“I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to answer rationally and not emotionally.”
Did he want my opinion on buying another ukulele to keep the one that he bought on vacation company? Was he at Coscto debating a super deal on a big screen TV? Or did he want me to meet him at the local car dealer to test drive a convertible?
“Where are you?” I asked.
“I’m at the little resale shop around the corner,” he answered.
The resale shop. That’s not an odd place for him to be. But it is odd for him to call and ask about buying something there.
“They have a used walker for $10. Do you think it would be a good idea for you to have, just in case?”
Silence on my end.
Husband was asking a perfectly reasonable question that could push me right into irrationality, or at least into being overly emotional. He’s calling to see if I want a walker because in one week I’m having foot surgery on both feet. Surgery on three hammertoes and one bunion per foot. Surgery that requires ten days of being completely off my feet except for slowly making my way to the bathroom and back to bed, to couch, or to chair. Surgery that results in an 8-week recuperation period where my mobility will be immobilized to a degree that I can’t fathom.
He was asking a perfectly reasonable question and I needed to call on my left brain when forming a response not my right brain, which was screaming: “A walker. What? I’m too young too need a walker. This surgery won’t stop me. Oh, I’m turning into my mother, father, someone other than me.”
“What’s it like?” I asked.
“It’s small, silver and has tennis balls on one end.”
“Will it move over carpet?” The path from bed to bath is carpeted and if the walker was going to be useful it had to be an all-surface walker.
“I think so.”
Continued silence on my end.
“All right I won’t buy it. Your silence says it all,” Husband said.
“No. I don’t know. Do whatever you want.” I was still in denial and couldn’t be responsible for the decision.
“We’ll donate it right back when you don’t need it anymore,” Husband said.
“Fine.” I hung up. He was right. It might help. For $10 it couldn’t hurt.
Husband came home with an upscale version of the model he had described over the phone. This walker had wheels instead of tennis balls and it was still just $10.
I took it for a spin over the carpet. It worked perfectly. I imagined myself gliding through the dark of the night to the bathroom, my way illuminated by a small flashlight I could attach to the front bar. Add a backpack and I could roam from room to room ready for anything. Dress it up with a flag and some streamers and I’d be ready for the local Fourth of July parade.
“The walker was a good idea,” I conceded to Husband.
“I thought so. I promised I’d take care of you,” he replied.
And so he did. And so will Wendy, the name I’ve given to my new wheels. With Wendy and Husband by my side, my walking will be smooth. Or at least more manageable.