A sense of timingCheerfully, the doctor plunged the needle into her chubby thigh. "Don't worry about all that grit in your knee," he said, in a mock-serious tone. "Most of it will wiggle out. The rest will work its way to your heart and kill you when you're ninety." Then he laughed. She carried the scars of that fall all her life - a slip on the wet leaves, an ankle twisted over the kerb and then the perfect glide on face and knees, body arched to save the new patterned anorak she'd worn for the first time, that wet October day. She'd been cautious on slippery surfaces ever after, avoiding skating and skiing, distrusting mud. Seventy-eight years of watching her step. No more accidents for her. She looks at her scarred knees and wonders about the doctor's comment. Tomorrow will be her ninetieth birthday. Today, there's no sign of the grit.
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