Stitches

I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and I didn’t care who got hurt—even if I was the one who got hurt, I tell her, staring off past her shoulder, at a vacant chunk of wall.

We lie there in bed, half-naked, soothing one another.  I talk softly, almost in a monotone, a stark uneasiness evident in the way that I sound out my words.  She looks at me straight-on, but my face is slanted away from hers.

When I shaved my head, I ripped out the stitches.  Do you wanna feel it?  It’s gotta be around here somewhere, feeling around for the slight crevice in my head.  Here, I found it.  Do you wanna feel?

Gross!  No.

Okay.

What were the stitches from?

 

My eyes opened and I was lying here on the floor, in a bathroom.  My head was shoved up against the foot of the toilet bowl.  I felt around for some leverage, grabbed the pipe that threaded its way beneath the sink, and pulled myself sitting.  That was when I noticed that my right arm was coated with a thick, sticky substance.  It was gushing down my forearm and oozing between my fingers.  It must be piss, I thought.  It must be!  My vision was still a little bit foggy, so I couldn’t tell for sure.  But I was almost positive it was piss.  I mean, what else could it have been?  Last night I’d drunk a liter of whiskey all by myself and when I’d come in here first thing this morning to piss, still drunk from the previous night, I had passed out on the floor and pissed all over myself.  That seemed to be the only reasonable explanation.  When my vision faded more into focus I noticed that the thick, sticky substance was a dark shade of red.  It was blood.  Shit!  With my left hand I traced the river to the source, trailing my hand over my forearm, up my shoulder, over my shoulder blade, up my neck, around my ear, through my hair, flakes of blood stuck between the strands.  I finally stopped when the river stopped.  I had split my head open on the way down, apparently.  A crazy fall, I’d have to say.
Apparently, as the doctor explained to me, after getting stitches and an MRI, the reason I didn’t piss myself in the fall—or anywhere else, for that matter—is because I didn’t pass out while pissing.  The reason I had fallen was due to severe dehydration caused by my immense hangover in the morning, and being that peeing was such a great release, and therefore such an immense shock to my system, my body couldn’t take it and by the time the stream had ceased, I had fainted and cracked my head on the sink.

 

That’s sad, she tells me.

No, what’s sad is, I go on, is that the first thing I thought of to do when I finally realized what had happened to me, wasn’t to call the ambulance and go to the hospital, it was to have my friend Bell’s girlfriend take a picture of it so that it would be documented forever.  I mean, not to be posted on Facebook, that is.  I was 18 and I’m not even sure Facebook was even around then.  Wellll, thinking about it now, Facebook must have been around, seeing as I’m not That old.  Really, I just wanted a photo so that someday in the future, when I’m old & gray, I can look at it and say: ‘That was the day I split my head open on the sink!’

She stares at me, blankly.  I crane my head to face her, for nearly the first time during my monologue.  Our eyes meet in the dark.  Neither of us say a word.  There is nothing left that needs to be said….

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