Wow this place really is beautiful! Peaceful, and no one seems to bother with us, which makes it even better.
I can’t believe Charlotte brought me here, she manages to surprise me with something new every day, usually I’m too angry at the world to always notice. I have been stuck at rehab for months...of course Charlotte would do something like this for me... one of her many distractions she calls them. This is definitely her best idea of a distraction so far.
I look over to her, she looks so content walking next to me, holding my hand. I almost forget that I am not actually walking with her, but it almost feels like it. She’s not standing in back pushing me, or walking ahead because she thinks I’m too slow, instead she’s keeping with my pace gently squeezing my hand to let me know she’s with me. She makes me feel somewhat normal. It’s astonishing really.
The carriage paths are wide and flat, making it easy for us to enjoy. It doesn’t feel like we are right outside the city. It’s quiet here, we are surrounded by trees, marshes, and wildlife. It’s incredible!
“Whoa!... look over there, there are two deer!“, I nudge at Charlotte.
" Look at them, they don’t even mind that we’re here”, I say with surprise.
I have never actually been up close to any deer before, I thought they’d run away as we got closer, but it appears we are no bother to them.
There are so many different birds I have never seen before either.
" That one looks sort of like you”, I tease Charlotte.
" Hahaha.... well, that one looks a lot like you”, she laughs back, pointing to a bird who looks like it has a mohawk on top of its head.
I laugh back, ” Touché. ”
Not much longer and we get to an open grassy area off the path. Charlotte grins ear to ear then says, “This is a perfect spot to have lunch”.
“Wow! this is nice”, I admit back.
From this spot we have a hella view of Hingham harbor and the Boston skyline. It’s almost like looking at a painting.
Charlotte places a blanket down on the grass and takes a few containers out of the backpack.
I look at the blanket on the ground, not sure if I like the idea of her trying get me to sit on it.
" What are you doing?” I ask her, my voice clearly disappointed.
" We are going to sit here and have lunch while enjoying this beautiful view”, she confidently states.
“How are you going to get me back in the chair again after?” I ask, making it known that I am starting to feel on edge.
She walks over and stands directly in front of me. Facing me, she bends down, places her hands on my shoulders and tries to convince me that everything will be fine.
" We will figure that part out when it’s time”, she says with a smirk.
I just sit there frozen for a moment then look around to see if anyone is watching us.
“Levi are you ok?“, she asks me.
When I nod, she goes to my left side, takes my left arm, and wraps it around her shoulder then wraps her right arm around the back of my waist, supporting me. I help her by using my right arm and leg to push up from the chair and sit down onto the blanket.
" See that wasn’t so bad”, she remarks.
" I guess not”, I say back.
I sit, leaning on my right arm for support and watch her take out a few sandwiches and drinks, placing them in front of us then feel her inching her body closer to me.
All the sudden a grape hit me square in the forehead.
" Earth to Levi!” she giggles.
She is holding a bag of grapes in her hand, preparing to throw another one at me.
Without any thought, she puts her right arm around my back, her hand gripping my side so I can sit up and eat. I quickly snatch the bag and toss a grape at her, but she catches it in her mouth.
" Oh, I see how it is now Charlie”, I try joking around with her.
" Charlie huh? I thought you only referred to me as Charlotte?“, she smiles, and I just shrug my shoulders and laugh.
We continued bantering back and forth while we ate lunch. For the first time since my accident, I finally feel a bit like myself. Charlotte not even phased that she’s had her arm around me the last hour, keeping me from losing my balance while we just sit here laughing about random stuff. The sound of her laugh amuses me. She is funny when she’s not all stressed out trying to fix me.
I don’t remember the last time I laughed like this with Emma. Emma would have never taken me to a place like this, nor let me joke around with her. She usually takes offense to everything.
“This view really is amazing”, Charlotte says with all seriousness.
“Yes. It sure is”, I reply.
I really want to tell her it is her who is amazing.
I can’t tell her that though, I don’t know what to make of any of this. Does she care about all her patients like she seems to care about me? Does she pull them out of the darkness and kiss them on the forehead when they are just about to fall apart? Who am I kidding, why would I think she could ever want someone who is paralyzed? She is surrounded by people like me every day, trying to fix us. I try to remind myself she is just my therapist, but I can’t, to me she is so much more.
It’s starting to get late she tells me. That is our cue to get back in the chair. Surprisingly, this time we manage to get me up into the chair without me panicking. Ok, I can handle this, I think.
We talked the entire way back that it felt like only seconds passed until we reached the jeep. I admit, my height and her lack of made it difficult to get up into the passenger seat, but we survived, and no one was around watching us.
Halfway through our journey back to Boston I feel a sharp pain shoot through my left arm, and it starts to spasm. I clench my jaw hoping to avert the pain and grasp my left arm with my right to massage it. I look out the window while trying to calmly massage my arm, praying Charlotte doesn’t notice. Why the fuck is this happening right now? Is my left side always going to do this? I do not want her worrying about me again after the perfect afternoon we had.
Too late... she reaches over and grabs my left hand, pulling my arm over towards her and resting it on the middle console, then gently laces her fingers with mine.
" Just breathe”, she says softly.
It doesn’t make the spasm go away but her hand holding mine does relieve most of the pain. I can’t help but stare at her and wonder.
" Charlotte, can I ask you something?”
" We’re back to Charlotte now... this must be serious”, she grins, trying to lighten my mood.
“Do you think it will ever get easier?... I know I will never be the same again, but will it get easier?” I ask her.
She takes a deep breath in before speaking, ” It will get harder before it gets easier, but I promise it will get easier, you just have to make it through the hard stuff first”, she peers over at me briefly and squeezes my hand.
I want to believe her, I really do. All I do know is that I will not be able to get through any of this without her.