Yoharie: Inside (part two)
“So, your foot is a complicated appendage. Each toe, even your pinky toe, is sending signals, by its own neural pathway, to the brain. And your brain uses all that information to orient itself in space. It doesn’t like what it has to learn when the nerves that should be gathering intelligence aren’t supplying it, while, if you get me, the brain is basically doing its same job. Like if you put on mittens, or boxing gloves, and tried to type on a keyboard. Now, Mr. Yoharie. We talked about your Christmas trip. We need to talk more.”
They were in her office; she had toured him through the equipment he might be working on. Yoharie hoped for Dawn, her grocery errand run, back to handle the stuff about insurance. She would think to ask, where he would not.
He was on the edge of giving up, his spine hostile already to the whole proposal. “Well, shoot. I mean, shoot me a thing you gotta know.”
“It’s the end of June…so you’re basically giving yourself five months. Five months seems like a long time, but we only meet twice a week.” She leaned, gentled her voice. “Two limbs. One workable knee. Well! Tell me something about the last time you tried this.”
“I never tried it. I got fitted. Not to buy an actual pair of legs, just to learn me what the nuts and bolts were.”
“So, you’ve been a wheelchair user since the time of the accident.”
“Only…” Yoharie found himself redfaced, like the confession was dirty. “I watch on YouTube. To find out what people do, how they get themselves going.”
“A double amputee can walk. Yes, certainly. A young patient, or an athletic patient…”
“But a fat old fart patient?”
“I don’t think it’s the nuts and bolts we’ll concern ourselves with. You told me you want to see your uncle… It’s a family trip, a way to have a quality experience with your son and daughter.”
“And their boyfriends. My son is gay.” He was saying this for the first time.
“Well. I think we should do the work. But within the timeframe, you will still be using a chair.”
Dawn got there, and with a professional’s opinion seconding hers, broached his rotten diet. Yoharie’s first session, to test the limits of strength and pain, loomed now on the schedule. His pain to determine whether his therapist talked to her husband about medication.
On the ride home Yoharie brooded. Inflicting himself gaga on his kids… And who knew the answer? Maybe the heavy shit stopped you telling that about yourself.
He elbowed Dawn. “I’m off the hook, you heard her. You’re out of luck, babe. With the lettuce.”
“I heard her say Dr. Allen could schedule you with a nutritionist, but it could wait until after the holidays. You know what? When you have to use those handhold thingies to hoist your own weight…”
“I got no problem with it. I do that every day.”
“Oh, please, it’s not the same. Rolling out of bed is what you do.”
He admitted to himself that all this good in his life was making him melancholy. Yoharie adjusted his bed to a firmer sit, looked at some goldfinches… They were picking at pink flowers, waiting in pots for Sasha and Val to come plant them. Giarma in aid of a wildflower group, telling her dad she felt obligated—
“Not that many things for fifty dollars! But poor Alison, only a handful of people at her sale, too…”
Had bought these. The pink, and some yellow ones, strong. Others, clayey little scraps, in butter tubs. He didn’t get it. Alison was someone dead, that was all he’d gleaned. But his daughter could feel she had let down a dead person.
He was at fault. It was hard to love his birds today. He had hand weights, and his shoulders creaked, opposing them. He wanted some cheesy garlic bread, didn’t want to cajole Dawn into stopping for it, or coming home sooner than she might want. Even this thought rebuked. The number of times he had phoned her when she was out, like errands were the only reason, and maybe she wouldn’t need a few hours alone.
“Doggo, I’m a selfish son of a bitch.”
Beatty, nosing the door, stretched grinning jaws, and eyed aside, as he did when his master was closing.
Soon to wrangle at the collar, saying, “Go home! Go sit! Sit! All right, jeez, just don’t be in the way!”
Yoharie touched the button, on the remote that made the door shudder, clack, and swing.
“Get in here and don’t say a word,” he told the dog.
For a peaceful fifteen or twenty minutes, he rubbed Beatty’s ears, and his own caught no stirring of Hibbler. Giarma, at least, would be on her Dad’s page with this stunt, or trick, or what-have-you, life liked to play. You set out to do a positive thing, planning in your head how it would go. You found out it couldn’t happen that way.
But you were stuck obligated, and had to see it through. A couple of his marriages…
“If I do good in Florida, Beatty, maybe they’ll let me have a dog.”
The dog jumped to his feet, with a nervy whine.
(2021, Stephanie Foster)