Inspire. Create. Write. TM
Phantom pains had become the bane of my existence, to have to go through this hellish torture every day was as unfair as it was frustrating. Waking me before that blasted alarm clock could even try.
"Margie...Margerie...Margerie!" I called out groggily, realizing all too late that she ain't even here to begin with. I grunted unhelpfully and kicked off the blanket with one leg. I used the assist handlebar that hung just above the bed, to heave myself up. Looking down I immediately felt unilateral anger well up inside me, letting out a sigh, I exhaled longingly. I closed my eyes and did as the Guru Vikram had requested, I said my affirmations.
"I am still a man, I am still a husband...a father am I, still. I Will not let this define my existence. One step at a time is all I need. Aum Shanti, Aum Shanti Aum."
With that, I pulled over the titanium contraption and grabbed the lotion from the dresser. Margerie usually did this for me, and she did it so well. This would be my first day attaching it without her aid. My lubricated hands slowly crept down my leg, shaking all the way. When I reached the stub, that dull devil of a phantom crept up my body causing pain tremors to run through. I cursed loudly, shook my head out and began the slow, soothing rhythmic massaging over my stub. Once a sufficient amount was applied, I wrapped the stub in the elastic sleeve and carefully mounted the titanium contraption. It slipped in comfortably enough and I wholeheartedly ignored the feeling of ice cold metal.
The major concern was getting up, thankfully, my thoughtful Margerie made sure the assist-handlebar that hung from the ceiling, was also attached to a railing that could be moved around the room in a circuit. So I gripped the handle and hoisted myself up, balancing my weight on the one leg. I clenched my heart and placed the remaining weight on the other leg. The pressure of metal against bone and muscle hurt like the seven hells but I endeavored, my affirmations still fresh in my head.
Today’s mission was of the utmost importance which would determine the very future of my existence. I grabbed my lion-headed cane to steady myself as I limped my way into the living room. It took me twenty-seven minutes longer just to get to the supermarket & restaurant for supplies. By the time I reached home, my legs gave way & I plummeted into the leather-covered comforter. Reaching over to the landline, I dialed the only two numbers I bothered remembering.
“Buenos Dias Papa!” My mind eased at the sound of my Becca’s voice, chuckling at her words.
“I see Spain is agreeing with you then my little bumblebee.”
“Oh Yes! It’s totes fantastic, can I stay here forever Papa?”
Becca spent the largest part of the conversation talking my ear off about the sites & bites of Spain in all its glory. I was content to just listen. We hung up minutes later, only for me to dial a number that I had been dreading to dial.
Please don’t be enjoying yourself too myself My Margie, please. I thought.
“Hello, Jeremiah.” A stern monotone voice countered.
“Missy. Where is my Margie?” I grumbled, not at all pleased with who answered my wife’s phone.
“She enjoying her life, brother-in-law. Can’t come to the phone.” Missy spat out the word ‘brother-in-law’ like that title wasn’t going to last for much longer. If she had her way, I had no doubt that my assumption would come true. I hung up abruptly, utterly pissed off now, then altogether fell into melancholy. After all, this was my fault.
Five years, six tours in the army & not a single scratch on me. One miserable accident on my motor bike & BOOM! Crippled for life. Not even going to make the excuse of a 'mid-life crisis' now that the kids were all grown up. Not even going to justify my mistake. But that was not the worst of it. If I had been distant before, I became further more so once I lost my leg. The defeat in me was palpable in its despair, taking out all my frustration on Margerie. I got up and went over to the TV cabinet where a photograph of Margie lay. It was beautifully taken such was Becca’s talent. Margie was out in the garden, tending to her tulips when Becca caught her just as the wind swept through her cropped brown hair, indulging in a closed-lidded reverence at the feeling. She looked almost ethereal and so damn good for her age. The next photo was the one taken on our wedding day.
|DeviantArt Cred: HalatSoph|
What an ass I had been. Margie had been so supportive after the accident, taking care of my every waking need. I would be bathed, clothed & feed on a daily basis, to which I barely noticed. Consumed with my hatred for my predicament. It had all become too surreal, realizing just how much I had taken for granted, the ability to walk on two legs. How could I feel like a man again? How could I feel like a lover again? It tormented through all the seconds a day had to spare, devouring my mind into an abyss. The day before she left for her sister’s place, was the worst still.
She had been helping me to fit on my artificial limb when the blasted thing sent my nerve endings into a wall of fire. I lashed out screaming at her for incompetence and rocketing that silver leg into one of the mirrors in our room. The sprawling glass had caught her in the arm. The thing about my Margie was that she didn’t make a fuss at all, she calmly cleaned herself up & with love still within her eyes, she announced she would go see Missy for a few days. It was that very next morning that the earth-shattering realization dawned on me, I had been blaming my sweet sweet Margie all along. Lashing out at her, believing her not to understand what I felt like. A part of me still thinking that she would be gloating over my pain for not listening to her about the motor bike in the first place.
