Don’t all scars leave a mark? By definition, yes. But if you’re like me (read: clumsy, unaware of your flailing limbs, not afraid to jump off of things, etc.), you probably have more scars than you can count, but only remember how a select few of them actually happened. There’s a big difference in a nasty cut from that razor you should have already thrown out, than a busted elbow after making a conscious decision to go rollerblading in the rain. (Ask me about that one later.)
The scar story I remember best is the first one I got. I was really small, maybe five years old. Almost every night in the summer, my parents and I would take a walk around our neighborhood. The beautiful thing about this routine was that they did all the walking, while I enjoyed the luxury of getting pulled around by my dad in a red Radio Flyer wagon. I’ve always placed a pretty high value on traveling in style.
To keep something like pulling your daughter in a wagon exciting, my dad had attached a rope to the handle of the wagon. This gave him a little more length and made pulling me more comfortable, but mostly, it just allowed him to run really fast with the wagon behind him. This scared my mom quite a bit, but that of course only made us want to run up and down the streets even more.
The evening of the scar, my dad decided it would be good idea to run up the big hill right in front of our house. Sounds good. How could I object? These are the benefits of having an Army Ranger as your dad. Running up a hill, pulling a small human behind you, and making a game of it is not only really easy, but makes perfect sense.
We took off up the hill. I clinched the sides of the wagon with my hands and started smiling and squealing as usual. It was thrilling and terrifying, all at the same time. I wish I had the physics background to explain what happened next, but all I know is one second I was flying full steam ahead, and the next I was flipping backwards out of the wagon, scraping my back and rolling down the pavement.
My mom gets to me first, running up from behind. She whisks me back down to the house and as you might imagine, is less than thrilled this accident even occurred in the first place. I’m crying and moaning like a five-year-old would, more because I’m scared and less because what happened actually hurts. My dad runs into the bathroom right behind us and feels horrible, but knows I’m okay and that it could have been worse. My mom will feel that way too, eventually.
The end result of the accident is an ugly cut on my upper back and the scar left behind is just a little mark, you can barely even see it now. The reason I remember this scar so well and think of it often, is because I’ve watched the mark work its way down my back for the past twenty years. It’s weird. Like I said, the scar formed on my upper back, close to my right shoulder-blade. But now, the mark is more in the middle of my back, just to the right of my spine. I wonder when it landed there for good.
If you’re curious, this little scar didn’t stop my dad and me from running around in the wagon. In fact, I can probably think of a few more scars I’ve collected with him as my partner-in-crime and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’ve got a few good scars, chances are you’ve got a few good stories to tell, too.