Learning To Love You More




Assignment #11
Photograph a scar and write about it.

Marcia Carmen
Burlington, Vermont USA



I was seven years old and walking to the bus stop with my mother. On this particular rainy day we were running a few minutes late, and all the other kids has already boarded. The door closed, the driver turned on the ignition, and as I crossed the street to board, the bus rolled slowly towards me. I briefly considered turning down one of the side streets, but I have a poorly developed sense of direction and I was afraid I'd get lost, so I just kept running forward. Eventually the bus caught up.
Had I turned, I would've been crushed to death. As it was, the tires didn't touch me at all and I remained conscious as the bus hit me, knocked me down, and rolled clear over me. Maybe this is my imagination, but I distinctly remember little flashes of light, electricity, blue and white starbursts erupting amidst the greasy mechanical grey of the monster's underbelly. The driver stopped when all the kids in the backseat started screaming.
I was a bloody mess on the pavement, but I didn't feel a thing. I remember being confused as to why I could not stand up, and what was all this red? And why was my mother crying? Not the slightest hint of pain, though I'd broken both legs and arms and sustained a slight head injury. I felt dreamy, floaty, surreal.
In the hospital they gave me morphine. I had a strange reaction to the morphine and lapsed into a three-day horror trip. For those three days I did not eat or sleep, I just clutched at whoever's hand and screamed. Gaping holes opened in the floor, completely at random, and threatened to swallow me up. My body was suddenly gaseous; parts of it would disengage, float in lazy spirals towards the ceiling. Someone was pushing me very fast through a crowded hallway. I was perched precariously on the back of a sofa. My mother turned into an owl and read to me from the stage of an empty auditorium.
The doctors wondered if I'd been severely brain damaged. They did tests, found nothing wrong. Finally someone decided to take me off the meds and I regained my composure, found a solid and comprehensible world.
I remember one nightmare from the hospital. I was in traction and it would be months before I could leave the bed or attempt walking, so this dream was about the fear of staying still. I dreamed that the hospital caught fire and I was on the top floor, in bed. The staircase aflame, the air black with smoke, me choking. My mother on the ground floor, yelling up at me, reaching. Me unable to move.
Now I'm fully recovered, but I have this white gash in the back of my head that makes my hair grow at weird angles.