I like snow. When it’s falling outside my window, lit by street lamps and I’m inside, curled up with a book and hot chocolate, I love snow. When I’m out in snow being pulled backwards and neither eight years old nor on a sled, I turn into a bitch.
We went out to run Christmas/birthday errands on Saturday, before heading to a Christmas party. We got two feet away from the front door and my front wheels caught some gray slush.
‘OK, whose damn bright idea was this?’
‘Yours,’ said Sarge.
Sarge pulled me backwards through the snow. I tried not to get motion sickness and actually tried to enjoy the moment. Before we left the house, I bent down to get something off the floor and pulled several muscles in my back. Pulling muscles is an annual event for me. Like Christmas. Not really.
I don’t usually take pain-killers, either. When I think I’m in pain, I remember being a kid who got her hips surgically broken and put back together. The same kid who got all her leg muscles lengthened and walked laps two days later. I think of her, and then I suck it up. My pill-popping is reserved for The Annual Back Outage. I popped two before we went out on Saturday.
And so, I was in the snow, trying to hold off spasms. Backwards. But I was in love. In the snow. Off to get presents and see friends. Got to be a good story in there somewhere.
We got on the bus to the zoo. Yes, we buy presents at the zoo. No, we don’t bring real animals home. Although I’m sure Sarge would like to spring the penguins.
It was the longest bus journey of my life. ‘If that woman says one more thing, I’ll tell her to shut up,’ I said. Pain and stupidity make me vocal.
We arrived at the zoo, and went backwards up the hill to the entrance. A path had been cleared, just wide enough for pedestrians. I went outside the lines and made tire tracks. Sarge said something about ‘one more inch.’
‘Honey, don’t be silly. Wheelchair-users aren’t supposed to leave their houses. We stay in all the time and don’t even put shoes on. That’s why I’ve got chilblains.’
We were in and out of the zoo gift shop within ten minutes. No, I didn’t get thrown out for leaving slushy tire tracks everywhere. It was closing.
On the way to dinner I snapped a photo. We had Indian food and probably stayed in the warm restaurant longer than we should have.
Now. I have this personal rule that if there are friends and booze upstairs in a building with no lift, I’ll walk up the stairs. Even three flights of stairs. I was psyching myself up to make good on my rule on the way to the party.
I grabbed onto the banister, gave Sarge my arm, and up we went. We were getting into the rhythm of it. And then I did something bad. I stopped. I may have laughed. I kissed Sarge. And my back may have seized up. There is a lesson in there. Don’t stop. And definitely don’t stop kissing.
I had to sit down. Right there on the stairs. The chair was carried over my head, by a friend following us up. I sat down and looked at Sarge. ‘What’s the look?’ I asked.
‘I’m just wondering what I’ll do to make this up to you.’
My heart flipped. Twice.
‘Oh, I can think of a few things,’ I said.
And then I started to do something I’ve done since I was kid. I went up the stairs on my butt, thankful I was wearing jeans and not leggings.
This is how I made it to the top. I’ve always been resourceful.
‘At least we have another story to the grandkids someday,’ said Sarge. My heart flipped. Three times.
‘What? About the year Grandma actually hauled ass up the stairs?’
‘I like it.’
And then we went in for mulled cider, conversation and pain-killers for me. We slept in the spare room after the party. Because I wasn’t doing the stairs again so soon.
I actually walked down the stairs the next day, and my French toast brunch was the best I’d ever had.
When we got home, Sarge went out for more pain-killers. CJ was very confused when we left the flat again. This time to go to a friend’s birthday.
Dinner was at an Italian restaurant. Growing up, Italian food was just food to me. My ultimate comfort food. Forgive me for thinking the canoli I had for dessert was actually cosmically ordered by my Nana. That’s my kind of pain-killer. Thanks, Nana. And thank you for that kiss on the stairs, Sarge.