She could feel her tights slipping down her legs. Her patient would have to wait. She marched down the hall and into the ladies toilets. Her day had been mad. She had her usual, a mother and her daughter. The mother was panicked about a small pain in her daughters shoulder and no mater how many times she tried to reassure the estranged woman that the exercises she was giving them would solve the problem the woman refused to believe her. There were several new patients, all of whom seem to have pulled a muscle whilst playing some form of sport and were now worried that they would never be able to play again. She pulled up her tights and walked to the mirror, turning on the tap in the sink. She lent down and splashed the cool water over her face. Refreshing. Right, she thought, next.
The man sitting in the waiting room looked bored. His eyes were distant and she didn’t want to disturb him. She walked over to his side and gentle place her hand on his shoulder.
“Excuse me sir.” Her whisper and touch jolted him out of his dreaming. “Are you Mr Taylor?” He nodded, still slightly dazed. “I’m Louise Kelly. I’m your physiotherapist.”
He stood up and raised his hand. She took it gently in hers.
“Pleased to meet you.” His voice was gentle and was neither posh nor common. She smiled.
“If you could follow me please.”
She led him to one of the beds in the physiotherapy ward.
“So then. What’s wrong?”
He explained how his back seemed to go into spasms of pain whenever he worked. He thought it might have something to do with repetitive strain injury.
“Ok.” She said when he had finished. “If I could ask you to remove your top please so that I can examine your back.” Everything she said seemed to come out wrong. In her mind it sounded like she was flirting with him. She blushed. But he didn’t seem to mind. He smiled.
“Sure.” The top was off in one fluent movement. She had to stifle a gasp as she saw the muscles in his arms and abs ripple. She realised that he was studying her with curiosity and she blushed again.
“Umm.” She stumbled over her words. “If I could ask you to fill out this paperwork. It’s not much, quite mundane.” He gave a little laugh and took the clip board and pen off her. Once he had finished she asked him to do a series of stretches. First he had to bend over, forwards and sideways. For all of these he said that he could feel a small ache in his back. She asked him to lie down on his back and raise his legs. Then she asked him to lie on his front. Her heart skipped a beat as she placed her hands on his back. His muscles rippled again and he laughed.
“Sorry.” She apologised. Her hands were freezing.
“No.” He laughed again. “I’m ticklish.” That made her giggle.
Soon they were chatting and laughing with each other. All formalities and nervousness were lost. But by the end of the hour she had yet to find out what was wrong.
“I’m going to have to ask you to come back tomorrow. I’m still not sure what’s wrong.”
“That’s fine.” He replied. “Same time?” She nodded, a little too enthusiastically for her liking. They smiled and said goodbye. And then he was gone. It was as if something was missing.