happened to your face? I can see the question in their eyes even as they cast quick and surreptitious glances in my direction. But they never actually ask it. They simply stare, amazed at the disfigurement and damage on someone’s face. The face. The first thing, unless you’re a pervert, that one notices. It is either the eyes, the mouth, the shape of the chin. It is human nature to see and analyze a face in mere moments. There is an immediate response that says good, bad, friendly, sweet, ugly, beautiful, distrustful, untrustworthy, hot, homely, dirty, weird, sneaky, seeking, loving, sad, angry, hurt, happy, joyful and a myriad of others. There is no point in denying that I have done the same; wanted to know what had happened to cause something, some disfigurement, but was too afraid to ask. Afraid of all manner of things; confrontation, ignominy, silence, isolation. But no more will I be afraid to ask because in this place of disfigurement-induced insecurity I speak of, I have recently visited.
Three days ago, I was walking from my house to my parents’ house (they weren’t there, but my sister and brother were. My brother is my sister’s husband. I don’t have a blood brother, but if I did, he would be just like Chris. But I digress). I didn’t realize as I was “gawking along” ( as Granny Minton would say), that my sister’s Bassett pups were around. I would most definitely have paid more attention. What happened is this; I tripped over one of the pups and, as it befell so fast and not having adequate time to throw arms out to brace my fall, fell, face first onto the gravel driveway. (the pup, by the way, was unharmed)
I was certain, as I immediately began to feel the blood pour (and knew that if I saw it, I would faint dead away), that my nose was broken and likely some teeth were missing. I went into the house and freaked my sister and brother out. I was a mess and I was very afraid that I was going to be sick just thinking about it. Funnily enough, after I rinsed with water, the nurse in me took over. I knew when I looked at the gash between my eyes that it needed stitches, but I, being as nurses are (stubborn and self-sufficient to a fault), thought I could just throw some Steri-Strips on there and be good. Luckily for me, I couldn’t find my stash and my sister, bless her soul, drove me to the ER. Five stitches and close to a third of the skin on my face in a clean line from mid-forehead to chin later, I am wondering what the heck happened and know, without doubt, that God protected me from more serious injury. I know with absolute certainty that it could have been much, much worse.
A few people did ask and I was relieved to know that there were people who look at my face and wonder what happened; then ask. It usually brought a bit of sympathy with a dash of humor. I don’t hold it against the pup. She was just doing what she does. But the next time I want to know what happened to somebody, I’m going to ask them. The worst they can do is tell me to mind my own. I don’t want to be only a bystander. I want to be a part of the humor, the pain, the embarrassment, the insecurity and in the midst of all that, I hope to be, on some small scale, an encouragement.