December 2, Buffalo, New York. Of course, there would be snow and ice.
As Maureen prepared for work, she realized it had snowed overnight. Only a few inches, but when she looked out the kitchen window, she could see that the newly painted porch was covered. God, how she hated to wear boots! But sneakers would be a death-wish (or at least a broken-bone wish).
Puppy ran out the door first, and slid right down the steps. Thankfully, puppies bounce, and the dog shook herself off and scampered into the back yard to do her business. Not as brave, or foolish, as the canine, Maureen very carefully stepped onto the porch, felt her foot slip, and grabbed onto the railing to stabilize herself.
This was not looking good, but then again, this was Buffalo and it was winter. Buck up, Maureen!
Fortunately, the chain-link fence had been built right up to the porch. Maureen gripped the top of the fence and eased her way sideways down the steps. One step, two steps, three steps. Safe!
But Maureen was not taking chances. Still holding tight onto the fence railing, she eased her right foot onto the two-foot-wide wooden strip at the very bottom of the steps. Why the prior owners had not simply extended the asphalt to the steps instead of installing that wooden landing was unknown; Maureen could only assume they felt it was more decorative than black pavement.
Newly painted smooth wood holds black ice so much better than bumpy asphalt. Maureen’s foot slipped out from under her and she began to fall. Clinging onto the fence, she was able to avoid a full-out crash landing, but still wound up on her knees on the icy ground. Unable now to reach the top of the fence nor the porch railing, and unable to gain traction on the black ice, Maureen contemplated her predicament.
How embarrassing was this? Were the neighbors looking? Was everyone now laughing at the silly old fat lady lying next to her own side porch?
Thank God, no one seemed to be around. No bones were broken, and the pain was not severe enough for a sprain. Pride only had been hurt.
But there was still the issue of getting back onto those feet.
Slowly, Maureen scooted backwards on her knees from the black ice on the wooden strip to the somewhat less slippery asphalt. Sticking her fingers through the chain-link at the bottom of the fence, she ever so slowly pulled herself, inch by inch, up the fence and into a standing position. Afraid to let go of the fence even then, she inched along the pavement to the snow-covered grass of the backyard. Only then did she feel confident in her ability to walk without assistance.
Meanwhile, Puppy was having a great time running through the snowy grass. Couldn’t that dog have helped out at some point? Or did she think Maureen was merely playing as she crawled away from the porch? Or were the squirrels in the trees at the back of the yard simply more interesting than the dog’s owner?
Having accomplished what needed to be accomplished outside, it was time for owner and dog to return to the house – back across that icy landscape. A second fall would definitely not be amusing, But thankfully, going upstairs was a little easier than coming downstairs, and re-entering the house was uneventful.
No work today, after all. Maureen’s car was in front of the house. No way was she going cross that ice-covered driveway to her car. The fence did not extend that far; there was absolutely nothing to hold onto if she slipped. She would be in full view of anyone looking out their front windows or driving down the street. And she was sore from her fall. Time for a pain pill and a return to bed.
Tomorrow would be another day.
[Hope you enjoyed this excursion into flash fiction. May you all stay safe and healthy. (And yes, the pulled muscles did heal after a day or so …)]
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