birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Scar Under My Chin

I was wearing my new ring while having breakfast. I was in my school uniform and my mom was getting ready to go to work downstairs at her pharmacy. The ring was an adjustable aluminum kind with prongs holding a plastic jewel. One of the prongs must’ve gotten caught in something earlier because it was pulled away from the jewel and pointing upward. I don’t remember how or why I put my hand up against my chin and punctured through the skin with the ring. My memory skips to being carried in my mother’s arms and looking down at her pristine, white lab coat as it got dotted with blood. Beneath the lab coat, I could see the floor of the house, then the stairs, then the cement ground. My mom stopped a pickup truck on the street and asked the driver if he would drive us to the hospital. I think this was the only time in my mom’s life that she hitchhiked.

The first part of this story might as well have the mute button on; I don’t have any memory myself crying, or any other sounds. As soon as we got to the hospital, though, the mute goes off and the volume gets turned up to full. I remember flailing my legs against the bed and choking while screaming and crying as two nurses held me down on either side.

Some time later, my mom took me back to the hospital to get my stitches out. This time, we took a cab and I was very calm. The doctor gave me a toy to hold on to while he clipped and pulled the stitches out. Through my skull, I could hear the stitches being tugged, and also feel the texture of them as they scraped through the patched-up skin. The remaining scar is under my chin so it doesn’t get noticed very often, not like the scar on my forehead from the time I fell on cement mound a few months before the ring incident.