Saturday, February 06, 2016

Scars Aren't Just on the Inside

I have a scar below my lower lip in that space just before my chin starts.

I bet it has a name.

*pause to google*

It's called mentolabial sulcus. Aren't you glad you asked?

Well, I have a scar there. I got my scar when I was five.

We lived in Frankfurt at the time. For anyone geographically challenged, that's in Germany. My father was in the Army and stationed there. Things were different back in the olden days, so I wasn't always well supervised.

One day, I was playing on the playground. I was younger than everyone else and unwilling to be left out. The older kids were climbing on top of the monkey bars, flipping around sideways and hanging down. I don't even know how I managed to get up on top. Once up there, I had to do the flip like all the rest of them. My five-year-old honor demanded it regardless of how high up or scared I was. I never could resist a dare, even an implied one.

I lay on the horizontal bars, my legs dangling over one side, my head and shoulders in the air on the other side, looking down to the sand and gravel far below me. I reached around under my body, my little hands slipping on the smooth, slick cross bars. I gripped the metal, kicked my feet up and over my head, gravity making me cumbersome. My feet kept going until they were above my head again, my fingers broke free and I plunged face first into the ground.

My teeth pierced my mentolabial sulcus. I sat up, looked around. The other kids scattered. I walked home, calm.

My mother tried to clean out my wound, gently dabbing at me with a soft, damp cloth. I screamed and pushed her away. She took me to the hospital.

I sat quietly as the doctor pushed my teeth back through my skin. I didn't make a peep as he scrubbed my flesh with a fingernail brush, removing sand and small rocks. Never made a sound as he stitched the hole closed.

My mother went white. She had to wait out in the hall. The nurse helped her to a chair.

I got serious street cred for my ordeal.


  1. As clumsy as I am, it's amazing that I don't have more scars! My biggest scar is my abdominal scar from my c-section when my son was born.

  2. I'm quite clumsy, too. I have several scars, but none as special as yours.

  3. now I know where I get it from