July 4, 2000
No Scars


We were talking quietly in bed this morning ... about our Fourth of July plans, about my cough (and whether or not I should go see a doctor tomorrow), about this and that and the other thing  ... when David suddenly pointed to my arm.

"What's this?" he asked. And he gently touched the scar on my right forearm.

"Drunken argument, arm through window, early 1980's," I replied matter-of-factly. "I've shown it to you before." I've taken him on a *tour* of my various scars, mutilations, childhood injuries and surgical mementos, many times before.

"I guess I've just never seen it in this light," he said, and he tenderly examined the two-inch ribbon of taut, pink scar tissue. "What happened?"

It was the Fourth of July, I told him. We'd had a family barbecue at our house that day, and both my ex-husband and I had been drinking for hours. After everybody else went home, the two of us got into a drunken screaming argument, and I wound up slamming my arm through a window. I went on to recount how we wrapped my arm in a bath towel, hoping to stop the worst of the bleeding.  An hour later, though, when it was still 'gushing profusely,' my ex grudgingly put me into the car and drove  to the emergency room. Four hours, fourteen stitches and $350 later, I was good as new.

"And that wasn't the only Fourth of July I spent in an ER," I told David. 

I pointed to the bottom of my right foot,  to a thick, one-inch knot of scar, just above my right heel. "This is where I stepped on a broken beer bottle in bare feet."

"Were you drinking?" David asked.

I nodded. "Of course." Ahhhh, memories.

"Isn't it nice to know that you're probably not going to be spending your Fourth of July in an emergency room this year?" David said. 

Yes. Yes, it is. In fact, it's nice to know that I'm not going to be spending my Fourth of July doing a LOT of the stuff that I used to do.  I'm not going to be bleeding on anyone's car upholstery.  I'm not going to stand in the middle of the street and engage in a screaming match with my neighbors.  I'm not going to throw my wristwatch out of a second-story bathroom window. I'm not going to have any uncomfortable conversations with law enforcement personnel.  I'm not going to hit on my boyfriend's best friend. I'm not going to be behind the wheel of a car, weaving towards the nearest convenience store at 1:49 a.m.  I'm not going to be hurling profanities at family members. I'm not going to accidentally set anything on fire: oven mitts, shrubbery, lawn furniture, in-laws. I'm not going to be smashing plates of spaghetti against the wall. I'm not going to be making pathetic long-distance phone calls to former boyfriends.  I'm not going to fall down in anybody's driveway/living room/kitchen/backyard. I'm not going to throw up on anybody. (I might accidentally PEE on them.  But I'm sure as hell not going to throw up on them.)

And I'm definitely not going to be adding anything new to the Scar Collection.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody! Stay safe, sober and sane!

Celebrating her *independence* from dysfunction,

throw a rock