Last week, I had an initial appointment with a new dentist. After the hygienist finished cleaning my teeth, Dr. W. entered and asked about the pillow that lay beneath my behind. When I shared the brief back-story with her, acknowledging that my accident had occurred just over 1½ years ago, I caught that barely perceptible but familiar gleam in her eye. The one that conveys utter skepticism – or puzzlement. Yes, it was that long ago, I wanted to say, and yes, the pain lingers.
It’s the same doubt that I can read from a mile away. I can even smell it sometimes. The one that accompanies eye movements that are ready to roll. As if to say: Ya sure.
I suppose I could have rolled up my pants from the bottom, to expose my sadly raw and wrinkled knees. They would have spoken volumes, bore witness – if any of my exposed body parts could do the job – to the way I conduct much of my daily (work) life: ’tis true, I’ve been brought to my knees.
But why that textural quality on my rosy chafed skin? it’s actually a souvenir from Cambodia (would you believe it?!), a constant reminder of my traveling and exploring ways pre-fall. The marks come c/o the small nubby carpet I’d bought at an arts fair in Siem Reap – a mere 2 days before my accident. The same woven carpet that I’ve used countless times to roll and exercise my toes.
It’s a small price to pay, I figure, the rough, chapped, red-marked patches of skin on my knees, to be able to still write, surf the web, skype with friends around the world. But, like my pain, it is hidden from view.
They say that scraped and bruised knees are a badge of sorts, part of growing up. In my case, however, it’s more of a scarlet letter; marking me as “she-who-cannot-quite-sit-painlessly-yet.”
Perhaps, the next time someone meets me with that all-too-familiar glint (de doubt) in their eyes, the kind that says “no way you could be in pain with the way you look),” I really ought to just roll up my pants. After all, it’s my knees, though mute, that speak the truth.