Caroline A. Evey
and Quentin Paquette

Caroline A. Evey
this lesson i pledge


Writing on Hands — First Scar
 Quentin Paquette
Inspiration piece

I think it’s odd that it’s still there.  It’s especially visible in the summer, since it doesn’t tan quite as dark.  It’s on the back of my left hand, rising out of the webspace between my ring and running just to the wrist side of the ring finger’s knuckle.  So much else from that time in my life has left no trace.

It had snowed that week, probably enough to get out of school and go sledding on the steep slope left from where they had carved that half of my elementary school’s playing field out of a hill.  I can remember how hard it was to pull the sled back up that hill when it was slippery.  I remember the runs for sleds and saucers going such a long way down the hill.  Something must have happened between then and now.  The hill doesn’t seem like much to me anymore.  Erosion of some kind, I suspect.

Since the snow day, it had warmed up enough for the streets to be cleared and for school to re-open.  Still the snow remained on the grass, on the hill.  Then the weather had turned cold again, and the soggy top layer of snow froze into a glaze on the top.  As you walked across it, there would be a moment when the icy glaze would support you, but then break through.  Each step had two footfalls.  The mixture of ice and snow wouldn’t pack well.  The icy top layer would grab the runners of your sled and literally stop you in your tracks.  It was too cold to have fun doing much else outside either.

I’d gone to David’s house to play at the end of my fifth grade school day.  He lived about as far east of the school as I lived west of it, maybe a mile total between our houses.  So, I hadn’t gone home first, I had just called mom at work to tell her where I had gone.  I was reminded to be home by dinner at 6.  I shouldn’t have needed reminding, this was always the rule.  As a fifth-grader though, I had a tendency to lose track of time.  David’s mom called down to the basement to say my mom was on the phone.

Hi mom.
Yes,… I know.
Sorry mom, I’ll be right home.

I said goodbye (I would like to say I thanked David’s mom, but I think that’s unlikely), pulled my coat on, and just crammed my gloves and scarf in the pockets.  Then I took off out the door and started running for home.  It had gotten colder since I was last out, but there was no time to stop and bundle up.  It made the most sense to take a short cut across the schoolyard.  As I skittered and skitched across the top of the hill, I wondered how I was going to get out of trouble, what could I say, what was my punishment likely to be.  Each step of my run sliding a bit before breaking through the ice.

Then one step broke through on the way down, but got caught under the ice when I tried to pick it back up.  My momentum stretched me forward from my caught foot, and my hands flew out ahead of me.  My gloveless hands.  I can’t remember which foot got caught, but I didn’t fly just straight out, but also turned, so that my right elbow and little finger border of my left hand hit first.  My elbow went straight through to the ground, but my hand only broke through with my little and ring fingers, bringing the webspace into the edge of the ice.

My hands were cold, and didn’t feel much.  Or, at least nothing surprising; I’d just landed hard, my hand should hurt.  But when I managed to get my feet back underneath me and stand up, I was surprised.  I didn’t think the snow I’d just been in should have blood-red streaks in it.  Then I saw the drip at the end of my ring finger and followed it’s trail up to the base of it.  I brought it up and sucked the blood out the cut with a kiss, just to have it start to fill in again.

I ran the rest of the way home wondering now if I was going to have to get stitches.  The cut was bad enough to keep me from getting in trouble for being late without calling, but didn’t require any more care than getting cleaned in the bathroom sink and putting some gauze and a band-aid on it.  Still, the scar has remained.  I suspect it’s meant to teach me something.


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One Comment

  1. Posted September 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm | #

    I already knew I loved this written piece, but I especially love how synchronicity happened and brought you to this shot–so cool! A gerat collaboration.