I guess you don’t really realize how close you can be to someone until something bad reminds you of that. ‘A’ (my girlfriend) had a relatively minor basketball accident yesterday and that was pretty much all the reminder I needed.
It wasn’t anything life-threatening. We were at the basketball court, doing our usual Thursday pickup game before heading home. After three intense games, I’d had more than enough for the day. I got my gear together, and sat down on the bench to cool off, exulting in the endorphin-induced high. It was a pretty beautiful evening, the weather having been great these last few weeks.
After some standard small-talk and backslapping with friends, I decided it was time to make a move. Unfortunately, A wasn’t in the mood for that.
“One more game, N! Come on, don’t be a spoilsport”, she said
“I’m totally beat, A.”
“Fine, so sit on the bench. We’ll be done before you know it”
“Whatever you say”.
I sat down and watch her graceful, flowing maneuvers with the ball (she’s been a national level player, after all), wishing I could play as well as her. I’m not bad, but nowhere close to THAT level.
Ten minutes into the game, I jerked upright. A was down on the ground. Apparently, she’d mishandled a pass and the ball slammed into her outstretched pinkie finger. Nothing life-threatening, like I said, but the impact was enough to break the finger and get her on the concrete, moaning in pain.
I don’t think I’ve ever run OR driven that fast before. I helped one of her friends immobilize the finger with a pen, got her to the car and drove her to R&R Hospital from Hauz Khas in ten minutes flat, while she insisted it was nothing over and over.
The DMO got her some painkillers and ordered an X-Ray.
Verdict: broken finger. The fingers would have to be buddy taped for a few weeks, at least, but she’d be fine.
By the time we walked out of the hospital, it was late, and the stars were well out. It was only when we got back into the warm confines of the car that I really breathed for the first time in over sixty minutes. She gave me a wry smile and I returned it, while I clamped down on the adrenaline crash. No big deal. Relax. She’s fine.
“Are you going to be okay?”, I asked her as we got out of the parking lot. “Do you need some –”
“You heard the Doctor, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but — ”
“I’ll be fine, N! I’m not five, you know.”
“I know. I just care about you.”
“Which I appreciate. But I’m a big girl, Mr. Mother Hen. I can take care of myself.”
I smiled at the return to her usual impish sense of humor. It was the surest sign that the finger was getting better already. Or less painful, at any rate. That’s when a thought struck me.
“What’s your PG’s curfew time again?
“Ten PM”, she said with an expression of disgust.
I could relate to that. The “curfews” that Indian landlords place on tenants is one of the funnier things that I’ve come across in this country. Who would have thought that adults would be subjected to High School style curfews?
Still, ten would do.
“How would you like Chinese at Taipan?”
She looked at me and her eyes told me all I needed to know.
“Call up your roomie and tell her you’re going to be a bit late. Let’s make a night of it.”, I said, failing to suppress a huge, shit-eating grin.
“Awesome!”, came the reply, and the night was suddenly a-rollin’.
If feeling like the luckiest person on earth is a crime, arrest me.