I shook myself out of those wallowing thoughts, no, this was not the time to get lost in reflection. I had created this problem, now was the time for action. I was going to win back the love of my life, the mother of my children, the heart of my heart. Years ago, Margie had fallen in love with Indian cuisine during our vacation to India. Her favorite among it was butter chicken. To start in my begging for her forgiveness, I was going to prepare that meal for her. It had been decided that any One gesture would definitely not be worthy of an apology to her. I would come to prove to her each & every day going forward, just how much she means to me. Granted, it had been years since I have used a stove or cooked anything for that matter. One of the many things, I had to repent for with her.
15 minutes later…
Things were going great! The ingredients mixed into the pot well, it smelled & looked good. I was feeling nine shades of proud with myself, excited about seeing Margie’s reaction to all of this. Too late did I realize that I had incorrectly placed the bottle of oil. It toppled over as I reached out a hand unconsciously, oil greased the floor beneath me. I gripped out frantically but the only thing I caught was the handle of the pot. And so I, together with the pot, joined the now very slippery floor.
CLANG! I closed my eyes tight in anticipation for the pain that was soon to follow…but none came. Looking up I saw that, thankfully, my hated prosthetic had taken the brunt of the curry'd explosion. Made a note to appreciate it later.
For now, I had to slap my forehead in embarrassment and thank Christ that the kids hadn’t been here to see that. After cleaning everything up, I chose to empty my metaphorical cup so to speak. Forgetting everything I knew and started the recipe anew.
First, I doubled checked my inventory of ingredients.
Swallowing my pride, I gave Guru Vickram a call. Anything for my Margie. Step by step he walked me through what to do.
As instructed, I began by marinating the chicken, which involved a helluva messy affair. I used the lemon juice, turmeric, tandoori spice with the ginger & garlic paste for this part. Allowing the chicken to be imbued with spicy goodness, I took a break to watch the last quarter of the game on the telly. Next, I added the required two tablespoons of Butter Ghee to a new pot, letting it liquefy before adding cumin seeds & mustard. Once the seeds started to pop I included the sliced onions and completed the mixture with 250ml of hot water when the onions started to brown. Then I toppled the chopped tomatoes & the reminder of the spices into the concoction, splurging on some sugar as well for the sauce.
Funnily enough, this reminded me of that cartoon my Becca loved as a kid. What was it called? Pugglypuff girls? What I do remember is that they were created by ingredients. Sugar, spice & everything nice. With the added bonus of chemical X. Didn’t that just make me believe that my Margie was created with the very same ingredients? Definitely posing that special X factor, having waited for me through my long tours away, raising more of our kids than I ever did, being a loving wife and taking care of me after the accident. She truly was the greatest thing I have ever done with my life.
Guru Vikram was very specific of the temperature settings & when to reduce it along the process. In a separate frying pan, I sautéed the chicken in ghee & oil (careful this time to relocate the bottle as far away as possible). The rich aroma of sizzling spicy chicken permeated the room, leaving me light-headed & my tummy growling. Sufficiently cooked now, I tumbled the chicken into the sauce. My leg was in burning fury but I ignored it, so focused was I on the task at hand. After about ten cruel minutes on high heat, I administered the fresh cream & garnished with chopped coriander to finish off my ministrations. The ten-ton tension on my shoulders eased after a very elongated sigh, I did it! I survive my very first cooking fiasco in years.
Later that night….
Like an antelope on high-alert, I stood there, painstakingly waiting for my Margie to enter through the doorway.
“Jerry….Jerry! I’m home.” Margerie called as she walked into the kitchen from the garage. She squinted into the darkness. I poised myself as best I could and switched on the lights. An audible gasp escaped her succulent lips. I could only imagine what she saw. The dining room table all decked out in her fancy table cloth, with her fancy plates. In the center a bouquet of her favorite flowers, Chrysanthemums. Dangling from the ceiling I had hung a few origami shapes, the very skill that had got me a date with this insanely hot woman in the first place. They danced with the air, reflecting light from the candles below. Then there was me, decked out in the Armani suit she had gotten me but had never worn, shaved faced and all spritzed up with that after-shave she too had gotten me in earnest.
Margarie clasped her hands together and blurted out, “Jerry, I just….I cannot believe this.” She sniffed at the air, surprise over taking her expression. “You! You made butter chicken as well?!” Tears stung her eyes now as if she didn’t deserve this, I cursed myself internally. This was definitely a problem I was going to deal with first.
Cursing more and with great effort, I approached her on bended knee & took her dainty hand in my gruff one.
“My Margie, my sweet sweet Margie. You have no idea how sorry I am for how I’ve treated you this past year and even before that still. If you’d let me, I’d like to spend the rest of my life making it up to you. Starting with this, because you deserve it all and so much more.”
Margie fell to her knees beside me & hugged me close. Her heavenly scent, carrying me into the best peace I’ve had in years. I vowed silently that I would never let go of her, ever again.
|DeviantArt Cred: blondepassion|
~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres