No, not the Stones album, actually.
So I fell down a week ago. Like, fell down as in ate it. Munched it. Kissed the sidewalk. It was...epic, at least judging by my injuries. A bleeding, fat lip where I bit myself. A black not-quite eye, more like a black cheekbone, where my sunglasses shoved into my face. Another small, greenish lump of a bruise near my jawline. And that's just the stuff above my neck.
It wasn't a trip, wasn't a stumble, but was some kind of careening, out of control, headlong rush into a metal gate. I was running, because my son likes to race me home from school. I usually resist his requests to race, at least until we're much closer to our house, because, duh, I hate to run. But that day, in my boots, my cute, low-heeled, up to my knees brown leather boots with no traction on the soles I thought, "why not?"
Reader, I was running fast. It's clear from the location and sheer number of bruises on all four limbs that I bounced off that gate more than once. Else, how do I have bruises on both my inner and outer forearms? All I truly remember is the feeling of things turning sour and south very quickly, a sickening panic of feeling totally out of control and being unable to correct what was going wrong. And then, my face hurt.
All week long I've been making jokes about my husband taking a swing at me, to explain the red and purple and now yellowish bruise on my cheek. Ha ha! And someone I know, and generally like, came up to me and said, "oh, I remember doing something like that and how stupid I felt afterward!" But the thing is -- I didn't feel stupid. It wasn't that kind of fall, where you trip, and go splat, and recover and tuck your hair behind your ear and off you go, hoping you didn't look quite as stupid as you know you just did.
Not to sound all melodramatic, but it was some fall, and it shook me, and made me feel alternately shaky and weepy and just generally vulnerable for a solid few days early last week. What a charmed life I have lived so far, to go four decades on the planet without a serious blow or injury. No broken bones, no lying in traction. Not even a sprained ankle! (Such is the physical life of a lazy bookworm.) Maybe I need to start climbing more mountains?
In related news (sorta, you'll see): I am writing a memoir. Though not exactly climbing mountains or snowboarding in the High Sierras, this feels like dangerous work. It's dicey, dredging up the past, remembering all that stuff that people (read: family) wanted you to just forget and shut up about, already. I think that's the danger of growing up in a family where people (again, read: same family) want you, expect you, require you to shut up and just put one foot in front of the other. Trouble is, the child becomes an adult, an adult who still feels the need to ponder and mull and rehash and relive and puzzle out: just what the hell happened here, folks?
When I crashed into that metal gate last Monday, part of me later wondered if somehow, some part of my psyche is still trying to get me to shut the hell up. I thought of Carolyn See, and how after the wrenching business of writing her terrific memoir, Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America, she came down with a bad case of meningitis, or some other nasty viral disease. The brain is powerful. It know what it wants to do, what it has been conditioned to do for decades on decades. So, again with the melodrama, but it's true that for just a moment or two, I wondered if perhaps my brain was trying to shut me up. For good! (Cue the dramatic music: duhn, Duhn, DUHN!).
Well. I am on the mend. The lip is nearly healed, the bruises are fading, and I'm almost ready to step back into my cute boots that are now sorely scuffed on one toe. The writing is going...well, the writing is going slow. December is a bad month for somebody who is already lax on writing discipline. Still, my yellow legal pad is slowly filling up. Maybe in some not-so-distant week, I'll even need to move on into a brand new legal pad.
That is, if my brain doesn't grab the wheel and send me hurtling over some cliff.