These Old Scars of Mine

Where mouthy meets pregnancy hormones and a can of Brasso


Some scars, like Padma Lakshmi's, are sexy and intriguing. Mine are all quite banal — small battle wounds from days of yore filled with youthful ignorance and accident.

I have two prevalent scars on my face. One on my right cheek, next to my nose. It has faded throughout the years, and, I suspect, will be swallowed into a fold of loose skin as I age.

I've had this scar since I was little. I have no memory of getting it, but I am aware of the circumstances behind it. When I was small, I carried a blanket. Even now I know that I was emulating Linus from the Peanuts. Strangely, we had a beagle, but her name was Susie. She isn't part of this story, but another dog is.

Apparently I was playing with my aunt's dog, flicking my blanket, which the dog would chase. According to legend, one flick was too close to my face and the dog got me with its teeth rather than the blanket. I feel this must be true because, even though I'm a cat person, I have never hated dogs and owned them up until moving to California.

My other scar, however, is the negative consequence of getting mouthy with an older sibling whose pregnancy may have clouded her better judgment. As I recall, my sister showed up with her husband (but not her son. How weird is that?) while my mom was at the hospital with my dad. I believe they were farming his veins for what was, at that time, his upcoming open heart surgery.

My sister told me that Mom sent her over to "watch" us and promptly took over the cable box. I remember some back and forth before I muttered the ultimate in rude. I called her (under my breath but she has the hearing of a hunting dog) a bitch. At that, I turned from her. However, something made me turn back. When I did — SMACK!

Right in the kisser with a can of Brasso. Hurt like a mother! Blood was absolutely everywhere and I was crying. Her husband (now her ex) took me to the hospital where they paged my mom to come down to admit me. Nine stiches from a plastic surgeon doing her residency (thank the goddess!) later, and I started school with a bandaged mouth.

The scar is there, but it's not bad. The stiches were well-done. I was told I was lucky none of my teeth were knocked out. I recall being told it was my fault, and that I should just tell people I walked into a door or fell down the stairs. Like that was going to happen!

Years later, it's just part of the landscape that is my face.

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