This is a short story I wrote for my creative class back in 2014. It’s called Healing. By Michael Robert Lado.
Robbie Becker limped slowly through the door of his employer’s building as he sighed. His employer had office hours that day which unfortunately meant he was going to have to interact with people. Robbie stamped his wet boots on the doormat just inside the building.
He winced in pain and silently cursed himself as his lame leg throbbed in pain. Grunting through the pain, Robbie took of his beanie, and silently strode back to the corner of the building, he called work. The library; he quickly ducked into, what was essentially a closet with bookshelves a cramped desk, and chair.
Robbie shut the door and turned on the light, and began to undress himself. He removed his peacoat, and popover. Christmas was rapidly approaching, and he wasn’t at least bit in ready, or happy like most people. Robbie pulled out his laptop and set it down on the desk. He paused as he felt his maimed leg throbbing in pain again. It would be exactly the one year anniversary since it happened.
Robbie, fearful of having some kind of flashback quickly pushed away the memories. He pulled out a bottle of Aspirin from his book bag and limped slowly to the kitchenette. Once at the kitchenette, Robbie made himself a cup of tea. He slowly sipped the hot liquid while downing two of his Aspirins.
His leg throbbed again this time with a sharp pain shooting up from his frail foot making its way through the sensitive regenerating neurons on his left leg. Robbie pulled himself into a padded chair just outside the kitchenette. Slowly, the frail boy lifted up his pants leg. It came easily because his left leg was very thin and malnourished from the attack the previous year.
It was just then Robbie realized how horrible his left leg looked. His good right leg was thick with muscle and well developed from his time in outreach on urban streets of America. It was tanned and had a healthy complexion to it. There were only tiny scars from the scraps and cuts received from when he had been molested and burned. Robbie’s eyes turned to his left maimed leg.
It was severely thin and emaciated with scars which ran the length of his leg. Most were large from knife wounds. But there were some small scars. There large patches of black and blue marks up and down all over the skin surface of the leg; most of his leg was black and blue.
The leg was severely emaciated. It had a ghostly white and frail complexion to it in the areas that weren’t bruised or scarred. The scars themselves were bright red, and slightly raised on his the skin. Robbie felt the pain subside now that he was off his feet. Robbie slowly moved his shaking hands down to his frail leg. He slowly started with his thighs as he slowly moved one hand on each side of the leg, and made little rubbing circles with his fingers.
Robbie sighed with relief as the damaged and regenerating neurons in his leg let off little whines and electrical zings of relief and pleasure as he gently massaged his emaciated shell of a leg. This was a familiar routine. Often times when Robbie walked on his leg the pain would be too much to bear, he would have to stop, and sit down. Then he would have to nurse his leg for ten minutes or more before he could even attempt to stand again.
His leg and current mental health challenges that were the product of his former life in homeless outreach which was cut short by an attack. As a result he was dumped into an emergency room after his own employer cut him off. With no insurance to pay for treatment, he was stabilized, and sent home without any kind of physical or occupational therapy.
Robbie sniffled as he moved his hands down to his lower leg and foot where the most damage was. Once again he felt a sense of needed relief as his abused leg sent impulses of appreciation up to his brain. Robbie moved back to the top again and repeated the motion over, and over again until he felt the last of the pain in his throbbing leg die.
Robbie then braced the chair with both hands and slowly rose. Afraid to even put the slightest pressure on his leg Robbie jumped down back to his office on his one good leg; something he had become quite adapt at.
Robbie got to his desk, and opened a case and pulled out his folding crutches, and snapped them open. Robbie sighed miserably “Well it looks like I’m walking with you guys again today.” Robbie heard the back door to the Church open. It was Mr. Davies the executive director of their nonprofit. Robbie always knew that the caretaker, Phil left the building open for him early.
Robbie secured the joints on his crutches and began to make his way to greet the man. Robbie had mixed feelings about the Pastor. He was an incredibly compassionate leader. And he had been a big advocate for Robbie since the attack. But sadly Robbie deep down wanted to be viewed by everyone as just as capable as the next person. He wanted to be viewed with dignity and not the object of pity.
But no one saw him as that. They saw him as someone deserving of pity, compassion, and sorrow. Robbie was damaged, physically and mentally. Robbie arrived at the director’s office. Davies smiled weakly “Hey Robbie is your leg giving you trouble today?”
Robbie nodded “Yeah it hurts again today.”
“Have you seen Dr. Thomas lately? Or how about thinking about some physical therapy?”
Robbie shook his head “No, he gave me a referral, and I went up to Pottsville to get it checked and they said the damage was done. It’s permanent. They said I would probably do better with Pain Management and Wound Care.”
Davies smiled weakly “Well I think you should follow through with their advice. You have a wonderful health plan which you’re a part of. I’d like you to see someone about that leg. Dr. Thomas is not a specialist. He’s a family doc. You need to see a specialist Robbie.”
Robbie nodded meekly. Davies continued “How’s the new e-book system coming along?”
Robbie smiled; a rare moment “It’s going well. The licensing fees are affordable, and we practically get every book that’s been released electronically. The setup is easy to navigate, and the DRM software is impeccable.”
“Well that’s good; when will it be ready for the Church?” Davies asked.
Robbie shook his dead “I haven’t gotten to putting the program on all the computers. We bought a license for four computers. Since we have two computers open for our members who don’t have them I figured I’d put the program on those two, in the library.”
“Sounds good Robbie; carry on.”
Robbie moved himself back to his office. When he arrived he heard his phone going off. Robbie dug through his backpack and pulled out his Droid smartphone. It was an event reminder: Meeting old barn 8:30 A.M.
Robbie shook his head “I don’t remember anything about a meeting at the old farm?” Robbie tried to remember as he sat down. “It’s thirty degrees out and someone has a meeting with me there?!”
Carefully Robbie mounted his crutches and strode out of the Church. The old farm was a piece of land adjacent to the Church that was donated in a will by a long time Church member. A neighboring farmer tilled the land, but the farmhouse remained unused although it was still furnished.
Robbie winced as he carefully took the rocky path that led away from the Church parking lot to the old farm. “God fucking damn, whoever scheduled this meeting? I swear I would never meet someone on this kind of terrain!” Robbie muttered miserably.
When he arrived in the barn the lights were on. Robbie knew the lights were only supposed to be on during a special event. As he stepped into the barn he felt a blinding light come up into face. For several moments there was nothing but the bright light in his face. He felt the pain is his leg and mind subside as the light began to fade.
He opened his eyes. The lights were off. He put his leg down on the ground. No pain. He stomped his leg on the ground, no pain again. He pulled his pants leg up and looked at in fascination. His leg was no longer maimed. It did not even have scars, just a healthy complexion to it.
Robbie realized a miracle at had happened. He dropped his crutches and strode out of the barn as a normal person for the first time in a year. He looked up at the sky as the sun shined down on him. It seemed to smile at him. A tear fell down Robbie’s eye as he raised his hands to the sky. He had been healed. Robbie shook his head in appreciation of this gift and strode back to the Church to start his day, he had work to do, and people he could now help.