The Fall

The concrete is damp and the rubber soles of my shoes are thick and dense, like the toe brake on roller skates, which is why the shoes stop moving and my feet continue on. The fall is terrifying and the one-inch gash on my left cheek is embarrassing. The bloody line on my face sends me racing to the first aid section of the drug store to get whatever that stuff is that helps lacerations heal without leaving scars.  

It’s called Mederma and it really works! After a single application the gash looks less red and angry. I wonder what would happen if I put this all over my whole body. Would every blemish and old scar fade away? I’m tempted. My advice to the vain among us: keep Mederma around because you never know when you’ll fall on your face. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work instantly. The gash’ll be the first thing people notice about me for the next week. 

“You tell everyone who asks about it that I’m left-handed,” David says as we’re on our way to church. He knows how this looks and he’s adamant that people know he helped, not harmed. 

“It’s funny that you think anyone is going to ask,” I tell him gloomily. “People will assume the worst.”

“No one assumes the worst at church.”

But, as usual, my understanding of human nature is accurate. As we enter the sanctuary our fellow congregants steal furtive glances then look away. Because they’re determined to be tactful (though there’ll be talk later) I have no opportunity to clear David’s name. Also, I’m compelled to explain that ordinarily under these circumstances I simply would’ve stayed away. But I have altar guild duty and so am bound by my annoying sense of responsibility to attend, a situation that serves to reinforce my father’s emphatic advice which resonates from my childhood: “Jennifer, do never volunteer!”

This same sort of surreptitious conclusion jumping happened years ago when we were living in Cairo. David and I were playing squash and he caught my eye with the side of his racket. I was a beginner and had taken a stance in the wrong place, so it was my mistake. By the time we walked into the Swissair that evening to meet friends for dinner I had quite a shiner. David and I thought it would be entertaining to see if the other couple brought it up. They didn’t; though in retrospect I guess we should have set the record straight. Steve and Molly probably still think of me as a victim and David as a violent man. 

Another result of the fall is a badly bruised knee. I’ve never been a proponent of icing sore joints or injuries, mainly because I’m cold enough already. Right now, in the middle of the summer, I have heavy fuzzy socks on my frozen feet. This particular ice pack, purchased when David had a shoulder issue, is meant for use at joints and it wraps handily over and around my knee. Lore has it that the cold is supposed to lessen swelling, which will ease the pain. I’m dubious. When has cold ever felt good?

To my amazement, when I remove the ice pack, the knee feels better. But only temporarily. Ten steps later it’s sore again. No warriors for me for a while.

As well as coming down hard on my knee, I tried to catch myself with my hand, which is now purple and swollen at the base of my thumb, into my palm, and down my inner wrist. Right handed, I’ve never given much thought to how much I use my left hand; but now I’m aware because it hurts every time I clench it. So, also no downward facing dogs. 

I don’t often feel fragile, but I do now; and this fragility leads to a lack of mindfulness. I pull out from the driveway and can’t remember if I closed the garage door. I go to the grocery store and forget to buy eggplant for the moussaka. I stand in my closet and can’t remember why I’m there. I guess the knowledge to hang on to here is that bodies heal. Also, it could have been so much worse. 

 I've tripped over these dangerous toes several times, so it was inevitable that one day I wouldn't be quick enough to save myself. They're are now retired. 

I've tripped over these dangerous toes several times, so it was inevitable that one day I wouldn't be quick enough to save myself. They're are now retired. 

 Warm socks are vital any time of year if you're me.

Warm socks are vital any time of year if you're me.

 A new addition to my medicine cabinet. 

A new addition to my medicine cabinet.