• Sahar Abdulaziz

And, So ... THIS Happened

And, so ... THIS happened.

This lovely addition to my Life of Riley transpired the night before we were about to begin the kitchen renovations. We had already emptied the kitchen of everything, including the ancient microwave from hell, which we had to practically bribe and barter off the wall before tearing it off in pieces and then dragging it to the garage for disposal.

I had just gotten out of the shower after a long day of demolition. [My husband did most of the work, but I held doors open and pointed to stuff not working right.] I got dressed, felt accomplished, and was ready to eat finally. I had received a text message a moment earlier that the arrival of glorious cooked food was only minutes away; compliments of my daughter who had been making sure to feed her parents as they proceeded to demolish her childhood home with supposed tales of upgrades.

Joyfully, I had just skirted past the living room, headed down the hall, around the bend, and into the now empty kitchen, when I realized the Hubster was outside, presumably in the garage. No problem, I thought, as I raced forward to give him our dinner’s ETA.

I remember pushing open the screen door and taking a step. I thought I took another step, only to somehow lose my footing and tripped over a pile of shoes left in the middle of the walkway. Because, you know, our THREE shoe shelves aren’t HINT enough that we don’t leave footwear in the middle of a BUSY pathway. But hey, what do I know?

Pause: You know on television or in the movies when you see someone fall ... perhaps they twist their ankle or break their foot. They may wince or cry a few yelps... Their makeup remains perfect and not a hair out of place. Yeah, well, that wasn’t me.

I wailed SOOOOoooo loud, I’m sure I freaked out the neighbors. Matter of fact, I shrieked a sound that to this day I can barely recognize as human. However, my less than sanguine cry for help turned out to be remarkably fetching as both husband and son came running to my aid.

Visualize a 55-year-old hysterical woman lying on the cement garage floor, wailing in pain and gripping her broken foot.

Visualize: Distraught husband rushing to his damsel’s rescue and seeing the above.

Husband: “Habiba [Sweetheart] What happened? What did you do?” Realizes he is kneeling on sneakers and sandals. Flings pile of renegade shoes at the wall. “Damn it, how did you not see this pile?”

Me: Continues wailing gripping foot, and practically hyperventilating. Also, was not currently in the mood for a full discourse on the merits of watching where one puts their footing and more concerned with the SEARING PAIN rushing to my foot, which for the record, was now black and blue, and deformed––with a bone protruding out the side. Totally gross.

Husband: “Did you break it?” He asks trying to wiggle my toe.

Me: “No, no, no, no, please don’t touch it.”

Husband: “Can you wiggle your toes?” Points. “Can you feel this?” He ignores my pleas and touches my big toe, while my eyes bug out of their sockets. I again let out a wail akin to a natural disaster alert.

Husband: He’s feeling the rest of my leg, checking for other injuries. “Do you think you broke it?”

Me: At this point, I remember wondering how this supposedly brilliant man functions out in the real world. The man I have been married to for over three decades … the man–whose children I have given birth to … AND the man I must have said "for better or worse," or something to that effect–can’t recall now, who was currently bent over me ASKING THE STUPIDEST QUESTIONS to a woman drowning in her own tears and on the precipice of outright panic.

Son: What’s going on? What happened? He asks. [And, of course, he asks this of ME! Not his father who can talk without shrieking, but Me.]

Husband: “Do you want to go to the hospital?


Me: Okay. That got me to stop screeching. Snot ran down my face. I’m moaning, groaning, rocking back and forth and holding my broken foot, unable to catch my breath, and looking at the man I love like he’s a moron.

Son: “Breathe ma. You gotta breathe.”

Me. “I am breathing,” I reply through gritted teeth.

Son: “No, you’re not breathing. Stop crying and breathe before you pass out. Dad, tell Mom to breathe.”

Husband: “Breathe, Habiba.”

Son: “I know what I’m talking about. I took first aid in basic training."


Me: “I AM BREATHING!” I yell at the top of my phlegm-filled lungs. “THIS IS ME BREATHING. THIS IS MY BREATHING FACE!”

Husband: “Do you want to go to the hospital?”

Son: Son stares at his father incredulously, which I honestly appreciated. “Yeah, Dad. Mom’s foot is probably broken.”

Husband: “It might only be sprained. I’ve had a lot of broken bones.”

Son: “Me too. Remember, I’m the King of broken bones. My football injury- my toe…”

Husband: “Which one do you want to go to?” Husband asks.

The both of them look at me.

Full disclosure: I remember at this point thinking that if somebody doesn’t get me away from these two, I might have to finish the job myself and die by sneaker. Not sure how, but I was fully willing to explore this option.

Husband: “I’m going to grab my keys–insurance card… what else do I need?” He glanced around as if the answer would somehow be found lurking behind the lawnmower. “Stay with your mother.”

Son: “Okay.” To me, “Breathe Ma.”

Me: Oh, for F%$#Ks sake. “I AM breathing!”

Son: “No you’re not. Trust me. Breathing is the most important thing you can do right now.”

Me: No shit, Sherlock. “I’m breathing. I’m breathing … Ouch!!!!” Foot throbbing. Son folds a bunch of ice cubes into a towel and places it on my foot.


Son: “Stop crying, Mom. It’s going to be okay.”

Me: Full body racked sobbing. “No, it’s not. I broke my foot. Right in the middle of renovations. The renovations I have been waiting for 21 years to get done!” sniffle, sob, yell. “I’m … I’m…. all the meetings I have… the things I promised I’d do. Oh no- the workshop–––your moving out day…” sniffle. “I need a tissue.”

Son hands me a few tissues.

Husband is back. “Ready, Habiba?”

Me. “I can’t walk on this.”

Husband: “No worries. We got this. Are you ready?”

Son and husband position themselves around me and literally lift me up while I’m still in a crouched position. They proceed to carry me to the jeep where I am gently placed inside.

Me: “I need my bag. Oh! And a shoe for my other foot. And grab my phone.”

Husband: “Your mother doesn’t need her phone.”

Me: “Yes, I do.”

Husband: "Just get your mother a shoe. Sneaker or sandal?"

Son: “Dad's upset. He’s not good when something happens to you,” he whispers, handing me my phone.

Me: I start sobbing again because I can’t figure out why I need my phone, but I know I need it and I want it, and I can’t for the life of me remember what else I might need.

Husband: “Are you okay? Did you decide which ER you want to go to?”

MY GOD, MAKE A DECISION. Anybody- make a decision, and let me die in peace.

Me: “I don’t care.”

And off we go. Hubby and I in one car with son following soon in next. As we drive out of our neighborhood, we pass daughter bringing the food and wave.

Daughter looks confused. Calls son on speakerphone: “I just passed Mommy and Daddy–where are they going? I have the food. It’s hot.”

Son: Dad is taking Mom to the ER. She might have broken her foot.” Grandchildren in back of daughter’s car begin crying. Daughter brings children to a friend’s house so she can ride with brother to ER.

We arrive at one ER. BUT, par for the course, before we commit and turn into the parking lot, Husband decides on a different ER where he thinks I'll get better care.

Four Hours, a series of x-rays, a soft cast, and a pair of crutches later, I’m back home. In pain… and can’t stop feeling sorry for myself, realizing that I am at the mercy of this crew for the next 6-8 weeks. A crippled captive, limping forever in limbo, or at least, for the next 56 days.

Allah, help me.

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