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Time for another Odd Trio prompt: write a post about any topic you want, in whatever form or genre, but make sure it features a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise.

There was one slice left from Melanie’s birthday cake, and she was looking forward to having it tonight after dinner. Her mom had gone out of her way to make a scrumptious chocolate cake from scratch and decorate it with white icing, and little purple forget-me-nots piped around the edge of the three-layer cake. Her mom really knew what she liked best and Mel was proud of the talent her mom had developed for cake decorating. She’d taken a class a couple of years ago and continued to hone her talent.

Now, though, she was running out the door to go swimming with her friends at the community pool. The day was hot, and the pool was the only place where they wanted to be on a day like this. As she leapt out the door, she tripped as her flip-flops caught on a rough stone on the slate patio, and down she flew. The pain in her ankle was terrible, and though she didn’t want to cry, tears had already started to slide from her eyes. Here she was sprawled on the front patio in her swimsuit with her beach bag cast aside and her belongings pouring out.

“Mom”, she called. “Mooommm!” Her mom came running out the front door with more agility than she’d had.

“Oh dear,” said her mom. She knelt down and checked Melanie out. When she touched her ankle, Melanie gave a shout, “Don’t touch it!” It seemed to be swelling already. Not surprisingly, her knees and hands were scraped, too. But it was the ankle that was screaming.

Off to the emergency room they went, Melanie leaning on her mom for support and then laying across the back seat feeling quite sorry for herself. After a quick call to Dad, they were at the hospital in 10 minutes. Once inside, Melanie was placed in a wheel chair with her foot raised, while Mom filled out the usual paperwork.

Once on the gurney, the doctors quickly ordered an xray, as the ankle continued to grow and throb, and turn red and blue. When she returned to her slot in the ER, she noticed an old woman lying on the cot beside hers. The woman smiled and said “Hi, looks like you’ve broken that ankle, missy.”

Whoa, thought Melanie, she quicker than the doctors.

“Yea, I think so; it hurts a lot, and I can move it without feeling pain. I really wish they’d give me a pill or a shot so it wouldn’t hurt so much,” she said. “What are you in for?” she asked the woman who must have been in her eighties.

“Oh, I took a tumble, and I might have broken my hip. And I try to be so careful. The other hip’s been replaced so that’s not likely to break, what with all the space-age materials they use to make ’em.”

That must hurt more than my foot, thought Melanie. “You must be in a lot of pain, too. And I can’t imagine have an operation to replace hip bones. Gee, you must be pretty brave to go through all of that.”

“Oh, it’s not a matter of bravery, my dear. My independence is more important that some old pain that that I know will get better. If I want to keep moving, I just have to do what I have to do, even when my joints creak and crackle. I’m worried though that if they put me in a cast for this other hip, I’ll need to be house-bound, and I hate to think of staying inside all that time. Having to be looked after. I need to walk my dog, do my gardening, see my friends — those I have left anyway,” said the old woman whose smile wasn’t quite as cheerful.

Melanie laid back and thought about being old, thought about being in some kind of pain much of the time. Not being able to leap off the front step as she’d done earlier. The pain wasn’t so bad now as the doctors returned to her bed.

“It’s as we feared, Melanie. Your ankle is broken, and our resident here, Dr. Marsha Willems is going to put it in a cast. If all goes well, you’ll have it off in 6-8 weeks. You’re young and bones heal more quickly when you’re still growing. So, off you go with Dr. W. and after that, your mom can take you home. She’ll get some crutches for you to use for a week or so, then, since it’s a walking cast, you should be able to get around pretty well, even if swimming is out for the rest of the summer.”

Melanie nodded, as Dr. Willems started to move her gurney to the area where they put on casts. Melanie asked her to wait a second. She turned to the old lady beside her who’d of course overheard everything, and said “I hope you’re back on your feet soon, and walking that dog of yours.”

The woman smiled and said she was glad Melanie would be back in shape so quickly. “It’s good to be young and healthy, but is also a blessing to have the wisdom of age. I’ll be fine. Can’t keep a stubborn old woman down for long!” she said chuckling.

When Melanie had her blue cast on and a nurse was pushing her out of the ER, she noticed the old lady was no longer there. “Where’d she go? Will she be okay?”

The nurse said, “Yes, she had a close call, but her hip is only badly bruised. She’ll stay overnight and probably return home tomorrow if she can find someone to stay with her a few days. She has a real zest for life, that one.”

Melanie was glad, and talked with her mom on the way home about how grateful she was that she was young and would repair rapidly. She also wondered what it would be like to be old, and know that the same kind of injury she’d had could be so hard for and old person to get through. She smiled — the old lady has such a beautiful smile in that age-worn face. She’s a survivor, thought Melanie.

As they entered the house, Melanie’s mom heated up pizza from the box her dad had ordered for dinner, and Melanie ate though she was beginning to feel quite tired. “Well, I guess it’s off to bed for me,” she said to Mom.

“Wait, haven’t you forgotten something,” asked Mom. Melanie gave her a blank look.

“Your last piece of birthday cake! When it’s done, you’re officially 12. Melanie smiled. Yes she had forgotten the cake with the excitement of the day, but the thought of chocolate made eating it irresistible. “Yes, please,” she grinned. I think I’ve earned it today.