Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

When I was 9 years old, I fell and needed stitches in my forehead. The fall was somewhere between 5-10 feet off the ground and I was knocked unconscious. I’m not sure how long I was out, I just know I came to while being carried to my parents’ car. I never opened my eyes because I knew something bad had happened and didn’t think seeing the aftermath would’ve helped my psyche. So actually, I never saw what required stitches, but since I never had stitches before, I assumed it was pretty grisly.

It was probably for the best that a 9 year old me never saw my head split open. Obviously the scar was a reminder that *something* happened but since I was unconscious/had my eyes closed/, I luckily don’t have recurring nightmares about the incident. The scar hasn’t gone away but it doesn’t stick out like an eye sore. My parents would like me to get it removed via plastic surgery but I haven’t had the time or the money to do it , plus chicks dig scars.

Honestly, the scar is kind of an afterthought for me and so when it’s brought up, it’s usually not a big deal. Usually…

Occasionally someone who I’ve known for sometime will freak out and say “Oh my God, where did you get that?!” or “What happened to you?!” and I will have no idea what they’re talking about. If they were someone I had never met before, I might have a better understanding that they’re talking about my scar. But since I will occasionally get this response from someone that I’d previously known, I will panic, since it doesn’t register in my brain that they might be talking about the scar. I don’t blame them for not seeing the scar (it’s not that big), I just wish they would temper their reaction or be more specific in what they’re talking about. “What’s happened to your head?!” can easily be taken the wrong way, like if I had just gotten a haircut.

Of course when an ex-girlfriend of mine sees the scar for the first time a year after our breakup, that brings up some serious questions. Now, I must say, we dated for a very short time, but the fact that she never noticed my scar in that short time is quite alarming. It’d be understandable if she had forgotten about the scar, but it’s another thing to completely to act like I had gotten the scar sometime after the breakup. It’s okay if colleagues and acquaintances don’t realize you have braces, but it’s not okay if your ex-girlfriend doesn’t realize you have a pretty noticeable scar on your head. Perhaps my expectations are too high for girlfriends, but I think it’s fair to think she’d notice something pretty unique on my forehead.

I found this out when Bruce flew into town for a visit. I hadn’t seen him in 6-7 years and I decided to call up the ex to see if she wanted to meet my best friend who lived across the country. So we decided to grab lunch with my friend Phil, and at this lunch she decided to freak out about the scar. Upon hearing this revelation, Bruce gave me a look. I can’t replicate this look (I don’t think he can either), but I clearly read “so this is your ex-girlfriend?” and immediately became embarrassed. So on a whim, I bitterly muttered, “Bruce cut me. That’s what happened.” Bruce decided to play along and quickly retorted “You deserved it.” and we quickly turned the story of the scar into a soap opera and at one point my ex pleaded for us to forgive each other since we had not seen each other in seven years.

After a few hours of bickering, we finally let her know we never engaged in a knife fight with each other and she was upset that we had been toying with her. I think she chased me around Borders for a while screaming. In the end, she let bygones be bygones and I finally told her the real story behind the scar. I don’t remember her reaction to the truth, but I imagine it was pretty unsatisfying. I haven’t talked to her for a while and she’s kind of notorious for having a bad memory so it’s possible that one day, I might run into her somewhere and she might ask me if someone busted my head open since the last time she saw me, and I’d tell her “my best friend cut me in a knife fight.” because I think we’d both be happier with the lie.

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