Head Wound Harry

by Joy Monger

Last weekend I hosted a 4th of July party. And I also developed a very contagious sore on my face. I felt like a very spirited and patriotic version of Job.

Over the next few days it continued to grow. Not only did it hurt but it looked gnarly too. Could it get worse you ask? Why yes it could, thank you for asking. Because I also had a romantic weekend planned with my new guy friend. Hoooray!

So I went to my mom’s house and cried. Because I’m thirty, but I’m also sometimes four and eight and sixteen and I just wanted to look pretty for the boy.

Mom took charge of the quickly spiraling situation and called the doctor’s office, which of course was closed. Because it was a national holiday and God forbid the clinic be open on the one day a year when everyone is encouraged to drink a lot of beer and light things on fire. But whatever.

So she hustled me into the car and drove me around to all the clinics she knew and then to a few pharmacies hoping to find someone who could help.

Finally at Walmart there was a pharmacist on duty. She stood ten feet away from me and looked like I might give her leprosy at any moment but was able to name my disease and recommend some lip balm. And plenty of time. Oh and also to “not be stressed”.  You try not being stressed when half your face is being eaten and even the people at Walmart are judging you.

I should have licked her clipboard.

So we bought the fancy lip balm and got back into the car all hot and tear-stained.

And then Mom thanked me for letting her take care of me.

I was shocked.

What kind of arsehole had I been all these years that by allowing her to drive my contagious, face-wound, crying self around the hot city when she should have been at home with a hot dog and beer in hand, left her feeling grateful? Seriously.

I had no idea that by me being scared or proud or stoic and keeping everyone at arm’s length I was not only hurting myself, I was hurting my loved ones too.

It ended up being a really nice moment.

And inspired by Mom’s love, instead of hiding from the cute boy I admitted that I was sick and gross. And he loved on me and cooked me dinner. And my co-workers were nice and tried to keep me calm, and stress free, and brought me starbucks and everyone was generally lovely and kind.

Being vulnerable kinda rocks. Head wounds do not.