Broken Skin / by Leslie

Milo runs away from me, giggling, and trips on the carpet. He falls and I can’t move fast enough to catch him.


There is silence, and then, screaming. When he turns around there is blood all over his face.

Oh my god, there’s blood everywhere. It’s getting in his eyes. Where is it coming from?

“Come here sweetie, you cut yourself, let’s go to the kitchen and clean that up,” I say, trying not to sound scared.

Holy shit. The blood is dripping on the floor. It’s all over his shirt. I’m probably going to get blood all over my clothes too.

“Shhhhhhh, it’s ok, I’ve got you,” I say, as I rush to the kitchen and sit him down on the counter.

That's a lot of blood! His eyes are ok, there is no cut in his mouth, his teeth are all still there. Ahhh, there is it, on his forehead. Oh crap, that’s a deep cut. That might need stitches. 

I wet a paper towel and wipe away the blood, trying not to let him see it, “Look at me honey, you’re ok. I’m going to make it better.”

Don’t freak out. Don’t panic. Smile. 

“Alright Milo, I’m going to put a bandage on it and we’re going to go for a drive, OK?” I say, as I try not to shake.

Deep breaths, be calm. Chris might get home from work while we are gone. I should leave him a note.

I scrawl quickly on a scrap of paper, “At the ER, meet us there.”

I can do this. I’m doing a great job. Be calm. See? He’s calm too.

In the emergency room he’s curious about all the gear, happy, smiling and playing with me. The doctor comes in and has a look. He’ll need three stitches.

Can I stay with him? Good. You are going to pin his arms behind his back? I guess we have to. I have to hold him down? Ok, I'll hold him.

As soon as we begin to immobilize him he starts to cry and he cries harder when they inject the local anesthetic. I hold his body down and put my head near his chest while one nurse holds his head still and another nurse holds his legs still.

He’s screaming. His face is covered with the cloth they use to isolate the cut. I’m whispering to him, “It’s ok, it’s ok,” over and over, almost in tears.

It’s not ok. This is torture! My poor child will be scarred for life! He’s going to remember me holding him down like this and not helping him.

“Shhhhh. Milo. It’s ok. It’s ok. Shhhhhhhh.” I am still chanting this when they finish and remove the cloth from Milo’s face and let him sit up. His face is covered in snot, his eyes are red and he clings to me, still crying.

Don’t cry. He’s ok. Breathe.

Everyone leaves the room and I stay there with Milo until he’s calmed down. Chris comes in and is a welcome distraction. We tell Milo he was brave and strong and we are proud of him.

Later, at home, we examine where he fell and see that Milo hit his head on a door hinge that was jutting out. It must have been at just the right angle to punch through the skin.

I couldn’t protect my son.

After Milo is in bed, I finally let out the tears that I had been holding in all day. I cry to Chris that I am scared. If a tiny little cut on his forehead can send me into such a spiral of worry and pain and fear, what if, someday, he gets really hurt?

Please don’t let him die before me.

I don't tell him that though. Everyday I tell him to run faster and to jump higher and to never have any fear. It's the only way to live.


This post was inspired by The Red Dress Club's Memoir writing prompt. This week's assignment was to describe a scene that illustrates our true self. Please also read all the other responses, this is a writing club and people are looking for support and feedback.

Constructive criticism is welcome!