Someone To You
So far, I’ve managed not to make anyone angry this week. Everyone here has been in a good mood and I have been fully cooperating for once, it’s nice!
The only person who seems preoccupied and anxious this week is Charlotte.
Ever since I asked her to accompany me to England for the gala, she’s been in a rare mood. I’ve never seen her get upset or impatient with anyone until this week.
It’s not that she doesn’t want to talk about the gala, it’s more like she asks questions about it and when I answer them, she gets all worked up.
She goes on and on about how everyone that will be there is famous... how all the women will be in gorgeous dresses that she can’t even afford...
I chuckle at her when she says those things, but she glares at me and walks away. I don’t like that she feels that way, that she feels so inferior to people whose jobs are acting on film. Because of the media and paparazzi, movie stars are portrayed as perfect, beautiful, flawless beings, who people like Charlotte only dream of meeting. Never mind attending a gala with!
Charlotte has nothing to worry about though. She’s as beautiful as any other actress who will be there. Everyone gravitates to her uniquely caring personality, and Mark and I will be there to keep her company. Hopefully by next weekend I can convince her that everything will be fine. I’m the one who’s nervous about being the movie star in a wheelchair, nervous about how hard it will be to travel in a chair, how I’m not looking forward to facing Emma again.
Most of my therapy was in the pool this week. Charlotte thought it would be a good idea for me to walk without braces in the pool instead of in the gym. It has been frustrating getting my left leg to take any successful steps without collapsing, even with the water surrounding me. Since Charlotte was already in a bad mood, I refrained from showing any of my emotions.
“We are going to walk at least 10 steps today, even if it takes all day in here”, she tells me.
“That’s not a very reasonable expectation”, I sarcastically respond.
I’m holding onto her shoulders to support part of my weight...well really just my right arm is supporting my weight, my left hand is only resting on her shoulder and she’s holding my hips. My balance is much better when I’m in the pool that she only tightens her grip on me when I take a step.
I’ve tried stepping with my right leg first and I’ve tried stepping with my left leg first, either way it doesn’t make any difference, I have to put my weight on my left and my leg always gives out. Luckily, my right leg is quite strong now and I’m able to place all my weight on that leg without falling over when I’m in the pool.
Charlotte looks just as frustrated as I do, and I hear her sighing when I fall towards my left.
She looks embarrassed when she notices I hear her sigh and quickly says, “I’m sorry. I’m not frustrated with you Levi, I’m upset that I haven’t figured out a successful way to help you with your left side yet”, she admits.
“It’s not your fault Charlotte, we are both trying here... maybe my left side will never work the way we want it to”, my voice heavy as I come to terms with this possibility.
“I don’t believe that”, she retorts.
She then slowly reaches up and grabs my left hand, slowly moves herself to stand by my left side and wraps my left arm around the back of her neck and over her left shoulder, keeping hold of my hand with hers. Her right arm now firmly wrapped around my lower back and her hand grasping my right side. We are attached to each other side by side now, her supporting my left side like a crutch.
I look at her with curiosity, “What are you doing”, I ask.
“I’m not sure yet, but let’s give it a try”, she says.
“Take a step with your left when I step”, she instructs.
I start doing like she says, and we start walking together. My left leg still giving out but I’m not losing my balance and falling over while we are holding on to each other like this.
She lets out a “Hmm”, and then smiles, so we continue walking this way until we make it all the way across to the other side of the pool.
“This doesn’t fix your left side, but while we keep working on getting that side stronger, we can keep practicing walking this way... if you’re ok with this?“, she asks me.
“Yeah of course”, I happily answer.
“This way does feel much easier”, I add.
After lunch Charlotte meets me back in my room. I’m sitting on the side of my bed when she arrives, carrying one of my leg braces and one forearm crutch.
I look at her curious as to what her next plan is.
“So, I thought we could try walking together but with your left leg brace on to keep your leg straight, and we can try having you use the crutch with your right arm for extra support”, she says to me.
“Ok, yeah”, is all I say.
She attaches my leg brace to my left leg and then sits down beside me on the bed. Suddenly she takes in a deep breath and lets out a long sigh before putting her head down and whispering, ” I don’t belong at the gala... I’m not famous or important, I’m nobody compared to everyone who will be there”.
This time I’m the one placing my fingers under her chin, lifting her head up to look at me. Her beautiful eyes glassy like she’s holding back tears.
It’s my turn to comfort her and let her know how important she is to me. I place my palms gently on both sides of her face so she can’t turn away from me and I say with the most soothing tone,” You are someone to me”.
She blinks her eyes shut then opens them again to look at me one more time before she leans her head onto my shoulder. The only thing I can think to do in this moment is lean my head down and give her a small kiss on her head.
I’m falling for this remarkable girl and it’s killing me inside trying to refrain from grabbing her into my arms and holding her.
This mutual uncharted territory we’ve entered abruptly ends when she wraps my left arm around her shoulder and her right arm around my waist then stands me up.
It’s not as easy to balance as it is when I’m in the pool, but Charlotte’s grip around the back of my waist keeps me steady.
" Use the right crutch to put some of your weight on as we walk”, she tells me.
With my left leg brace on keeping my leg from giving out when I step, using the right crutch and the way I’m connected to Charlotte, makes it so much easier to walk. For the first time in a long time, I feel like this will all work out.
We walk together at a steady pace towards the front lobby.
“Should we head out the door so the paparazzi can take pictures of this and write stories about us?“, I joke with her.
She starts laughing back at me then goes silent, abruptly stopping us in our tracks. I turn to her, wondering what’s wrong. Her eyes are wide staring straight ahead and her mouth open like she’s in shock. Before I turn my head again to see what she’s looking at, I hear a familiar voice say, ” Hello Levi! I’ve missed you”.
I whip my head around, my eyes focused on the tall blonde walking through the door. I swear Charlotte and I are wearing matching expressions and I start coughing as I try to speak,