tiny vessels

I bruise easily.

Perhaps it is because of the pale cast of my skin - maybe I bruise at the same rate as everyone else, but it's simply more noticeable because I keep myself perpetually out of the sun. I've never been anemic, so I know that's not the cause.

When I was a child, I had so many bruises up and down my shins that some concerned teacher asked me if things were okay at home. I remember staring at her blankly, and when she indicated my bruised legs, I laughed and told her that I climbed a lot of trees and jungle gyms.

There are certain bruises I remember, can relate the stories of, even years later. The fist-sized ones in the creases of both elbows from when I first gave blood. The one on my knee during He Who Gets Slapped, acquired from the way I dropped to the stage night after night in one of our dances. The one on my inner thigh from falling on the handle bar of my bike two seconds after yelling, hands in the air, "look, Ma, no brains!"

I can make particularly good bruises with stage makeup, perhaps because I've so often studied the patterns of natural ones on my own skin.

I have one on my thigh now, just above the knee, vaguely rectangular and the dirty brown-yellow-green of an old wound. I don't know what it's from, but I've managed to bump it a couple times since I first noticed its appearance, the sudden pain shooting up my leg. If it were my daughter's, she would have no doubt poked it herself out of curiosity, coming up to me afterward and saying, "Mommy, I have a bruise, it hurts. See?"

I much prefer physical bruising to emotional. When people accidentally bump into a physical bruise and see you wince, they understand why. You can locate a physical bruise by sight, and baby that area until you heal. No one tends to question how long it's taken for a physical bruise to fade, and its cause is usually simply and quickly explained away.

Not so with the emotional bruises, which rise suddenly to the surface months after the blows were delivered, brushed by casual passersby with no intent to harm and no way to ease the shooting pain they caused.

1 comment:

  1. I have the same physical problem, and am often having to explain bruises I don't even remember getting.

    I like your extension to emotional bruises... have made a fool of myself lashing out against those who have no idea what the hell is wrong with me. Nice post.


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