Caramel

69 18 7

"I'm sorry about your leg" Sheila said for what sounded like the thousandth time in a span of five minutes.
"it's not even a little bit useful is it?"
Sheila asked referring to the leg. "I'm sorry about Mark."

Sugar shook her head. Sheila had led her to the guest room on the drums floor of their home. Even though hopping on one leg wasn't the best, Sugar had managed fine. Sugar was currently seated on the bed in the room, with her jeans on the floor.

"Should I give you space? You need to... " Sheila began but Sugar was already tugging on the plastic leg.
She sighed and she dropped it on the floor.
She hasn't saved enough for a new leg yet, and as much as she wanted to be annoyed she knew that her leg was due for a change. Overdue for a change.

Sheila must have sensed her dismay because she apologized again.

"It's fine" Sugar said reaching to pull up her jeans.

"But you can't go home like this, can you?" Sheila asked

Sugar shook her head.

"I'm really sorry. I'll pay for a new prosthetic for you" Sheila said, "Do you have your doctors number"

Sugar shook her head. Did she have a doctor? She just went to whichever physiotherapist was available at the General hospital.

"You don't have his number?" Sheila asked, "Which hospital? I can find out... "

"I don't have a doctor." Sugar corrected her.
Sheila stared at her like she spoke in an incomprehensible language.

"Let me make some calls" Sheila said leaving the room.

The maid, who's name she had been told was Amaka, brought in food on a tray with a glass of juice. Mark followed her closely.

The girl dropped the tray and left. Mark stood there scratching his head awkwardly.

"Hi" Sugar said. What was she doing?
She didn't know.
Maybe prompting him to speak.

He did.

"Yeah.... Uhm... Hi" Mark said. He cleared his throat and continued, "I'm sorry about your leg"

"Ugh... " Sugar groaned, "Enough about the stupid leg please. I've been using that leg for almost five years and it's shelf life was three. It was bound to happen sometime"

"You've been like this for five years?!" Mark exclaimed
He caught himself almost immediately and apologized again. "I'm sorry I didn't mean it like.. "

"It's fine" Sugar waved him off. At least he wasn't calling her a disabled person like E did. "I've been like this for eleven years actually"

Mark's eyes widened in shock. He lowered himself onto the floor beside the tray of food that Amaka had kept on a stool beside the bed. He crossed his legs and anchored himself on his palms behind him.

"How old are you?" he asked her

Sugar smiled. "23. Nobody really asks me that"

"Why?" Mark asked.

"I have no idea" Sugar chuckled, "And even when they do ask, they don't believe me"

"Maybe because you look like you're a teenager"

Sugar chuckled again. Hadn't she heard that before.
You look 19. You look 18. Sometimes it annoyed her.

Mark had mentally calculated that with her being 23, it meant that she had started wearing prostheses at 12 years old.

"What happened?" Was the next thing that flew out of Mark's mouth.

"Ah... Isn't that like a third, fourth date kind of question?"sugar said.
Inching away slowly.

Mark must have sensed her discomfort. Or not.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry" he said, "I don't know what I was thinking."

"It's fine" sugar said and Mark stared at her expectantly, "I'm not going to answer it. But it's fine."

Mark nodded.
"Do you want me to go? I can get out if the way if you don't like people to see you like this" He said.

Sugar almost laughed. He was being considerate now? After being in the room for almost ten minutes?

"You can stay. I'm used to being stared at weird"

"Did people make fun of you a lot for it. In school?" Mark asked.

"Yes. But I didn't really go to school much"

"How? I don't understand" Mark's brows furrowed and he leaned forward.

"I did Jss1, didn't do 2. Wrote Jss3 exams and didn't go to school anymore. I just wrote external WAEC" Sugar explained.

Mark still looked confused

"You speak very well."Mark commented.

"English is learnt in primary school. The rest I learnt from reading and listening to people talk."

"But what happened.... " Mark vegan but was cut of my Sheila entering the room.
She held her flowing skirt know her hand as passed by Mark or the floor to talk to Sugar.

"I just spoke with our family doctor. He put us in touch with a physiotherapist who can help fit you with a new prosthetic. He wasn't free but I manged to blackmail/bribe/appeal to his sense of humanity, so we have to leave now. Tejiri has the car running already.
Mark?! Can you leave please? She needs to get dressed." A sulking Mark gets up from his seated position and makes his way out of the room.

Sheila helps Sugar put on her jeans and leads her out of the room with Sugar resting her entire body weight on Sheila's left side.

"Are you okay?" Sheila asked as the descended the steps leading to the car park of their house slowly.

"Yes. Yeah. Thank you" Sugar said.

The driver whom sugar suspected to be Tejiri was holding the door open for her as Sheila helped her slide into the back seat.
Sheila got in beside her and Mark whom sugar has not known was coming got in the front.

"We're going to the hospital" Sheila said to the driver and he nodded murmuring a curt, "Yes Ma'am"

Surprisingly enough, the hospital wasn't that far from their home. Either that or their driver had magical powers, because it didn't seem to take them fifteen minutes and they were at said location.

The hospital provided a wheelchair for Sugar and a nurse was kind enough to get her a blanket which she happily threw over her laps. Anything to hide whatever would draw attention to her missing limb.

Sheila spoke to the nurse at the reception and suddenly Sugar was being wheeled again. Into the elevator and then into a room that resembled a lab. With various prosthetics at every corner. The training stations and metal bars that lined up the wall remind Sugar of the time she had to go through physiotherapy to learn how to walk with the new prosthetic. The pain of walking. The feeling of loosing a limb, feeling incomplete. Less than. Inadequate.

Dreams about feet.

Two feet.

Phantom pain.

Surgeries... Surgeries... And more surgeries.

More dreams about feet.

Two complete feet. Then loosing them in ways more excruciating that the one she had actually gone through in real life.

"Sugar. Sugar" she heard her name being called.

Sugar had been so deep in thought she hasn't even noticed the doctor walk in.

"Uhmm..." she cleared her throat, "Yes. I'm sugar"

"I'm Dr Toju Fordson. Let's begin."
Her eyes widened as she took in his appearance. This doctor, this light skinned doctor with eyes the color of caramel. Liquid, flowing, fudgy caramel.

She could get used to this.

********

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