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Scar: Losing Grip

Joined: 10/22/2014
Posts: 1
MJ Miller
I tore open the flesh of my dominant hand on the night I said goodbye to my childhood friend. It was the end of summer after high school. I was drunk. He, moving away. The first, great precipice of life, lay before us. I could feel the edge. Rough, uncertain. Dangling.

The warmth of the day fled as late August in Montana will do. The night crept in coldly, a gasoline campfire going at Black Sands, by the river. Many came to see him off; in a tourist town, bordering nothing but beauty, there were no cliques.

I had grown up in the shade of older brothers, majestic and fated. Their prowess, one in the physical, the other in the creative, put shoes too great to fill, ever before me. I caricatured both labors with a frenzy, hoping to conceal forgery with hysteria. I labored so that no one out-boozed, out-lifted, out-joked, overlooked or discounted me.

The end of that night, my friend having left sometime earlier, me too drunk to notice, was the nadir of my falling out and through the facade. Months earlier, having trained four weeks in a row with friend of a friend in karate, I had found a new pursuit; both physical and creative, I was drawn to the Art. I would study with a passion over the next three years, but that night, my nascent concept of control in depth of striking objects, bloomed in my intoxicated mind to a degree surpassing every Bruce Lee flick, every Sunday morning Kung Fu theater binge.

Ready to leave, I swept my lips across my last bottle. A ballsy farewell, I persuaded myself to crush it on its side, without scratching my skin. Doubt, in the rational center of my brain, was borne away on a tide of malted hops. I would not be out-dumbed.

I buried my right hand, with open palm, into the vessel. I still recall, the edges of perfect sharpness, rending the softness of my hand. My mind cleared suddenly, the harsh tonic of regret.

A friend saw me, lingering near the fire, hand stuffed into my other arm. By the light of a Ford pickup, we gazed at a fistful of blood. With detachment, as though someone else's hand were in view, I would feel very little that night; we soaked it in peroxide.

I waited till morning for the clinic. A lone doctor immersed my hand in a bowl of iodine. Hungover and properly sick, I nearly went unconscious with pain. Stitches. But it was more than trauma clinging to me as I went home.

I finally hit the point I sensed coming for some time. That my out-doing would finally be my undoing. Whatever words my father might say when I returned, the look, the disappointment in his shoulders, a sigh -- none would have the impact as clear and enduring as the scars I carry on my right hand, for the rest of my life.
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