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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

When I Smile

There is a little scar up on my cheek and below my eye on the right side. It's just a faint horizontal indentation and small like short-grain rice. It shows up when I smile, and I don’t really notice it unless I look for it. It’s a little feature of personal topography that connects me to some family history.

At age 3, my parents were separated, and I stood about eye-level with doorknobs.

I was visiting my grandma’s house with my mom. I was told that I ran downstairs into my little room there and slammed the door. My mom burst in after me too quickly.

The beautiful doorknob was shiny brass and had an outer, raised diameter and a concave center. It made solid, forceful contact with my squishy little face and broke the skin.

The part I recall was sitting on the dryer and bleeding for a very long time while the adults tried to patch me up. My face did not want to clot. I was wearing a pretty pink polyester nightgown and matching robe, all ruffled, girlish and proper. And then blood-soaked.

I heard that my dad was upset with my mom for her part in that. And my mom was sorry it happened. I’m just glad I didn’t get the doorknob in the nose or the eye. The scar also shows up when I smirk.

Line of Fear