"Accept the uncertainty of recovery, you cannot know every twist and turn in your journey toward healing." Clair Bradshaw R.N.

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It had been sitting in the corner for two months ever since he got back from his stint in residential rehab. He knew he had to deal with it some time, just not right now.

His mum had offered to sort it but he had declined the offer. That being said, if she continued to nag about it, he really would lose it. It was his shit to deal with and he would deal with it when he was ready, not before. Nobody pushed Ray Barnett when he dug his heels in. She should know that better than most.

He grinned and shook his head as he noticed his choice of expression. Well he still had heels of sort, he thought with a shrug, as he gathered his things and placed them in the basket.

Over the last few months he had become even more stubborn than the son his mother had raised. It was that stuborn, tenacious determination that had enabled him to rebuild himself; literally. He smiled as he realised, he quite liked the person he was becoming. He was much more self-assured these days and dealt with things in his own way and in his own time. One day at a time, that was what Jay his councellor said every day. He had learned the wisdom of patience. There was always tomorrow.

That box could wait. There were far more important things to deal with first. One day soon, he would be ready to face the ghosts that lay within, just not right now. One day soon, he might even be ready to go back to Chicago for a visit. Time was a great healer, so everybody said. In the meantime the box was doing no real harm other than collecting dust. His mother would just have to be patient. Right now he had to get to the centre for his physio session.

"Yes, that's right Barnett," he said aloud, "get your priorities right, first things first, don't run before you can walk."

Christ another one! This time, he laughed out loud, a deep, loud belly-laugh.

"Are you alright in there?" his mother called anxiously.

He rolled his eyes but acknowledged, he had only himself to blame for her vigilence.

"Yes, Jayce just coming," he said, as he turned and walked gingerly out of the room holding onto his walking frame.

He could stand and walk on his own now. But, at home and out and about, especially when he was carrying things, he still preferred the security of the walking frame with the basket on front. He was the youngest person in the neighbourhood by a good fifty years using one of these contraptions.

Ironically, it had been a great way to get to know the neighbours. He thought wistfully of his numerous conversations with Mr. Jacobs, a retired engineer, from round the corner about how the frame could be improved. Yes, it had proved quite the ice-breaker with some of the older folk around here.

Nonetheless he conceded, it did not help his gait and movement much and he knew it was almost time to go it alone but until his physio shouted stop he would continue to use it.

In all other respects he was ahead of his milestones. But the awful horror of falling flat on his face and having to ask for help, prevented him relinquishing his hold on this little baby. Pride and vanity had always been his downfall, he thought sardonically. Patience he had learned was a virtue to counteract both of those vices. Strange that the indignity of hobbling around with a walking frame was preferable to falling flat on his face. Some day soon he would throw it aside just not right now. For once in his life he was content to take things slowly.

For the moment he would content himself with small steps. God, why were all his metaphors so foot focussed today, he thought to himself raising his eyebrow in that quirky way he did.

His mother noticed his expression as he emerged from his room. She noticed everything these days.

"Are you OK?" she asked, concern etched on her face.

"Mom, I'm fine, honest. You've got to stop fretting. Its been more than three months. It was a mistake. I will never do anything like that again, I promise." he chided gently.

Jayce nodded, "C'mon, we're going to be late," she flustered as she headed toward the car, "will you lock the door after you?"

Stowing the frame in the back of the car, he made his way slowly round the car and eased himself gently into the passenger seat. His mum had the radio on full blast at some country and western station. By the set of her jaw, it was obvious she did not want to talk.

Taking her hand, he raised his voice above the music and said once more.

"I really am fine."

She turned and looked at him then turned the key in the ignition and put the car in reverse. He knew it would be a long time, if ever, before the doubt was erased from her eyes. Not for the first time, he cursed his own stupidity.

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