of regulars that attended the gym, the majority of them running on the treadmills before they were off to their jobs. I loved my job as a personal trainer. I loved being able to help people reach their goals and become fitter and I gained plenty of clients because I made it my mission to make them feel comfortable as well as pushing them.
I was greeted by a few of the regulars who didn’t have ear phones plugged into their ears and made my way to my office, which was really just a room outside the locker room big enough to fit a desk, filing cabinet, a few chairs and closet. I didn’t really need to be in work until ten but I liked to take over some of the paper work from Naomi so I actually felt like I was running the gym, instead of just owning it.
I was thrilled to see that everyday there were more and more people wanting to join my gym instead of a rival gym and according to the little survey at the bottom of the contract for each client most were joining up because of good word from mouth advertisement. I did a little happy dance as best as I could while sitting down in my chair at the thought of clients telling their friends to join my gym.
“I’ll see you later Mimi, I’ve got a few personal training sessions in the park throughout the day so I’ll probably just catch you the next time you’re working” I smiled as I left the gym with my duffel bag full of gear flung over my shoulder.
Even though I loved my gym, I preferred to have my PT sessions out in the park or by the beach with my client unless they asked otherwise. I threw my bag on the backseat as I hopped into the car and began to drive to Macintosh Park.
I worked through my five sessions and finally was able to go home. It was the time of day where there was just enough sunlight to illuminate the roads but the trees were darkened into silhouettes by the side of the gravel. I parked outside my run down beach house that was left to me in my father’s will and walked inside practically dragging my bag behind me.
I tossed my bag to the side and flopped onto the sofa and listened to the low howl of the beach wind streaming through the little gaps in the side of the windows. My house had definitely seen better days.
It used to be painted an ocean blue and was sturdy as a house could really get, but it was old. It was originally built by my father’s grandfather and passed down through the generations only to land with me and practically falling apart. Having concentrated on paying off my mortgage with the gym, I didn’t have any spare cash lying around to have it fixed but I was hoping that that could change soon.
I was thankful that it wasn’t raining today, Lord knows I couldn’t be bothered setting up the eleven buckets up to catch the drips that passed through the ceiling. Even when it did rain, I no longer had to wait for the ceiling to start leaking to put the buckets down because I’d already memorized all the spots for every bucket to sit on.
It was pretty sad really...
My stomach growled and I groaned clenching my tummy through my baggy tank top. I forgot to buy food on the way home! I eventually hauled myself off the sofa and dragged my feet towards the fridge. I swung it open to look for something to eat and picked up a promising looking plate of leftover chicken. I sniffed it cautiously and grinned when it seemed fine. I heated it up and brought it over to the kitchen bench before digging into it like a starved lion.
After eating my bland dinner I took a long hot shower and fell into bed.
It was only nine o’clock but I felt exhausted. I really wasn’t one of those people who could stay up for hours. I was a morning person and enjoyed the stretch of time in the morning where it was a cross between night and day and most people were still tucked in bed.
As I closed my eyes I let the sound of the waves crashing against the sand fill my ears. Who needed to watch TV or listen to music constantly when there was the sweet sound of nature just outside the door? The ocean always calmed and relaxed me and whenever I was away from the beach at night I could never sleep properly. I could feel my eyes becoming heavy and my brain became a little fuzzy as the sweet waves outside my window lulled me to sleep.