A lesson in pain and suffering today. Though I was the pupil, rather than my daughter. A lessening of her suffering, as she graduates from primary bale to secondary scrapes and grazes. Only serving to heap greater psychic pain on me, as I am held back and made to repeat the past year of torment in my head.
Prior to the present passing out ceremony, whenever she came into harm, the anguish she felt was raw, unadulterated, untreatable and, incidently, my fault of causation whatever the external reality. With the pain siren howling, and depth charging the slight friction of blame, I would crank myself up into hysterical emotional overload. ‘She’ll bleed to death. She needs stitching. Get a compress on it til I can get her to the hospital. Call 999, curse 666. Will someone not deliver us from this catastrophe?’ Well, No longer.
Now she knows to wash down the wound even as she waves away my wringing hands. Then to toddle off and get a plaster. How to adroitly work the adhesive protective paper off and to line up the lint over the gash. The trickling blood does not faze her, for she is all cool application. Yet she is not detached, since she constantly explores the clotting process. Dragging me to the internet, in order to trace every interlocking ply of the coagulate weave. And also through her own forays, unpicking the scab, back through the clot, past platelets and fibrin, seemingly unsatisfied until she has located the enzymic source of her red Nile.
And thereby I am plucked into redundancy. Standing alone from me, she now looks to herself and her own body. My hysteria is cut off. Set adrift. There is no place for it to go, to drape itself. To lavish itself like a cataract of engulfing love. I tamp myself back down. Hysterectomy of my emotions. My daughter the locum gynaecologist. Only the surgery’s possibly botched. In hope, I lash myself to the mast of despair.
What if she’s punctured too many epidermal layers? That the laceration’s too deep, or gouged through too many inconvenient nooks and crannies, to be smoothly resurfaced by the clot’s chain gang of conscripted fibres? There they would be, backed up at the lip of an untraversable hollow. Chafing at the bit, angry red in hue. Tendrils extended over the gorge in vain, grappling for a hook beyond, with which to establish purchase. But where they are met with nothing. Holding back the press of their brethren with a flabelliform sweep of outstretched filaments, one plucky member suspends himself a line in an attempt to span the breech. But he just hangs pendulously, beyond redemption and his lariat is severed, consigning him to the void. His fellows froth and writhe in their stranded sterility. Still the lurching impress from behind. Will no one give the signal ? They knot and grind in their constriction. It’s getting ugly. Would then the fluffy pink french polishers, sign off the work and just stretch an ill-fitting flap of strangulated skin to cicatrize? And thereby only italicize the blemish?
For there are those scars that fade quickly and those that mark for life. Brought about by her involuntary clumsiness and unimagined consequence, and my voluntary inconsequence and all too imaginable ineptitude. My poor baby. No more of doctors and nurses. Now we can converse about cosmetics and covering up.