I woke up in the hospital to find Luke sat patiently in the visitor’s chair by my bed, chatting to the old woman in the next cubicle. He was surprisingly unsympathetic and treated my accident very matter-of-factly, asking how soon I would be discharged from A&E as though he was there to collect me from the dentists after a check-up or from the salon after a haircut. His indifference to my injuries scared me a little, so I was grateful that it was my mum who came to collect me on my discharge day.
I lay in bed at my parent’s house with my right arm in a bright pink fibreglass cast and my laptop balanced on my knees, checking my emails and replying to all the well wishes that I had received from my fellow students at University. Although I was very uncomfortable, tired and in pain, it was the first time in months that I was truly alone and able to relax. But within only a few days of arriving home, my inbox started to fill with emails from Luke asking when he could see me. I ignored them at first, but when his tone became very irritated and persistent I replied with a short email explaining that it was very difficult to meet him in my current state, especially since mum was constantly watching over me, but promising that I would speak with him in the New Year. The insistence in his emails concerned me a little and I started to wonder why he needed to see me so urgently.
The Christmas celebrations were understandably muted this year. I felt very unwell throughout the festive celebrations and dad persistently asked questions about the circumstances of my accident (I told him that I had got drunk with friends and it was an innocent accident). A concoction of penicillin and painkillers knocked me out for most of Christmas Day and I slept for the entire afternoon (after gagging repeatedly on a beautiful Christmas dinner!).
On New Year’s Eve I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to see Luke. I don’t know whether it was the whole ‘new beginning’ ambience of New Year or just the fact that we like to have those we love close to us at that time, but it was as though he had a direct number into my brain and he was ringing it like a mobile phone every minute of the day. Although I thought about him constantly, I was afraid to contact him because he had behaved so oddly in the hospital. As fond as I am of Luke, he does have a tendency to become distant and cold at times and he can be quite intimidating when gets fixed in that mindset. But, apprehensions aside, I really needed to be in his presence. I needed his strength. His reassurance.
Mum came to live with me for a while until I had my cast removed, which was very sweet of her. She left when I told her that Amber was moving in and she would take over mum’s ‘care duties’. But the truth is that Amber didn’t move in. Luke did. The very afternoon that she left he arrived with his bags and started to unpack. It was a strange situation and I wasn’t sure how to interpret our new relationship. Were we a bone-fide couple now? Or was he just keeping a close eye on me to make sure that I didn’t do anything silly again? It has taken some time to get used to having him living with me, but he has been very supportive and useful to have around, although I fear that I am becoming too dependant on him. I bother him all the time, asking silly questions and constantly looking for reassurance. He is patient most of the time, but sometimes he snaps at me like a domineering father. Thankfully he always apologises afterwards so there is never any awkwardness between us. Having said that, I have noticed that his manner has become very ‘professional’. It feels as though he is guarding me rather than living with me, as though has been entrusted with my care and poised on tenterhooks for something unexpected to happen.
But I am happy to tolerate his current volatile, agitated state because I don’t quite know what to expect either. I’ve seen the films and read the books and if they are to be believed then I should be wracked with pain and guilt by now, but apart from an excruciating pain in my arm and a constant feeling of nausea I feel pretty ok. Occasionally I feel a little down and depressed, but the doctor’s tell me that this is a natural reaction to my injuries and it won’t last for long. I describe every strange pain and sensation to Luke in the hope that my body might be showing signs of change, but he is insistent that I should rid myself of any preconceived ideas of transformative processes. He tells me that ‘the largest part of the work is already done’, it is still early days and the medication is giving me an artificial reality at the moment so I should prepare myself for a bumpy ride over the next few months. If truth be told I’m very excited and very apprehensive at the same time. It’s an odd mix of emotion, a little, I expect, like the emotions experienced upon finding out that you’re pregnant.
I am, however, certain of one thing; I’m determined not to become one of those whiny, faux-accented, melancholy types. I intend to preserve as much of my former self as possible and I have no desire whatsoever to be forced into an uncomfortable stereotype just to fulfil a few teenage wet dreams. I will embrace whatever happens and let nature will take its course, however unnaturally that may be…