When I First Got Stitched Up

The first time I ever needed stitches, I was 13 and I was standing outside the door of my math class, feeling a little sorry for myself (because I sucked at Pre-Calculus). The other 8th graders were filing out of the room: some I knew, many I didn’t. I stared off into the middle distance, clutching my heavy textbooks to my chest when, out of the complete blue, an object hit my left eyebrow and I saw white.

Funny how getting injured is such a visceral experience. I don’t necessarily remember the thoughts going through my head, it was more like my memory created words to translate what my body was going through. For instance:

La la la la I hate Math.

WAMMMMM

White out!

Wh-Wh-What just happened?

I feel funny.

The hallway stopped. The kids coming out of the room stopped. Someone screamed. Maybe that someone was me? I hit the wall next to the entrance for support and dropped my books. Something warm was running down my face. I reached up and gingerly felt the left eyebrow. My assessment: That can’t be pee. I don’t pee up there.

The series of events after that were also a haze. I walked into the math class, my teacher, Mr. Donnely, a goofy bearded man with thick round glasses, looked up over his frames to greet us and his jaw dropped. “What happened to your face, Natalie!?!”

So, as a kid (and really as I always will be, I guess) I can kinda, sorta’ keep it together if no one asks me how I am or what happened to me recently if I am going through a traumatic event.  For instance: If I just got terrible news of a death, I’ll soldier through the day and make believe that I’m stronger than I look for the sake of the people around me. But, the minute an authoritative person asks me “What the fuck happened to you?! You look like something bad happened! What’s wrong?” My house-of-cards facade goes down in a puff of wind and I wind up blubbering like a baby (even though I HATE crying in public).

I suppose what I was trying to do was act totally normal, because I didn’t want to start crying. And there I was, a 13 year old version of me, with a gash in my head, blood streaming down my face and onto my shirt, walking into Mr. Donnely’s math class with a stupid smile on my face. I’ll bet I even said “Hi, Mr. Donnely!” in as chipper a voice as I could.

Crying like a baby, I was rushed to the principal’s office, they called home, Mom was sent to pick me up, and I was taken to a doctor for stitches.

But, what hit me in the face? No one else had any weird objects thrown at them with enough velocity to cause stitches! It wasn’t big, like a building beam or a brick. But, it must have been thrown really hard.

When the bleeding was staved with gauze in the office, I was escorted to my homeroom (which also happened to be the math classroom) to pick up my coat. As I walked in to the room I stepped on a heavy plastic Chess Piece. For whatever reason, I bent down, picked it up and KNEW that was the culprit. I had been slingshotted, in the face, with a Queen.

Really? C’mon. Who in the world gets hit with a chess piece?!

I don’t have a very prominent scar, in fact, I can barely see where that chess piece hit me. Being a testament to the age I grew up in (you know, those crazy 90’s!) I was in class the next day and not one teacher said a word about terrorism or guns or my purple, green, and pink face. Guns are scary. Chess pieces are, too.

January 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm by Natalie Allen