You have 4 free member-only stories remaining for the month. Subscribe now for unlimited access

Can I Let Her See the Messy Side of Me?

Balancing my crutches beside me, I had just managed to lean my waist against the sink in a way that would allow me to work on the dishes, when the phone in my back pocket started buzzing. Sighing, I reached back and felt a bone-scraping pain run up my leg as a toe pressed into the cold floor. It had taken on too much weight in the shift required to answer the call while holding onto crutches that were suddenly slipping out of reach.

“Are you resting?” she asked.

“Yes?” It wasn’t my most convincing lie. I’d drawn out the word a bit too much while trying to get my crutches back into place. The phone had nearly fallen into the sink in the process.

“If I talk to you on the phone for a while, will that make you rest? You can lay down on the couch and put the phone on speaker.”

“I really need to get some of these dishes done. They’re piling up. I can’t cook dinner without any clean pans.”

“There’s no way you’re doing dishes and cooking dinner. The doctor told you to rest as much as possible.”

“That’s just what the second doctor said. The first doctor said to walk as much as possible.”

“The first doctor didn’t know the bone was broken like a flower. You didn’t complain enough to get an x-ray.” I could hear the exasperated edge in her voice.

“Well, I don’t know what to do. I need to eat.”

“Can I wash the dishes for you and make dinner?” she asked.

Shocked, I didn’t know what to say. She lived an hour away and had never even been to my apartment. I felt my face burning and it felt like a little humming bird was trying to beat its way out of my chest. “My apartment is a wreck. I’d be too embarrassed. Besides, it’s such a long drive andβ€Š-β€Š”

“I’m coming over now. It’ll take about an hour and a half to get there. I need to get some groceries to cook with after I finish the dishes. Are you okay with not eating for a few hours? I’ll bring some snacks to tide you over.”

“You really don’t have to this,” I said feebly. My hands were shaking.

“Lay down on the couch. I’m on my way. Just don’t hurt yourself. I’ll text you an ETA when I get out of the grocery store.”

“Okay. Thank you,” I whispered. After we hung up and I’d managed to work my way to the couch, I just sat in silence. The warmth in my chest was uncomfortable. I hadn’t let anyone see the truly messy side of me in many years.

Recommended3 Simily SnapsPublished in Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, LGBTQ+, Romance