Macbeth is supposed to be a cursed play. I hadn’t remembered this when we walked across the street and down two blocks to catch a free performance. It was supposed to be outside, on Atlantic Wharf, but they moved all of us into the lobby of an office building on the wharf because of the threat of rain. We dragged our green hard-plastic chairs inside—you had to bring your own—and sat stiffly through the two-hour presentation.
I’m not that good at Shakespeare, but I try. I like to pass myself off as some kind of literary geek, but I’ve never really studied the Bard and am only knowledgeable in the most popular of the popular lore surrounding the legendary playwright. The reality is that the language goes by too fast for me, I have to read the synopses beforehand on Wikipedia, and I’m always the last to laugh at the funny parts. I do accept responsibility for this, however. It’s not Shakespeare’s fault—I’m the one who needs to work on it.
The inside venue didn’t help. Whereas outside I could have smelled salty air and daydreamed during the parts I couldn’t catch, looking over my shoulder at Boston Harbor, inside in the lobby there was nothing to look at or smell, and the too-fast dialogue echoed all over the room. I strained for famous lines of dialogues, phrases that had crept all the way into modern speech, and did imaginary victory elbow pumps every time I caught one.
Two hours later with no intermission, we were happy to stretch and say, yeah, that was good. Two hours later, it was pouring down rain. Home was only three blocks away, so we ducked our heads, green hard-plastic chairs in hand, and plunged into the dark, shiny-wet streets.
As we crossed Summer Street in front of South Station, the walk signal changed on the other side of Atlantic Avenue—our street—meaning that we could take the broad intersection on a diagonal. I love getting the diagonal, love the whole idea of this sort of legal jaywalking that you get to do in Boston.
I yelled, We got the diagonal! and took a sharp turn to the right. I’d forgotten about the raised median—didn’t see it in the rain—and tripped. My left hip came down on the other edge of the median, with me half-laying in the street.
Ray said, Hey, you’ve got to get out of the street, but I couldn’t move. I started crying, knowing, already feeling, that something was very wrong in my leg. He scooped me up before the cars came and carried me to the expanse of sidewalk just outside of the train station. Two helpful onlookers grabbed the green chairs for us.
We stayed there on the sidewalk a few moments getting soaked in the rain, not knowing what to do, me sitting on the stacked chairs. I would try to stand up, at first okay on my right leg, but then my left leg would give out. I’d sit back down and sob some more.
Let’s at least get out of the rain, Ray said. He carried me into the deserted train station—it was a Sunday night—and made sure I could hold myself up against a wall while he went back for the chairs. I sat down in them again
while we contemplated the whole mess. Could I walk home? Our apartment was right across the street. I tried again and again, but couldn’t stand let alone walk. I thought if I could just get home I could sleep on it, and maybe it would be better in the morning.
We finally decided that I needed to go to the hospital, but then how? Too many decisions! Could Ray carry me onto the T? We thought about him carrying me into the elevator, through the turnstiles, then down two more elevators to the train. The hospital—oh crap, which hospital? There are ten hospitals within a mile of us!—was three stops away, then one elevator down, and a whole lot of carrying to the emergency room entrance. No way. Neither of us wanted to call an a
mbulance, already adding up the costs in our heads, so we settled on a cab. Ray flagged one down and carried me out. We left the green plastic chairs in the station, not knowing if we’d see them again.
At the hospital, after a relatively short wait by ER standards, X-rays confirmed that I’d broken my hip. Just under the ball, at the neck of the femur, it had cracked all the way through, and I’d need surgery.
Ray stayed until 4 a.m., until I was stable and tucked in to spend a night in the emergency room before my turn in the operating room the next day. The T was closed down by then, so he had to walk home, but the rain had stopped.
We were both relieved when he found the green hard-plastic chairs still in South Station the next day. At least our story wasn’t as tragic as Macbeth’s.
(Stay tuned for updates on the hip recovery…)