Gran assured the hospital she could look after me
knee with a strange sort of boot thing to wear over it.
“Don’t put any weight on it for several weeks. We’ll X-ray it again,” I was told.
I was then issued with crutches.
“Is there someone who can look after you at home?”
I looked round. Gran was standing there next to my hospital bed. My fairy godmother. It wouldn’t have surprised me if she had been wearing tulle and carrying a wand.
“No. It’ll be too much for you,” I argued.
“Nonsense. You did a big shop yesterday, and there’s the village shop. You’re better with me than on your own in the flat. We’ll manage.”
Gran took me home and settled me on the sofa with books and magazines.
The doorbell rang. It was the doctor who had come when I fell. This time I registered dark brown eyes and high cheekbones under the mop of curly hair. I couldn’t remember his name. I’d been too woozy at the time to take anything in.
“Oh, er, hello,” I said. “Hello,” he said, cheerfully sticking out his hand again. He had a firm grip. “Home visit to check on the patient. Make sure she’s settled in comfortably.”
“Oh, fine. That is . . .” I thought about all the things I should be doing, and about Gran looking after me. “Fine-ish.”
“I’ll make some tea,” Gran said, disappearing out of the door.
My face coloured. can’t drive at the moment.” He nodded.
“So a few weeks, then?” I nodded again.
“Me, too. I’m filling in at the surgery while one of the others is on holiday. It’s a nice village, isn’t it? I’d love to get a permanent position somewhere like this.”
I blinked and looked out of the window. I loved the cottage but had never thought of the village as somewhere to live permanently. It was just where Gran lived and I visited.
“I suppose,” I said.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said and raised an arm. “I’ll see myself out.”
“The doctor seemed very nice,” I said when Gran came back into the room. “He’s coming tomorrow.”
“I’ve just made tea,” Gran said with a frown. “I thought he was staying. And I like old Doctor Merchant better. He wouldn’t rush off so quickly. More experience than that young whippersnapper.”
I tried out the crutches. They were uncomfortable and rubbed my arms, and were very tiring to use.
I wouldn’t be running any marathons any time soon, but at least the throbbing in my leg had stopped.
Each time I flopped back into the chair Gran bustled around, making sure I was comfortable and had books and a drink to hand. I think she was enjoying having me to wait on.
The following evening the doorbell rang. Gran was out in the garden so I limped slowly out to the hall to answer it. It was the doctor again. “Hello,” I said, wobbling slightly to keep my plastered leg up. “How’s the patient?” “Frustrated,” I said. “There’s so much I need to be doing.”
“And how’s your grandmother? It’s hard work looking after someone who doesn’t want to be looked after.”
He gazed at me for longer than was necessary and a current of heat rose up my face.
“Well, let’s see how you’re managing,” he said. I offered him some tea. “That would be nice,” he said. “I wasn’t particularly looking forward to going back to my digs.”
I hopped into the kitchen and he followed me. The effort of moving exhausted me and I slumped down in a chair.
“I’ll do it,” he said, so I directed him to the mugs and the teapot. We sat and talked. He told me how he was looking for a permanent position.
His shoulders slumped and he grimaced as he said it.
“You can stay for dinner if you don’t mind spaghetti.” Gran’s voice came from the other side of the door.
My face coloured. Had she been out there listening to our conversation all the time? I’d thought she was in the garden.
I saw him hesitate and my heart raced. What had Gran done? How embarrassing for him.
“Of course you don’t –” I began.
“That would be lov –” We both spoke together and then laughed.
“I wanted to ask you if you’d come out for a drink but I know how crowded the pub gets and that’s not easy with crutches,” he said.
Gran came into the room and smiled at us both.
She laid six courgettes and some thyme and rosemary on the table.