When I was younger my sister would catch me picking at a scab and say “gross.” When I was younger my mother would catch me picking at a scab and say “you’ll scar if you do that.” When I was younger my father would catch me picking at a scab and say “your body is fighting infection underneath there.”
I thought maybe the scab was a sort of tent. Maybe the skin was warm to the touch because it was warm in the tent the way it had been when we pitched one in the backyard in summer, but we didn’t last the night—the heat of the season chased us into air conditioning.
Maybe my white blood cells (I had heard of those when they talked about Grandpa’s cancer) were like the White Queen’s army in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Tiny white figures fighting valiantly against the invading forces. I wondered what the infection’s army looked like and if they were close to winning. I thought that by applying medicine I was sending care packages to the little white troops, like we did when Dad was deployed; I wondered who made sure the medicine went to my army and not the enemy.
I wanted to see the war waging just underneath that tent pitched on my skin. I pulled the scab off and was disappointed when only blood came out.
Tagged as: prose. childhood memory.