this pause

I’m doing an isolation journal prompt series and welcome you to join! I’m only sharing responses to prompts that feel acceptable enough to share (don’t involve others for example).

Prompt:

Write about a time when you (or your character) experienced something that may be a common human event (for example: scratching an itch, sneezing, petting an animal, etc.), with concrete language that brings the experience to life. Try using all of the senses in order to avoid cliché.

The glass shattered in my hand in an instant. I was so deep in my thoughts that I considered maybe I had accidentally broken it apart myself not realizing the strength of my grip. I slowed down, saw blood pouring from my right index finger, sighed, and cursed. I was in the middle of making an incredible breakfast — homemade tortillas, refried beans, and a scrambled egg. My first thought as I looked down at my hands was how I was going to be able to continue making breakfast now that this silly incident happened.

It’s funny how one’s brain does this in serious events. In bigger moments of my life, I’ve caught my brain fixating on the small resulting inconveniences rather than realizing the magnitude of whatever happened. “I guess I should call my mom to tell her there’s no need to pick me up anymore” was a major thought I had after seeing a teammate slammed and pinned against a garage wall by another teammate’s car. Those small thoughts are like lifelines for the brain. Ah something simple we can resolve now that everything is derailed!

I’m not one to get woozy from blood but I still found myself nearly fainting as I surveyed the damage. The cut was deep and I needed help. As my mental capacity began to shut down thanks to the unrelenting feelings of fainting, I made my way to the bathtub to bleed, call my mom, and wait for my roommates who hadn’t picked up. The bathtub was an odd combination of cold and comforting.

For some reason, calling my mom who lives across the country and can’t handle the sight let alone talk of blood made sense to me in the moment. I just knew I needed to call someone who would be on the hook to talk to me to keep me alert. As we spoke and she asked what happened, I couldn’t remember the correct name for the finger I damaged and cursed as I called it the “you know – the stupid pointing finger”.

Accidental bodily harm is always terrifying. I find the pause after something happens to be all consuming. In rugby, we were taught that it was more dangerous to stop playing after an injury and to play through people getting hurt around us. I never fully caught onto that line of logic especially with the kind of injuries one saw and suffered in that sport.

This pause happens whether we’re alone and a small glash dish combusts in our hands or on the world’s greatest stage surrounded by a crowd brought to silence. Our humanness laid bare and proven. Our brains brought to attention in a way that would make advertisers jealous. Seeing a precious human life threatened, threatens our own. Seeing a part of our body exposed, we feel that we’ve been betrayed, humbled, and reminded all at once. Oh, our fragile flesh and bones. How did we forget what we’re made of?

It’s been a few weeks since this happened. I managed to reopen the wound twice and now can’t stop touching the brutal bump that’s slowly turning into a scar. I’m a fidgeter and, despite having 4 rings across my two hands, this soon to be permanent scar is just too enticing to be left alone. I find the physical healing process fascinating. It’s so rare to be able to actively watch a part of yourself be resilient and recover. Day by day, I have my very own reminder of our capacity to heal. For some reason, this brought to mind a favorite quote of mine which I’ll leave you with;

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”

– Ben Okri

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