After the wedding I’d received one or two text messages off Matt but that was all. I’d hoped our friendship would rekindle into best friends again, but that didn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
Today had been a hectic day in A&E and I was in need of a coffee before I attempted to drive home. I slowly walked down the corridor to the canteen in my own little world thinking about how we had nearly lost a teenage patient this afternoon. Out of nowhere appeared Matt. “Chloe, you ok?” he asked. “No offence but you look shocking.”
“Well thank you very much Matthew. Nice to see you too,” I joked. Matthew has always been his name when he was in trouble with me. “It’s been a really rough day and I need a coffee before I go home.”
“Want some company?” Matt asked but looked very unsure of himself.
“I’d love some,” I replied with a genuine smile on my face.
When we got to the canteen Matt insisted I sit down and he would go and get the drinks. I found a table to the side which would easily accommodate his chair and wondered how on Earth he was going to manage the drinks. I needn’t have worried though because a couple of minutes later he arrived back with a member of staff following behind with a tray. “I thought you would probably need some sugar as well,” he stated. “I’ve bought you a millionaire’s shortbread too because I remember you used to love them. I hope you still do?”
“Thank you and yes it’s still a favourite,” I replied.
I took a long swig of my coffee and I could feel the tension immediately begin to leave my body. I looked up at Matt and just stared at him with a goofy smile on my face. ”So do you want to talk about it?” he asked.
“I’d rather just forget about it. Seriously ill children always get to me the most,” I tried to explain. “I’d rather you change the subject and talk about something else. You were always really good at that.”
“Consider it done,” Matt replied with a smirk on his face. “So … are you excited for the big cup match next week?”
“Well guess what, today got even better when Carly rang and told me she hadn’t managed to get us any tickets,” I laughed.
“Ok. Next topic,” laughed Matt.
Before I knew it we’d been in the canteen for one hour and knew I had to start making tracks. “Thank you for this Matt,” I said. “I haven’t half missed this. As in us. God you have been my best friend for most of my life.”
“I’m sorry for cutting you out of my life,” Matt replied. “Truce?”
“Under one condition,” I smiled. “That no matter how hard life gets we’ll always be friends?”
“Deal!” he agreed. At that point I stood up and leaned over and gave him a huge hug and a peck on the cheek. And all of a sudden today had become a lot better.
For the next couple of days, I felt like I was on cloud nine. Me and Chloe had exchanged a few texts and I truly believed I was getting my best friend back. Obviously I’d left it too late for any romance and if I was honest with myself I don’t think Chloe felt that way about me anymore and I was ok with that. Well, at least that’s what I was telling myself. Yes, I’d always love her but things were better off this way.
“You going to spill what’s got you in such a good mood? Don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy.” Gemma questioned as we sat at the breakfast bar and ate our evening meal together, which she has prepared and cooked.
“It sounds so stupid but it’s because I’m back friends with Chloe. I didn’t quite realise how much I missed her until I got speaking to her again,” I explained. “God I sound so pathetic.
“Aww no it’s lovely Matt. You are the only one who didn’t realise something or should I say someone was missing from your life,” she laughed. “Are we going to meet her on Saturday after the game?”
“Aww no she’s not going. She couldn’t get tickets. She’s gutted about it actually,” I explained.
“And you are taking me you idiot?” she questioned. “Text her now and tell her you have a spare ticket because I’m no longer going. Sorry I’m busy.” I smiled at Gemma and realised how much of a good friend she was. “Thanks Gem, I owe you one.”
I eventually took out my phone and sent Chloe a message after worrying way too long about what I was going to say. The message read: Hey, hope you are ok? I have a spare ticket for game on Saturday cos Gemma can’t go. Do you fancy it? Sorry but obviously it’s in the crip end x
I’d debated for a good few minutes whether to put a kiss on the end but Chloe always puts one on so I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t in return.
Almost immediately I got a reply back off her saying: Yes please! How much do I owe u? I’m good btw, hope u r 2? Xx
Matt: I don’t want anything for it. Yes all good here. Gemma will drive us. Ok for 1.30pm? X
Chloe: U sure? If not half time drinks are on me. Where do you want me to meet u?
Matt: Yes 100% sure and send me your address and we’ll pick u up.
Chloe: Thank u! u r the best! I’ll send u my address soon xx
Saturday arrived before I knew it and we were on our way to pick up Chloe. I felt self-conscious as we pulled up to her house due to the fact my chair was strapped into the back of my van, but in true Chloe style she didn’t bat an eyelid and jumped into the front and said hello to us all.
