Did you have a nice trip?

Ah, the things kids say. So funny but so mean. That was my childhood, at least. So long ago.

“Did you have a nice trip? See you next fall.”

I had a “nice” trip and then fell today while power walking. I am a bit beyond childhood. I was on my mid-morning brisk walk with my friend Sharon, racing to beat a storm that the university weatherman had called “tempestuous” and another T-word that I could easily recite this morning but have since forgotten, likely due to trauma. We didn’t notice the approaching storm until we’d left the office building and then high-tailed it around the pond, pausing a moment to delight in the baby alligator that has made its home there.

I was racing the storm on the sidewalk instead of the road because a car had passed and I wanted to be safe. Like too many sidewalks in this city, the sidewalk was uneven, and I caught my toe and went sprawling. All *** pounds of me. (Yeah. This is already humiliating enough; I’m not adding the actual number.) I was in a skirt.

Visions of my friend Robena, tripping on a like-minded sidewalk when we were running in the morning darkness a year ago, rushed through my head. Her multiple bounces on the sidewalk as she crash-landed. The broken tooth, the damaged knee and chin and hands. Prince in his noble steed (a car, not a horse) stopping after he saw the incident happen. Robena wondering why someone named Prince wasn’t wearing shining armor and riding a horse. Me relieved that she still had a sense of humor despite her misery.

Before I too crash-landed, these visions in mind, I fought the fall. Attempting to catch myself by lurching backwards, I think, and nearly avoiding the fall altogether. But I did fall, sprawled on hands and knees — but no scrapes, no bruises, just a wrenched back that I optimistically thought might have been moved into alignment rather than out.

(I made an appointment with the chiropractor anyway — but the office appears to be closed the next couple of days. So I’ll get a chance to see if I need a visit or not.)

My friend Sharon felt sorry for me. She tried to catch me. She helped me back up. She felt my pain as only a friend can. She knows that sometimes the injuries on the inside are worse that what is on the outside.

She has stopped by my office a few times this afternoon to make sure I am OK.

Surprisingly, externally, my crash landing is not apparent. Inside I feel my skeleton has readjusted, and I feel pain and stiffness threatening my lower back despite the three ibuprofen I swallowed when we returned to the office.

Still, I feel lucky. I know what might have been. I could have had injuries inside and out.

I also remember that 40 years ago, I would have gotten some scrapes, given no thought to my back at all, but been tormented by the friend who had seen the whole thing and said, “Have a nice trip? See you next fall.”

Older age isn’t all bad


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