When I met Nick, nigh on 14 years ago, he favored one foot just slightly.
He had an ankle injury, he explained.
Well. What it turned out, when he had it looked at like five years later, was that he had this wee sharp piece of bone that was gradually sawing off his Achilles tendon.
I can't even think about this without wincing. This proves to me he'd have been more stoic about pregnancy and childbirth than I was.
Every so often I'd suggest that he might like to have surgery rather than being in abject pain when he walked anywhere. And I was told that he was entirely too busy for that nonsense.
Until this May, when that nonsense wound up really being the only reasonable option, given that a person who has legs and feet needs to be able to walk.
I picked him up post-surgery and brought him home, totally loopy, on crutches and pain medication and with a bag of nerve blocker attached to a needle inserted into his leg.
He was not allowed to let his operated-on foot touch the floor, like, not even rest on it, for 10 days.
In fact, he only got out of bed to crutch to the bathroom the first couple days. I was feeding him in bed.
And he was CRABBY. Which was understandable. But very unpleasant. Because rather than recognizing it, he kept accusing me of being short-tempered.
Which I sometimes am but in this instance was not. I was, in fact, infinitely kind an patient.
So I did the only thing I could think of.
I started avoiding him.
Which was easy because he was stuck in bed in our room. He was doing Zoom calls from bed. At one point he even put on a button-down and tie to speak to a judge.
So I just didn't go there except when I had to. Because he was so mean.
And then he got his feelings all hurt and accused me of avoiding him.
I fessed up: yes, I was. I totally was.
Several days post-surgery he went back to the office. I drove him. Prior to surgery he'd bought this leg scooter thing to get around.
I definitely recommend these scooty things. Way easier than crutches.
So he would crutch down the front steps and I'd carry the scooter to the sidewalk. Then I'd run through the house, jump in the car, and drive around to the end of our block, where there was a ramp for him to scoot down.
I'd park, open his door for him, wait for him to get on crutches, and then take the scooter and put it in the back of the car. I'd drive him to the office, get the scooter out and bring it to him, and say goodbye.
I would repeat this process in reverse at the end of the day.
And every day, when I pulled up to get him, he would say one of two things, neither of which were "thank you" or anything of a grateful nature.
1. You're too close to the curb.
2. You're too far from the curb.
And reader, I bit my fucking tongue every time.
Until I really really didn't.
At the end of the second week he had an 8:00 am appointment with his doctor downtown. So around 7:30 we started the process of leaving the house.
On my side, it was filled with complications, like a garbage truck in the alley and having to turn around our very tight urban alley and then having to navigate the one-way streets of our neighborhood to get back to our street and pick him up.
This kind of thing stresses me out, and I was flustered when I picked him up. He was at the end of the street, sitting on his scooter, chatting with neighbors.
I got his scooter in the back, pressed the button to close the back hatch, and jumped in the driver's seat.
Whereupon Nick said, "I think you put it in wrong."
"I didn't. I need you to stop criticizing me."
"I'm not criticizing you. The door made a noise. I think you put the scooter in wrong."
At which point I yelled, "AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHGHHHHHHHH! YOU'RE SUCH A FUCKING ASSHOLE!"
But it was more like, "AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHGHHHHHHHH! YOU'RE SUCH A FUCKING ASSHOLE!"
And he responded with a big old, "FUCK YOU!"And we proceeded to denigrate each other, yelling horrible, vile things back and forth at higher and higher volume.
Until finally I yelled, "SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP! IF YOU DON'T SHUT THE FUCK UP, I'M NOT TAKING YOU!"
We have super sophisticated, reasonable altercations, as you can see.
And he yelled back, "FINE! JUST DROP ME OFF AND WE! ARE! DONE!"
Done? Like, done done? Huh.
So I was all, "Like, you want to get divorced?"
And he replied, "If you do!"
I took a deep breath, stretched out my arms, shoulders, neck, and said, "Well. I feel better now. Do you want me to come into the appointment or just drop you off out front?"
And he was all, "Yeah, me, too. I'd like you to come in, but whatever works. If it's too hard to find parking, just drop me."
There were a whole bunch of medical students in the exam room to watch Nick's gauze get cut open, because apparently Nick had a very interesting ankle issue.
After they did what they needed to do, the doctor looked at me and said, "You know, recovery from this kind of surgery can be hard on everyone."
I laughed. I think. I probably made more of a dying goat noise.
And didn't mention the neighbor with the shocked face on the street corner, the one who could obviously hear every word we screamed through rolled up car windows.
Turns out Achilles issues are, in fact, Stygian.