Twice pushed away

One of the hardest things Ju will ever do is push Henry away a second time.

That first time he’d been out with soccer buddies. She waited an hour in winter chill. When he arrived he was barely sober enough to stand. He leant against her slurring apologies.

She could have hated him, his boozehound breath, his incoherence. He propped himself against her to stop from swaying. But she shoved him aside. ‘I’ll see you at home. We’ll talk then. And be careful. Don’t do anything stupid. Understand?’

His slow nod nearly toppled him. If only he’d caught the bus.

It’s almost a year later. Each day of it Ju has questioned why she left him there like that. She’s watched him learn, millimetre by millimetre, the things his body no longer wishes to do. She’s watched his pain through every stage of sitting, standing, trying to walk.

She’s been there every day—remarkable perhaps, but no more remarkable than him. These last few weeks he’s succeeded in walking a few paces propped against her.

But today she pushes him away again. The doctors say he will fall. But he will get back up. He will keep trying. Over and over. He must do it now without her.


2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (