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Friday, October 28, 2005

The Recovery

Amy, Part 1
The Accident, Part 2
The Recovery, Part 3

It was a month after their accident, about mid October.  Livy had just put Daniel in his crib for his morning nap. And since it looked like a nice but cool fall day, Livy put on her sweater and took her coffee out to the veranda. She sat in the swing, looking at what was left of her garden, and then gazed out over the land she had come to love and appreciate.  She felt a twinge of pain in her back, and was again reminded of their accident. But today she had no sad thoughts, today she had thoughts of thankfulness. She was making plans to host her first Thanksgiving dinner.  She was feeling a bit anxious about it, but knew that Martha would help her, and she always had the help and support of Ray.

Stephen was still helping Ray on the farm. The fall ploughing was completed so today he and Ray were doing a bit of work in the barn. They approached the house, with Franklin bounding ahead of them, and since Stephen had errands to do in Wilson he went upstairs to clean up and change his clothes. He also had lunch plans with his uncle and aunt, Rev Case and his wife.  Ray came up the walk to the house, came over to the swing where Livy was sitting, bent down and kissed her.  He winced a bit because his ribs sometimes still hurt, but he could bear a bit of pain to kiss his wife. Franklin came up beside Livy so she could pet him and tell him what a good dog he is.  Happy with the attention, he lay down near her.

Ray asked if there was more coffee, and Livy told him there was, and was just about ready to get up and get him some when he said, ‘No, please, sit, I can get it myself.’  She remembered what he had said about his dad, and that he wanted to be the kind of husband his dad was. He had said his dad never expected his wife to wait on him if he was capable of doing it himself.

When he came out with coffee in hand, he sat on the swing. ‘What were you so deep in thought about?’ he asked Livy.

She smiled and said, ‘Well, I was just thinking about cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and my thoughts wandered to how thankful I am.’

‘Bout what?’ asked Ray, even though he probably knew a few of the things she would be thankful for.

‘Well, first of all, even though we were in pain for a while, the accident has not drastically changed our lives,’ she said.

Ray nodded, smiled, and said, ‘Yeah, even the old beetbox has been repaired, and is still running!’ Just then Stephen came out, bid them a good day, and took off in his truck.

‘And we now have a hired hand,’ Ray continued, ‘But I’m not sure if we’re going to need him over the winter. Depends on how well my ribs continue to heal, I suspect. So, what else is on your list of things to be thankful for?’

‘We’ll, let me see, besides my being born to my wonderful mother, and having a decent enough family,’ and Ray knew that she was thinking of how her father still treated her, ‘Having the opportunity to get an education, but I think what I give thanks for most is you and Daniel,’ she said with a smile at Ray.

Ray looked at her lovingly, but with a mischievous smile on his face said, ‘Well, lets see, I do have a great family, not as much education as you, a great son, but I’m not sure about the wife Rev Case picked out for me.’

At this Livy gave him a gentle slap on his shoulder. They both laughed. They knew they were blessed to have each other and Daniel. Sometimes it almost went without saying, but today it was good to say it.

‘Oh, Ray, did I tell you? Daniel was trying to walk today! It was almost laughable, poor guy struggling so hard to get up on his feet. He crawled toward the dining room table and was holding on to a chair leg and using it to help him stand,’ said Livy. As she was describing Daniel’s efforts Ray had a big smile on his face, and said, ‘Soon he’ll be running all over the farm!’ whereupon they both laughed.

‘Well,’ said Ray, ‘On a more serious note, I guess we should be thankful that the accident wasn’t worse,’ and they both nodded and after sipping his coffee Ray continued, ‘Did I tell you that three of the young lads spoke to me one morning at the hospital?’

Livy frowned, deep in thought. ‘You know, I don’t remember that. But I was pretty much out of it for a few days, I slept a lot,’ she said with a chuckle.

He continued, ‘Yeah, you were. And, yeah, they came by and apologized.’

‘That was nice,’ said Livy nodding and smiling. She was deep in thought for a moment, sipping her coffee and enjoying the nearness of Ray. She looked up at him and he was watching her. ‘What?’ Livy queried.

Ray let out at big sigh, ‘Do you think we’ll ever be totally well again? I mean, I feel a lot better than I did last month, but will we always have to be cautious about what we do?’

Livy nodded, ‘Unfortunately I think we will. But it shouldn’t stop us from having a good life together. We just have to be careful and not overdue it.’

He smiled, and nodded. After a few moments reflection Ray said, ‘You know, funny as this may sound, I am thankful that Amy came to the farm in, when was that, late August, early September?’ Livy nodded yes, but had a frown on her face and thought, where is his he going with this?

Ray continued with these gentle loving words to his wife, ‘And the reason I am glad she came here is because I now know that when I broke up with her it was the best thing for me. Maybe not for her, but definitely for me.’ Livy smiled at her husband. ‘The manner in which she treated us all that day was unforgivable, but it sure proved my point. However, the lonely years in between were hard on me. I had my parents to think of, and Daniel’s help, but no girlfriend, no wife.’ At this his voice trailed off, and tears came to his eyes, but they weren’t tears for Amy, they were tears for his parents and brother. Livy moved closer to him and put her hand in his, interlocking their fingers. Since he was deep in thought he wasn’t expecting her touch, so his head jerked up, and he raised his eyebrows. ‘Thanks, Livy,’ he said, his voice thick with emotion. ‘You know, I never did answer your question that day.’

Livy looked puzzled and asked, ‘What question?’

Ray looked at her, ‘Remember? You asked about Amy? Just before the accident? Well, I didn’t answer you.’ Ray then told her about Amy, and then how she had treated him long ago on the last day they were together; and that she left Wilson; and that he had not seen her in a long time till a couple of years ago at the harvest dance; and then no word again till she started writing to him. Livy listened to him, with her hand still in his.  When he finished she put her arms around him, and they held each other for a few minutes.  He kissed her on the forehead, whereupon she lifted her face to his, and he kissed her on the lips. ‘Thank you,’ Livy said quietly.

Ray cleared his throat and said, ‘You’re welcome. Sorry it took so long for me to answer your question.’ Livy just nodded and smiled.

After a few moments he smiled and said, ‘So, Thanksgiving dinner, what have you planned so far?’

‘We’ll, let’s see,’ Livy said, ‘So far I’ve opened two cookbooks.’ At his Ray laughed so hard he had to wince in pain. ‘Livy,’ he said, ‘You should remind me when you are going to be funny,’ at which they both laughed.

‘No, really, that’s all I’ve done except play out the day in my head,’ she said, ‘Martha told me that it all works better if you have a plan.  You know, all the food has to be on the table at the same time, and she said to be sure that you are not overwhelmed by having to set the table, carve the turkey, mash potatoes, and dish up vegetables all at once.’

Ray nodded and asked if Martha had any other suggestions, and Livy told him that her biggest piece of advice was to get the turkey in the oven early, so it comes out about the time the vegetables are ready to be cooked, that way you can carve the turkey without anxiety about all of this other stuff having to happen at the same time. Oh, yeah, and you can have the baking done a few days before. And even have the table set earlier in the day. Ray smiled, and said, ‘Sounds like good advice. And, you know, I’m here to help, and so will she and Ruth.’

‘Thanks, Ray, I know I can count on you, but I really would like to try this without as much help from Martha and Ruth. This would be my thanks to them and for their all helpfulness, if I can pull this off. But I will ask if I need help,’ she said, ‘But now that I think of it, I will need help with Daniel, and Ruth will likely volunteer!’

Ray looked lovingly at his wife, and a surge of passion swept over him. Livy looked at him, caught the look, and he said huskily, almost in a whisper, ‘Can we go upstairs?’ She got his meaning, and felt herself get moist. It had been so long since they had made love.  He drew her to him, kissed her passionately, urgently on the lips. He said, ‘I wish I could carry you up the stairs, but that might have to wait,’ at which they both laughed.

‘I have to go to the bathroom first,’ said Livy. And Ray said, ‘Meet you in bed.’ After her short trip to the bathroom she went into the bedroom. Ray was already undressed, in bed, and had the covers pulled down on her side. She suddenly felt shy, so turned away from him as she took off her clothes and dropped them on the floor, and almost in one motion sat on the bed, turned, and pulled the covers out of his hands and over herself. He laughed. He loved that she still had this bit of modesty and shyness about her.

They were both on their sides, turned toward each other, and kissed each other passionately, murmuring endearments, and how much they missed their love making. Livy could feel that he was already hard, so raised her left leg up onto his thigh, which drew her closer to him. They each put one of their hands on the others hips to facilitate the movements of their bodies. After those passionate kisses she was ready, too. He entered her, and for a few moments they forgot about the possibility of physical pain and enjoyed themselves.  They threw caution to the wind and allowed themselves the freedom of verbally and sexually expressing themselves. They both came fairly quickly but were satisfied. They lay panting in each others arms, locked together with Livy’s leg still over his thigh. They did not pull away until they each started to feel some pain, and then reluctantly released their hold on each other. Ray rolled over onto his back, and breathed in the sweet smell of her hair.  Livy rested her head on his chest, but still with her leg on him, and breathed in his earthy soap scent. His heart was still beating quite fast. They enjoyed the comfort of the embrace, and closed their eyes.

The next sound they heard was Daniel as he awoke from his nap and wanted his lunch. Livy raised herself up and kissed Ray, and he held her close for a moment, then she put her clothes on, and went to attend to their son.  Life was returning to normal in the Singleton household.