Scars

A few months back my mother made me buy bottled grapefruit juice and a cannister of bug spray at the nearby grocery. Half asleep, I got up and went there, not even so much as brushing my teeth or washing my face. It’s pretty gross, but that’s not the point of the story.

The bug spray was pretty high up, which at first I didn’t bother to ask because I left my mind on my bed, but it certainly can be questionable. What if there was an earthquake? We could probably survive unless these metal cans fall on our heads, ruining the survivor story and let’s face it, it’s a pretty lousy way to die. Saved from death brought by an earthquake by a different death by metal containers? I don’t think so. Anyway, that’s not the point of the story either.

Too shy to ask and too afraid to interact with my coarse voice and morning breath, I grabbed a bar of laundry soap. I specifically chose Perla because a. It was the only one that’s not about to break and b. It smelled good. I figured I would coax the can of bug spray into wobbling over and I would catch it. I have tried that maneuver countless times at the grocery before, with bag of chips and sanitary napkins. It all landed safely in my arms. And so I set aside the bottled juice and executed my plan, when lo and behold, due to my incredible reflexes, it fell on my forehead.

I have high pain tolerance, so I just grunted and took the bug spray while I put the bottled juice on the bullseye where it fell. It was above my eyebrow, inches away from my face. There were shots of pain throbbing in my head, but nothing close to a concussion. I walked to the counter to pay, pretending I was all right when in my mind I told myself that I could have just asked. What is so wrong about asking a staff to help me out? My introversion got the best of me and my forehead. My train of thought was distracted when an old lady told me “Dumudugo ka” or “You’re bleeding”. I looked at the bottle of grapefruit juice and there it was. I looked at the can of bug spray and there it was again, so that was where it landed.

You know how teenage girls get embarrassed when they get back leaks on their period? Well this time, I was bleeding on a completely different area, but it embarrassed me all the same. Is it a normal feeling when something inside you is spilling out? I’d dig deeper into that, but that’s not the point of the story.

The crew at the grocery gave me some cotton to put on my cut, and as soon as I paid I dashed back home. I peeked at my wound, and it shocked me. I’ve never seen myself bleed that much before. In that part of my body I mean, but I won’t push through that topic because I don’t want to gross anyone out. Mom was wondering why I was holding cotton on my face and then I told the whole story. She asked me to show it to her and I removed the cotton.

Surprise does not even cover her reaction. She kept repeating how big it was and why the grocery didn’t give me first aid. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t because I left immediately. My sister shuddered at the sight of it. They said I should go to the hospital and so we did. This time, I really had to wash my face and brush my teeth. There was no turning back from human interaction in such an early time. Well, early in my part.

Before we took a cab though, my mom barged into the grocery store. And like any mother would, she talked some sense to the workers. Half the time I was thinking that it was my fault too. For someone who is supposed to be a writer, someone with the freedom of speech, someone who was in a leverage because of the saying ‘the customer is always right’, I didn’t utter a single word for help. It could have saved me the trouble of a bleeding face and a confrontation. It astounded me that I still thought of everybody else when I’m the one with an injury. I started to cry quietly, not knowing what I was feeling or where the tears were coming from. Sympathy? Humiliation? The aftermath of the pain and agony I should have felt when it fell on my head? The awkwardness of the confrontation?

After my mother had said what she needed to say in my part, well aside from the guilt of putting the staff in such a situation, we took a cab to the hospital. I texted my boyfriend Eric about what happened. At the emergency room they would ask me repeatedly what happened, which made me realize how stupid it must sound to them, like it was from a cartoon but only this time you don’t just get those stars dancing above your head. They said I needed stitches. And at the age of twenty, it was the first time in my entire life that I had an injury so bad it needed stitches. Twenty! Who in their twenties still gets silly injuries that require stitches? Me. I needed four.

In the middle of my stitching process, Eric called. Drunk on anaesthesia and my lack of hand-eye coordination, I answered the phone. He said he left as soon as he got my message and got worried when I didn’t answer. I know I didn’t got hit by an anvil but concussions can get pretty bad. Waiting for my meds, he arrived and gave me what was left of the chocolates I have been gobbling at his place. He always knew that all it took was for me to eat chocolate to feel better. And with the meds kicking in I was glad I had a shoulder to lean on to. It sounds so romantic and all, but it still isn’t the point of the story.

I had to drink antibiotics and clean my cut, making sure it never got wet thus securing it with bandaids. I had follow-up checkups while it healed and if it did they’d take the stitches off.

Honestly after all of the whirlwind of emotions and medications, I thought my scar was pretty cool. I called it my thug life stage. I wore cute bandages, accessorizing my injury. Who cares if I got my forehead cracked open, I got a pink bandaid for it! I took the bandaid off if someone wanted to see and laughed if they shuddered. It didn’t look pretty but I liked it anyway.

So here’s the point of the story.

Little accidents happen, that’s a part of life. But these mishaps are not something to be ashamed of or forget about. Because of that silly accident, it made me feel more human. So what if I’m twenty and I’m a klutz? So what if I thought my cut was cool? So what if I cried for an unknown reason? So what if I didn’t bother to ask for assistance that day few months ago? I don’t have to keep it together all the time, no matter what age I’m in. All these flaws, all these misfortunes, are stepping stones into knowing who you are and accepting what life has to offer you. It will hurt. It will throb in pain. It will make us go in tears. But these will all if not pass, make us better.

Fast track to my 21st birthday, you can barely see a faint scar on my face other than those from puberty. But I had another injury. I scraped a deep layer of skin on my left leg on a lone cable holder. It looks like this one will scar. But you know what they say about battle scars or any scar for that matter, it shows how you have recovered without ever forgetting. And sometimes it’s better to be kept reminded than forget.

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