Soft Side

Prompt: Capable


“You had a rotator cuff injury,” said Adam, as he leaned over Lily-Rose Roades and manipulated her arm further over her head than she’d managed in three months. “That’s how the adhesive capsulitis happened.”

“The what?”

“Frozen shoulder.”

Lily-Rose felt her bones would snap. “Ouch,” she said, hoping it sounded brave, since it hurt like hell, and not whiney.

“Almost done,” said Adam, without much apparent sympathy. Lily-Rose suspected that sympathy was a casualty of being a physiotherapist, since they had to twist, pull, stretch, and push further and harder every session. You couldn’t spill your empathy out on everyone, or there would be none left. Empathy wasn’t a bottomless pit. Was it?

Adam smelled like green apples. The insides of his arms were soft as a baby’s cheek. He had a tiny bit of a beard this late afternoon. Lily-Rose wondered if it would be scratchy, or a little soft.

“Ouch!” She couldn’t help herself, and, thank the lord, Adam stopped just before her scapula detached and her humerus snapped in two.

“Let’s get some warm ultrasound on you,” he said as she sat up on the table, unable to resist massaging her upper arm. She would take some aspirin when she got home. And reward herself with a visit next door to Jerry for a nice cocktail. Yes, that would do nicely.

After the ultrasound, and some low level weight repetitions, Lily-Rose was dismissed. She got her duffle coat from the coat rack, and Adam cheerfully helped her get her aching shoulder through the arm hole.

“You are a very cruel man,” said Lily-Rose.

“I know,” said Adam. He smiled. “I have a soft side too.”

“You do?” said Lily-Rose. “I don’t believe it.”

“Do I need to prove it?”

“You definitely do,” said Lily-Rose.

“Tomorrow, after school?”

Lily-Rose pulled a pair of brightly coloured wool gloves over her hands. They were a gift from a student’s mother, who was a prolific knitter, and were lined with a soft felt. She also had a wool scarf, a toque, and leg warmers, of all things, gifted by the same woman, whose name was Nancy.

Lily-Rose was scheduled to take detention hall tomorrow afternoon, but she’d ask Becky to stand in for her.

“Four o’clock?” she said to Adam.

“Don’t forget your exercises.”

Lily-Rose didn’t forget.