It’s good to get an injury now and then, just a little one to remember the sting of a scrape or the itch of a scab. I bandage my children’s knees, pull ticks from their necks, and extract splinters from their thumbs. If the razor grazes my ankle every now and then, it reacquaints me with hurt and empathy.
“How’d you do it?” my husband Joe asked late Tuesday night, poking his head into the bathroom. He’d come to investigate the sound of running water. My finger was bleeding a lot for the size of the cut. “The glass on a picture frame snapped when I was putting it together.” Another of my too-many-projects: hanging new art in anticipation of weekend company. I looked at the orange drops scattered evenly across the sink like dots on sheet candy. Orange? Was that me? My blood mixed with water looked so different from the crimson paint I’d diluted earlier in the day for a watercolor.
I returned to the ruined picture frame on the dining room table. The drawing had been almost ready for the wall, full of brilliant circles conjured by someone named “Artis” from Louisville. When I first read the name I thought it said “Art is,” and swam in the open-endedness. But I misread, and bent the glass. Some materials are good in compression, and others in tension. Glass is. Good in neither. The frame came from far-away IKEA. The mat had been custom-cut at an art store. Chards dotted the tabletop where the children would eat their eggs come morning. With a length of white artist’s tape, I safely gathered the tiny, clear discs. There they were again, dots on a sheet. Not candy, not neat rows. But still a strange, sweet remembrance for the next time I tend another.