While I had nodded off, the toe bled out a little more, depositing even more gruesome stains on the baby blue towel Michael had put over the bedspread. It looked like the drop-cloth from a crime scene, one that involved knives, gun play, and a guy with Ray Bans who called himself ‘H’. My mother, of coarse, was freaking out. Before I was fully awake, she reached over to try and touch my foot, and I jumped sky high, scaring me and her equally.
“DON’T TOUCH IT!” I screamed. Halfway across the room at this point, she put her hand over her heart,her mouth open in a little ‘o’.
“Well, for crying out loud! How am I supposed to help you if I can’t see what’s going on?” she said, offended.
“What’s going on is that my toenail is cracked in half, and I don’t even think I can walk!” I retorted.
“How did it happen?” she asked. She squinted her eyes down, and looked at me in what I felt was a suspicious manner.
“I was running and I fell” I answered.
“Running?” she asked, incredulously “Since when are you running?”
“I RUN!” I said, “I run a lot!”
“Oh, pssht!” she said, nodding her head back and forth, and throwing her hand as though swatting a fly “Walk: Yes! Ride your bike? Yes! Get in cars you’re not supposed to? Yes. But run?”
I felt defensive and insulted. Probably because she was right. Running would make my boobs bounce, and I wouldn’t do it in public except when required. Like in gym, or if the house was on fire, or if Joe Perry was at the end of the street. Oh-and also if I thought the cops were invading our secret hang-out while pot was being smoked.
“Well!…..I guess I won’t be running anymore, anyway- now that I’m ruined!” I said, dejectedly.
My mom rolled her eyes, shook her head and said unsteadily- “Oh, for heaven’s sake- you’re not ruined!” but when she looked in the general direction of my foot she added, “I don’t think!”
I gasped. She sighed.
“Let me go get my glasses!” she said,sounding put out and I understood she meant her regular reading glasses, not the Jackie O’s she was now grasping in her hand. I knew she was more worried than she was letting on.
“OK… I guess” I said, dejectedly. Now that mom was here I could be as pathetic as I wanted to, and use the sympathy I was going to get to my own advantage. Even so, looking down at my battered toe, I knew I’d be paying a disproportionately high price for a little extra attention.
“Can you flick my stereo on, please?” I asked, pouting. She pushed the power button, and my Realistic’s dash lit up in green and gold. ‘Fooled around and Fell In Love’ was playing. It struck me that I’d fooled around and fell on a log. My mom left to find her glasses.
When she came back into my room, she was adjusting her readers forcefully, really jamming them up against her eyes.
“Ok, now!” she said, approaching the bed “Hold still and let me look. I won’t touch it.” She slowly leaned over, hovering above my foot. She cleared her throat,glanced at me, then bent further down. I was wide eyed and ready to spring at the slightest touch. Within a split second (and as predicted) things went haywire. My mother’s reading glasses skied down her nose, then swooped down dead man’s drop, heading straight for my toe. Luckily, because of my inborn mistrust of people in general, I had expected some sort of disaster, and was poised to abort the mission. My leg snapped back with the velocity of a mousetrap. The reading glasses landed with a thud, where my toe had just been.
“That’s it! Nope! Not doing this!” I yelled, my leg pressed up against my wall, jazz hands flailing, blocking my mother’s access.
She knew she was wrong, but after she swept up her glasses and tsk, tsked, she folded her arms across her chest, rolling her tongue against her cheek,and tapping her foot against the floor. Like I had committed the dangerous faux-pas!
“This isn’t very funny, young lady!’ she admonished “You’re making me a nervous wreck! Now let me look at the damn thing!”
“Funny? Who the heck’s laughing? You almost killed me” I screeched “Please just leave me alone! Do it later!”
“Let me look without my glasses. Then I’ll leave”
The ‘thinking cap’ music from jeopardy played, while I squinted my eyes down and considered the risk. I knew I’d be nagged to death until I showed her. That would almost be as brutal as the injury.
” ALRIGHT. But hurry uuuuup?!” I moaned. Ding ding ding!
I offered up my leg gingerly. She got up close and personal. Her hand went up over her mouth, and the color drained from her face. She looked away quickly.
“Come on. Get in the car. We’re going to the Emergency Room” she said, and I hated how serious she sounded. Maybe I really was going to become disabled, or lose my toe! I actually felt scared.