(I imagine these were the cliffs Wood imagined I was pushed off of…)
Wood: “Sit. Tell me what happened.”
Following his directive, I took a seat on the table and stared at the floor while Wood did the doctor thing. First listening to my heart and lungs, then testing my ribs, making sure nothing was broken, and finally examining the bruise.
Me: “Wood, I fell…”
Wood (snorting): “Really? Who pushed you off the cliff?”
He continued his examination and waited for my response. Since I had no way of adequately explaining a bruise of this magnitude, I continued to flounder.
Wood (prodding me): “I’m your best friend first and your doctor second – I won’t rat you out. But I am also not going to tell your Aunt and Uncle there’s nothing to worry about if you don’t tell me the truth.”
He waited for a beat for my response.
Wood: “This happened at Nevermore, didn’t it.”
Inspiration (or perspiration, hard to tell at the moment) struck, perhaps there’s a workaround…
Me (looking him in the eye): “Do you remember when we were fifteen, and you sprained your ankle really bad? But you wouldn’t tell me how it happened? You just asked me to trust you that it was a silly accident?”
Still pressing on various portions of my anatomy and asking ‘if that hurt.’ Which of course it did because my torso sported a bruise approximately the size of Montana.
Wood (guardedly): “I do.”
Me: “I’m asking you to trust me. This isn’t a case of abuse or something worse. The goose egg and black eye happened when I slipped on some rock salt, which caused me to lose my balance and my face to bounce off a door. My hands got messed up when I got up from where I landed in the salt.”
Wood (starting to unwind my wraps): “And the bruise on your torso? It certainly didn’t happen by getting your foot caught in a coil of rope while practicing a pirouette right before your ballet recital. And who bandaged you up? Were they hoping you’d audition for The Mummy?”
Joseph was rather exuberant in his bandaging job.
Me: “That’s an oddly specific reference. Wait, are you trying to tell me you took ballet? That’s how you nearly broke your ankle? Ow!”
Concentrating very hard on the gauze pads on my palms (hopefully attempting to remove them with as little pain as possible – but I wasn’t holding my breath), his answer to my question sounded distracted.
Wood: “It helped me with my footwork on the soccer pitch.”
Curiosity ate me up.
Me: “How long did you stick with it? Why didn’t you tell me? I would have come and cheered you on! OW! What are you doing to my hand?”
Gently prodding, the now oozing divots, he looked thoughtful.
Wood: “There’s something in this one. I took ballet for five years, Gran was the only one who knew, and I didn’t tell you because I didn’t think your homemade foam finger would be appreciated by the rest of the audience.”
Me (loftily stating fact): “My foam finger was epic and appreciated by all.”
When he started excavating into my flesh, all I could say/yell was ‘OW!’ which caused Aunt Pearl to inquire, thru the door, if Wood needed help torturing the truth from me. (Can you believe the woman teaches Sunday School?)
Me (trying to distract myself from what Wood was doing): “Hold on, when did you go to ballet class? How did….were they on Sundays? When Uncle and I went on our Safaris?”
Wood (holding what he found in my palm up to the light and inspecting it): “Yes.”
Proving how much the rest of me ached, I hadn’t noticed the extra sting of the leftover salt until Wood relieved me of it.
Me: “Seriously, why didn’t you tell me?”
Wood (a ghost of a smile passed over his lips while he concentrated on cleaning my wound): “I was a freshman in high school, the starting forward on the varsity soccer team and angling for a college scholarship. I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously if they knew the secret to my success.”
Me: “But I could have helped! Choosing music or making costumes! We could have had so much fun! I wouldn’t have told anyone, you know that!”
I saw the trap snap closed the second the words left my mouth.
Wood (carefully applying ointment): “Well, that bit you in the ass, didn’t it.”
Me: “Little bit.”