“Tell me… tell me about…that.” I image a million people have said to themselves, when they saw a noticeable scar I’ve worn for years and often forget it exists.
Once upon a time, there was a little five year old me, who lived under the sweet smell of honeysuckle, in a land of heavy humidity. A place where rainbows arched over our southern gem, where cockroaches were as big as my hand, and the taste of tea was sweeter than sugar. It was a time of discovery, friendships, and freedom.
I was adventurous: learning card games at a young age, eating my neighbor’s dried cat food, playing in the large courtyard in my undies, and taking wilderness hikes with my family to backwoods watering holes and parks.
Five. It was a year of growing thick skin. At the top end of the growth chart, towering above my classmates, I was often teased for my standout features and called names that were not so nice; all because I wasn’t ordinary. Yet, despite those meanies, I still managed to meet a few friends that I played with often. One being my brother, of whom was just younger than I. We enjoyed playing outside tossing balls back and forth, riding our big wheels and pushing each others buttons, I mean what kind of siblings would we be if we didn’t.
One sunny afternoon, my brother found a bottle and brought it to me. Worried that he would hurt himself, I took it from him and ran up the sidewalk toward the trash bin. On my way, I tripped over a shoddy patch job tumbling to the ground, bottle in hand.
The next few hours were a blur, as consciousness came and went. My first recalled memory as I laid upon the sidewalk was a man, with white striped tube knee high socks pulling off a belt, holding up his cut off shorts. My last was laying on the hospital gurney watching an ER nurse cut my favorite rainbow long sleeve shirt. I was devastated as the scissors separated each stripe.
Though many memories have been long forgotten, my mother was good about filling in the blanks. Such would include, the man who put a tourniquet on my arm was white as a sheet when she opened the front door to my blood curdling scream. The drive to the hospital in our car, instead of an ambulance, because we didn’t have insurance. The long wait in the hospital. And the block on my arm, as a more serious case came in and they wheeled me back out to the waiting room. All covered by trauma.
The end result? Five hours of micro surgery, ironically by Dr. Glass, to reattach the severed artery and several nerves between my wrist and hand, then the closing of my delicate skin with thirty six stitches, a year of art therapy, followed by many years of a confusing set of memories: cast, hospital visits, more therapy, all a lifetime of ago, that played a huge part of preparing my hand for all that it would experience over time.