“This is what you’ve got to work with.”
Amber stares at her hands. Scars. Hangnails. Forming wrinkles. She makes two fists to push out the emptiness from her palms. “It’s not enough, is it. It never is.” You’ll never be good enough. The words echo in her ears. The pain echoes in her legs, and Amber tries to tell herself that it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing to feel pain. It means that she’s still alive, that she’s still in one slightly wrecked piece.
“Amber, listen to me.”
At Krystal’s words, Amber’s shoulders tense. She looks up, as if jolted from a reverie. “Why are you still here? Go home. I know you’re tired.” Amber’s tired. Her shoulders ache and she can feel every twinge of muscle in her clenched tight fingers.
“Amber, you’ve got to snap out of this. You’re going to be okay. Okay?” Krystal’s long hair is starting to fall out of her meticulous braid. She brushes strands from her face and frowns at Amber, gaze thick and dark with worry.
Amber looks up at the ceiling. The long panel of fluorescent lighting buzzes off rhythm. Her heart keeps beating. The light is blinding but Amber knows all she’ll still be able to see the bright blood spilled on the pavement, the shattered glass of the headlight, even with her eyes closed.
“Amber, are you listening to me? It’ll take time, but they said you’ll be alright. You gotta hear me out, dammit!”
The crosswalk light kept beeping and flashing even when she was on the ground in the middle of the busy road, even when Amber’s legs wouldn’t move anymore and refused to carry her across to the other side. She felt like she was floating, even though she was on the ground, even before the paramedics picked her up and strapped her to a gurney.
“I hear ya.” She’s still floating, near the ceiling of the hospital room. Amber can feel the pain, but she’s floating above it somehow and somehow that makes it bearable.
“Do you,” Krystal murmurs, her voice softening as she pats Amber’s arm with awkward fingers.
“Yeah.” Amber hates the croaking sound her voice makes, but Krystal’s right. This body, as broken and wrecked as it as at present, is what she’s got to work with. And Amber’s going to make it work again, she’s going back to studio to dance with the best of them no matter how long rehab takes.
Amber sighs and pulls the blanket up over her shoulders. Just the thought of facing PT makes her want to crawl under the covers and lose herself to the drowsiness of the pain meds again, to shut out the world and it’s aches and it’s demands. But yeah, this is what she’s got to work with, and she’ll get better. Things will get better.
And even though they’re both exhausted, Amber is grateful she has Krystal to hold her hand at PT and yell at her to try harder when she wants to give up. Amber is grateful that she can still feel, that’s she’s still alive despite the pain. She smiles at Krystal, and Krystal holds her hand.
thesockmonster your turn!