Sunday, 17 February 2019

Trauma Remembered

I woke up with the memory of a childhood trauma pulsating in my head.

Around 10 years' old, I had been "tight-rope walking" on the top of the iron railings that divided our house from our neighbour's.

The type of railings on which I was tight-rope walking (the car and flower pots are new since that event of 60 years' ago).
Mother had often warned me against this practice, and, no doubt, forbidden it on the basis of its inherent danger. I protested that it was not dangerous for me, since I had the skill to avoid an accident. She warned that I  could lose my balance and fall. I answered that, of course I would lose my balance; I always lost my balance after a few steps, but, as soon as I began to lose my balance, I would hop off the railing and land on my two feet. Each time I went onto the railing, I hoped to extend the distance walked.

On this one fateful day, however, as I went to hop off the railing, the side of my foot momentarily touched against the railing, and, instead of landing on my feet, I toppled over and crashed head-first on the concrete path. The brunt of the fall was taken by the bones surrounding my right eye: my forehead, nose and cheek bone. Waking from my sleep this morning, these three areas remembered the trauma as if it were only recent.

I know what brought this memory to the fore. It was the selfie I recently took for the cover of my second book of poetry, recently published:

The crookedness of my nose is very apparent in this photo. Hippocrates asserts that a crooked nose is always evidence of a poor physician, since a broken nose can always be restored to its correct shape, either by the physician's hands, or by stuffing the nostrils and using plaster and bandages on the outside to keep the shape.

My physician was my mother. I must have been knocked unconscious by the fall, and awoke in bed with my mother ministering to me. She gave me something to drink and asked me questions to elucidate the extent of my concussion. She offered me a chocolate finger, but I thought it was her own finger.

I felt vague, particularly in the area of my head impacted, as well as in pain. I drifted back to sleep. It was observed that a doctor was not necessary, so my nose remains crooked.

The memory of the trauma is still there in my head. My left nostril is narrower than my right and more inclined to get blocked.