Saturday, February 16, 2008

Years and years ago, perhaps I was six or seven,
I had an abrasion of some sort on my leg
which I fidgeted over, didn't let nature
do its timely healing. I showed it to my sister P.,
who had a scientific, doctorly bent to her,
and upon examination, she stated with assurance,
Yes, it's leprosy.

Leprosy! Horrors! I was too shocked to let anyone else
in on this frightening "fact." I recall losing sleep
over this accumulation of ragged cells above
my ankle, in constant fear of loss of ear/nose/foot.
(I never considered the possibility, at that young age,
that I might be transmitting this disease to my family.
Ah! The self-involvement of youth! If I was going to die
a tragic, agonizing, untimely death, I was going to do it
alone, by gum.) But first I was going to have to endure
banishment and dress in tatters as my skin and bones
left a trail behind every step.

The fears eventually diminished when new symptoms
failed to appear. It had to be at least a year
before this happened, and I began to believe that maybe,
just maybe, P. had been mistaken. I didn't for a moment
believe that my beloved older sister had been
pulling my leg (off!)!



    Oddly, my siblings and I used to love to play the leprosy game where we'd run through the house screaming UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN! if one of us got tagged.

    We were mostly unsupervised.

  2. awe,
    I'm so glad it wasn't true, because if it had been---well, well, there would have been no pointilist detailing for you.
    And how tragic would that have been?


    this coulda helped P with her sisterly wisdom back then...


    Anon: Lol!