In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.
As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended and for which neither was fully prepared.
A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.
Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.
Knight after Knight. Chapter seventeen, part three.
The clinic told me I was in good shape for my age and expressed some surprise how I had kept going, still running my own business in my eight-eighth year. I pointed out that I didn’t exactly have a punishing schedule, and that Susie and Hannah had, in fact, been carrying most of the weight throughout our three-years active period. Having been through my medical history the new head physician, Dr Ray (whether Ray was his first or last name, I didn’t know) probed me for information.
“I’ve been looking at your background, Mr Knight. How’s the back these days?”
“No recurrence? No weakness? No pain?”
“Only when I climb the stairs too quickly.”
“Light-headedness or dizziness?”
“Occasionally, but usually only if I stand up too quickly.”
“When was your prostate last examined?”
“Don’t think it ever has been, Doctor.”
“Okay, we’ll see to that. Any waterworks problems? How many times do you have to get up in the night?”
“Seems okay; I sometimes get up two or three times.”
He took my pulse and blood pressure, listened to my back and front, checked my legs and ankles for swelling, then had me bend so he could check my prostate. After the examination, he smeared gel on my lower tummy and used the ultrasound machine they use on pregnant ladies.
“It is enlarged,” he said, “which explains the two or three visits each night. I’d like to do a biopsy but I’m not expecting anything problematic in the result.”
I went back the following day to be knocked out for the biopsy. When I came to afterwards, Jess was at my bedside.
“How’re you doing, Dad?” she asked.
“Oh, okay,” I said groggily, “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to take you back when you’re ready. We’ve decided you should move into the main house so I can keep an eye on you from now on. Okay?”
That morsel of information dragged me into a fully alert and less than happy state.
“This time last week,” I said, “I was flying back from a job in South America. An active partner in a business that was doing rather well. Suddenly I’m an invalid, now?”
“Not an invalid, Dad, and certainly not suddenly. We tried to keep it from you, but I can tell you now, that Hannah has been keeping an eye on you for a few months to make sure nothing goes wrong. Physically. I know you’re fine mentally; maybe a bit forgetful at times, but who isn’t? You have to accept, though, Dad, you’re eighty-seven years old, nearly eighty-eight. Things will start to go wrong eventually, and none of us wants you to be by yourself when that happens. You shouldn’t have to face it alone.”
I didn’t reply. Mostly because I couldn’t think of anything to say. She was right, of course, and for the first time in my life, I started to feel old. The realisation was overwhelming and I’m afraid I started to sob.
“Whatever’s the matter, Dad. I’m sorry if I’ve upset you, but we’re only thinking of you; what’s best for you.”
“It’s not you, love. I’m just having trouble accepting that I’m past my sell-by date and no more use to anyone.”
“You’re not that. We hope you have a lot of good years in you yet and I know David values having you around for advice when he needs it – which is more often than he’d admit to. Besides, you’re under contract to be here for Hannah’s twenty-first, remember?”
“I do, but that’s only eighteen months away. Not so long, is it?”
“Come home with me, Dad.”
I checked out and told Dr Ray to email the results to me. When we got back, I found that Jess had instructed the staff to move my bedroom from the annexe to the suite directly opposite the passenger lift. During the latest set of refurbishments, it had been created as a small flat, with a good-sized bedroom, a lounge and a bathroom. Although I didn’t need it yet, I was beginning to face up to my own decline and eventual end and was pleased to see that every aspect of the flat was fully accessible. David joined us as I was looking around.
“What do you think of it, Dad?” he asked.
“Looks like you’ve thought of everything.”
“Thank Kanene’s daughter, Martha. She has her mother’s flair. This was her first solo job and she was fully, and I mean comprehensively briefed by her mother.”
“Well, it’s almost perfect. But how do I make tea?”
“Do you want to be able to do that? I can have the facilities installed. Or you can just press the intercom button and ask for some to be brought up.”
“I’d prefer to make my own. I’d feel I needed to get dressed for someone to come in.”
“Even your own staff?”
“Your staff, David; not mine But, yes – even them. Maybe especially them.”
“As you wish, Dad.”
David was always true to his word. That was one of the things Sophie and I drilled into him when he was growing up – that and ‘if you want people to help you, you first have to make them want to help you’ oh, yes, and ‘only boring people get bored’. Anyway, he was. The very next day a team came in from a local kitchen supplier and installed a small kitchenette in my sitting area, adjacent to the en-suite shower room. Now I was happy. Now I could settle into my non-productive old age.