Monday, November 6, 2017

Black stitches decorated my face like garland on a Christmas tree

Each day, one of the nurses changed my bandages. My face felt stiff from the stitches and the wounds still hurt, but Dr. Crissanti said the skin was healing well.
How would I know? I hadn’t seen the wounds yet.
I was able to walk to the bathroom with the aid of a walker, and sipped protein drinks through a straw every three hours. My parents flew back home after ten days of comfort and support, satisfied I was no longer in danger. Before they left, they’d told me Ellie would be heading out shortly as well.
What pained me the most is that she never came to see me.
Three weeks after I was admitted, I finally summoned the courage to ask the nurse for a mirror.
Anne handed it over. “Think of how handsome you’ll look after the plastic surgery.”
Yay…
I opened my good eye, and even though my vision was kind of blurry, what I saw looking back at me almost sent me to my knees.
I looked – there were no other words for it – just like the Frankenstein monster.
Black stitches decorated my face like garland on a Christmas tree. There was a patch covering my left eye, and my pasty skin was peeling, except where the three-week stubble of beard grew.
The saving grace was I was spared seeing what was behind the eye patch.

Excerpt from When Sailors Play by Susan Jean Ricci
Included in Love in Times of War


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