Monday, 25 June 2007

Falling

One rainy evening in November, I was carrying my eighteen-month- old daughter home from nursery school when I had a momentous experience. I'd had a long, hard, frustrating day at work and I was struggling to cope with her bag of laundry, several sacks of groceries, and my own satchel of work-related materials. I was tired and cross and not looking forward to making dinner or getting my feisty toddler ready for bed.

Just as we were descending the cement stairs that led to the main street, it happened. I slipped. I'm still not sure just how I did it, but I managed to do it very well indeed. Down I went like a ton of bricks, landing squarely on both knees. Groceries, books and papers went flying, cabbages and broken eggs tumbling down the stairs. Dirty diapers, dungarees and bibs bestrewed the ground. But I managed to hold onto my baby.

My right knee was bleeding so badly that the blood pooled in my shoe and stuck to my tights, which were in shreds at both knees. My left knee had hit a stone and had an even deeper gash than the right. My carton of eggs was a mess of broken shells and slime and all the fruit I'd bought was bruised. But I walked the rest of the way home in a state of awe, tears of gratitude running down my face: it could have been so much worse. There was not a scratch on my baby. She hadn't been hurt or upset in the slightest and, if anything, seemed to think I'd been playing with her when we hit the road, so to speak.

The scars are still there: two shockingly white, thickened callouses across both knees that remind me of that wonderful day when I went down, but my baby stayed safe. I wear them with pride.

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12 comments:

Carole said...

Absolutely great story. Wonderful scars and good post. Why do our scars make the best stories?

Carolie said...

Wow...that brought tears of sympathy and shock to my eyes. Ow, ow, ow, ow. But I was not surprised to hear the eggs were smashed but the baby wasn't. Isn't motherhood amazingly powerful! Thank you for sharing that story!

Kanani said...

Oh, I remember how I got the scar on my knee!
Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I'm going on vacation this week. Pt. Reyes, and I won't have any email or cellphone access (not that we call each other!).

But I'll be thinking of you!

Mary Witzl said...

Carole -- Thank you for enjoying this post. I also think that scars make good stories, and given that, I am doubly blessed and can keep this going for some time to come. I'd like to hear other scar stories, too...

Carolie -- When I told this story to my friends and acquaintances in Japan, they all nodded and said 'Onna wa yowai, haha wa tsuyoi' -- women are weak, mothers are strong. I think the first part is a load of rubbish, but there is some truth in it. I'd say: Women are strong, mothers are tough as leather.

Kanani -- Have a good time up north! How embarrassing that I imagined Occidental was a town in Southern California, even after I'd actually been there. I'll try to get by without my daily Kanani fix.

Katie Alender said...

That's me, only I'm usually holding a drink. My world is in shambles, but my cocktail is safe. And that's all I need.

Kim Ayres said...

If only my scars were as noble - most of mine were created through acts of sheer stupidity

Mary Witzl said...

Katie -- I'd probably do the same now if I had a decently made Marguerita, something which seems impossible to find in the area I live in. I am virtually a tee-totaler until it comes to Margueritas. I suppose it is fortunate that I cannot get them here...

Kim -- Of course, I have plenty of other scars less nobly achieved, internal and external. But, as Carole has pointed out, they make great stories and serve to remind us of our humanity.

eg(scotland) said...

Hi - sorry I've been missing for a while. I remember when I was 10, and my sister a baby, my Mum fell down the stairs while carrying her. My Dad and I heard this almighty thump at the bottom of the stairs - Mum was lying in a heap with legs buckled under her, but still holding my sister who was fast asleep and hadn't felt or noticed a thing. Mum broke her ankle.

On scars, I have one that runs across from the middle of my neck to just about my left ear from an operation to remove a lump from my lymph gland several years ago. At the time the consultant said "Don't worry, it won't be too obvious, I've made the cut in your natural crease line!" I wanted to crease him!!

EG

Mary Witzl said...

EG -- That is an amazing story, and I'll bet your mother was proud of herself, though I can't imagine her broken ankle was any fun. I sprained my ankle badly just after my youngest was born, and remember what a headache it was trying to get things done around the house afterwards.

Sophia said...

Hi Mary. That story brought tears to my eyes too. Love is stronger than anything!

Mary Witzl said...

Hello, Sophia, and thank you for commenting on my blog.

Carolie said...

Mary, I've read this before. I knew exactly what the story was about, remembered the ending almost word for word.

Rereading it, I got tearful all over again.

You are a truly fine writer.