Don't Go Changing
He'd never experienced an actual amputation.
His lower leg had been blown off. It was not clean, and he'd had several surgeries to close the skin around what remained.
But an actual amputation? No.
He stared bleakly at the ceiling.
He had been so focussed on searching, trailing.
Surveillance. He had lost count of the miles he must have walked.
It was a tedious but necessary part of his job as a detective. Skulking around, searching, following people. And it had taken its toll.
He had pushed it to the back of his mind and just got on with the job, paying a minimal amount of attention to the care of his stump. Half the time, he did not even look at it properly, never mind tend it. Too tired most of the time to do more than unstrap the prosthetic.
But she was looking at him, an imploring look on her face.
How could he deny that look?
It had been an unspoken fact between them since the day she first sat down at her desk, on a temporary contract. They never mentioned it. He just gritted his teeth and got on with it.
She had simply got on with it too. Even letting him lean on her the time he got hopelessly drunk. And the time he just could not physically put one false foot in front of the other.
But now, he had finally done it. Pushed himself too far and ended up in a hospital bed, staring at the ceiling, having to face facts.
This was a big fucking deal.
She was pragmatic, as always. But he had seen that look in her eyes.
He could not bear that look.
She wanted the status quo. Not for herself. For him.
He wanted the status quo for her.
She had never asked him to change. Not once. The only woman he had ever known who had wanted nothing from him.
But he would change. For her. He would give her that.
Because she didn't have to ask.
He had lost his calf and his foot. But he still had his knee. That had made it bearable somehow. Less of a loss.
But now they were telling him they may have to take a little more. He may lose his knee.
If the skin broke down further, they would take his knee.
Then what? A bit more?
She would cope. Of course, she would accept it.
But he would not.
So when she stood in the doorway, and held up a lettuce and a bag of tomatoes, and he saw the smile gently spread across her face, he smiled too.
"Ok," he said, resigned.
"Diet it is.
But don't ask me to give up the fags."