Now if only I could walk on water…

6 Mar

Technically, I suppose it's graphite.

When I was in third grade, a trip to the pencil sharpener ended with five millimeters of lead lodged in the palm of my hand. My teacher, Mrs. Minton, had very strict rules about interrupting her when she was working with a reading group. Even so – I approached her timidly, with my pencil sticking out of my hand.

“Mrs. Minton?” I tested the water.

“Alison, you know the rule.”

I returned to my seat, and sat, holding my hand, trying not to cry. When reading group ended, Mrs. Minton came over to find out what was “so urgent” and I showed her my hand, the pencil and its missing lead. Of course, there was some blood as well, and when she saw all of this, I could tell she felt horrible and sent me immediately to the office so a nurse could look at it.

It’s now 17 years later and I still have that lead wedged in my hand. I’ve become attached to it, almost like it’s a beauty mark. But here’s the weird thing: it’s starting to surface. I’ve never been able to feel it in my hand – until the last month. Like a splinter, it seems to be working its way out.

Part of me is sad – I don’t want to lose it. Part of me is fixated on it, wanting to know why – after 17 years – my body has finally realized it has a foreign substance in it and is try to drive it out. And part of me is creeped out realizing that one day I’ll look down and see my skin split open and some random length of lead protruding from my hand. Ack!

Or maybe I won’t notice at all. I mean, I started this life with an “outie” belly button, but sometime around fourth grade it just magically inverted. I wasn’t aware of it until my friend Shannon pointed it out. “Hey? What happened to your belly button? It’s not sticking out any more?”

I looked and – to my amazement – she was correct.

Sometimes it takes something crazy – like a belly button righting itself or (less impressively) a piece of lead resurfacing after more than a decade to remind us that these bodies of ours are nothing short of miraculous.

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