Monday, October 27, 2014


I have protection on my mind. Last week, I visited a dialysis center and it has brought the extraordinary quality of my skin to the fore. The nurse repeatedly emphasized the importance of keeping all infection away since I would have an open way in the body cavity. I nodded sagely in solemn agreement.

Later that day, I accidentally touched a hot kettle and the cat accidentally scratched me. My hand felt the accidents and as is my wont, I ignored them and went about my work. Today, I noticed the new, pale, unbroken skin beneath the little burned patch and the red angry scratch scar had healed over.

This is absolutely and totally incredible and magical! My skin is so perfect a protector to the rest of me, that my sensitive inner organs need no armor, no pelt, no spikes. The skin is alive, with an intelligence of its own and knows its job, which it pursues relentlessly, determined, it seems, to protect the rest of me beyond the foreseeable future. Protean in its nature, it changes its hues, shades, textures, and size to keep up with my changing body. A skin-less opening can spell so much disaster that a separate intelligence, diligence, and deliberation are constantly needed, and even then, it is only a matter of time when "human error" will lead to serious infections.

Previously, I have confessed my amazement at the miracle the body is, one's first and last home, one's best friend if only one would let it, whose betrayal leaves one broken in unimaginable ways. It must have indeed been a benevolent star that oversaw the evolving of multi-cellular mammals. And incredible as all other organs are, the skin is the one that gives us a face, expresses feelings, gives alerts to the rest of the body, like an interactive suit from a futuristic world.

Today, I m feeling a bit under weather (either a burst cyst or a pulled muscle, I cannot quite tell) and my skin envelops and comforts me better than any quilt can. It provides me further comfort, the kind only a friends-and-family photo album can. Instead of haunting my facebook for memories, I examine my arm, my leg, my face: here is the scar I got when I fell down the steps of my grandfather's house; that faint streak of paler shade is the medal of honor I received when I fell off my bike for the first time; that birthmark on my shoulder is the same I share with my daughter; this one I inherited from my mother; the wrinkles at the edges of my eyes are very much like the ones my father had, my favorite part of his smile.

How incredible that the connections I am always looking for, which bind me to the world I have trotted away from, are always with me; all I need is a mirror that speaks the truth!


  1. Wonderful writing as always. I have always loved the idea that we carry memories on our skins/scars.

    1. Thank you, Kristin, for being such a loyal, wonderful reader!


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