When we arrived at the ground I waited for Gemma to pull down the ramp before I wheeled down. Today for ease I’d placed my phone and remote for my wheels around my neck on a lanyard. We said bye to Gemma and I told her I’d text her when we wanted picking up. As we headed towards the ground I could see Chloe wanted to ask me something but was avoiding asking for some reason. “What do you want to know?” I asked her calmly.
“How did you know I wanted to ask something?” she replied.
“Come on Chlo I’ve known you for years and can read you like a book. Now come on, just get it out!” I demanded.
“What’s with the flashing lights on your wheels and that remote?” she quizzed.
I thought about how I could answer this without making myself sound less capable. “Erm.. well I can push a chair fine, but my arms aren’t really strong any more so these wheels are assisted. With every push a little motor kicks in and I travel further. It really helps with travelling long distances and moving quickly,” I explained. “I do have another chair when I’m at home or not going very far which doesn’t have the assisted wheels.”
“Sorry for all the questions,” Chloe said.
“No please ask. It makes things less awkward if we’re open with each other,” I stated. Chloe just nodded and continued walking to the ground.
The match was so tight and it was still nil nil after 80 minutes. I joked to Matt that I needed an invite again because the disabled seats view was amazing. We’d agreed to go for a quick drink after the game and Matt would text Gemma when we were ready for home.
Two minutes from the end of the game our striker was brought down in the penalty area and we were given a penalty. I instantly felt sick and didn’t want to look. If this went in, it was very likely that we would be in the final and a trip to Wembley was on the cards. I quickly glanced at Matt and said, “OMG! I can’t watch.” I covered my eyes with my hands and dropped my head. I heard the referee’s whistle blow and then... a huge cheer! The stadium erupted and I jumped up and down cheering with a huge smile on my face. I turned to Matt who was smiling whilst putting his arms up and down in an uncoordinated way. I bent down and gave him a big kiss on the lips and a huge cuddle all whilst still jumping up and down. The entire crowd started chanting about how we were off to Wembley so we both joined in. It didn’t take long for the full time whistle to blow, thank god, and feeling ecstatic we both headed to Billy’s Bar again.
When we arrived at Billy’s the bar was buzzing with fans. I instructed Matt to go and find somewhere to sit whilst I went to the bar. I quickly got served and headed towards the table in the corner that Matt had pulled up at. “I can’t believe we’re off to Wembley. I’m so excited. We should all make a weekend of it. Carly will be over the moon,” I stated.
“Yeah sounds a good idea. Zack will definitely be up for it,” Matt replied.
“What about Gemma?”’ I questioned.
“Haha no if she can help it she would never go to a game again. She hates football,” I laughed.
“You sure she won’t mind you going away without her? I asked.
“No, why would she?” asked Matt with a confused expression on his face.
“Well I’m not sure I’d like my boyfriend going away with two single girls without me,” I explained.
“You think me and Gemma are together?” he laughed.
“Well yes,” I replied with a bewildered expression on my face.
“Erm.. I.. Gemma.. Err.. ,” Matt began to splutter.
“Bloody hell Matt, whatever it is it can’t be that bad just spit it out,” I told him with a smirk on my face. I looked at Matt and saw that his cheeks were as red as beetroot and I knew that whatever he was going to tell me he was embarrassed about it.
“Gemma isn’t my girlfriend she’s my carer,” he stated, but refused to look me in the eye. “I don’t really need a carer anymore; it was mainly in the early days. I claim more hours than I’m probably really entitled to but I do that more for Gemma than me. She now relies on the money.”
“What you do need help with now?” I asked and then immediately regretted asking. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“No it’s ok. Initially I needed help with everything. You will remember that I’m sure,” I began to explain. I nodded and he continued. “Well, when I first went home I still needed help getting in and out of my chair, bathing, using the toilet and even feeding and dressing myself. Now though I only need help with those things when I’m feeling ill. Gemma helps to transport me to and from places, cooks for me and cleans the house. The only medical thing she helps with is my bowels.” Matt was looking at the table and became silent. I didn’t want to do anything that would show him pity but I didn’t want him to think his disability was a big issue. I squeezed his shoulder because I knew this was one area he could feel and said, “cool! So will Gemma be coming to Wembley with us or not?”
“No I will be perfectly fine for two days on my own,” he replied quite quickly as if to reassure me he didn’t really need a carer.
“Good! I’m quite looking forward to it just been us four. It will be like being back at uni again,” I stated and turned back to my pint. I suddenly had a warm feeling inside, and I just knew it was going to be a weekend to remember.