A Callus

June 1, 2010

I was an alley rat kid, running around barefoot as much as I could, climbing trees and racing through the behind the houses world, staining my feet purple beneath the huge and prolific mulberry trees. My calluses protected those filthy running feet. On the few occasions when something did penetrate the tough skin, I’d sit down, yank the glass out, wash it off with the hose, shake it off, and keep going. Usually. Sometimes I’d get cut bad enough that I couldn’t shake it off. I remember the annoyance of allowing my foot to be bandaged and having to wear shoes.
Yesterday I did something stupid and ended up falling and ripping off a section of callus on the pad of my foot. I’m not the alley rat I used to be. I even wear shoes most of the time, but I was barefoot and I got hurt. After my fall, I stood up, grabbed the broom I had been reaching for, and tried to shake off the pain as I hobbled into the house. I realized I needed to call my husband after I had stupidly stained my self reliant path with blood all over the hardwood floor and rug.
He came in a flash, and we took turns helping me. I let him squirt peroxide into the wound. He let me cut my own callus away. I let him run around gathering Epsom salts, bandages, q-tips, scissors, towelling. He let me swear and debride the wound with a toothpick. I said, “I’m tough,” and he said “Yes, you are” as we bandaged the wound and padded it with gauze. I let him make me dinner.
A nice thing… sometimes circumstances cause us to cut way some of our protective layers, and it’s okay.

5 Responses to “A Callus”

  1. I liked the part about him making you dinner…and the young you running around barefoot. I’m usually in some nice flipflops most days–how the hell did they get so expensive–although I ought to be in shoes that provide a bit more support and my feet especially the heels look like this. I should use moisturizer, but that always seemed sort of a bit off for me–not gay, but not done.

    Hope you’re doing well and can heal quickly.

  2. Annie said

    What a love story. I know, I know, this is about something else, but I can’t help but call it love to have a partner who knows you so perfectly. A wonderful nice thing, but awfully sorry about the foot. Feel better soon!

  3. Gary Spykman said

    Yes, you are tough. You took it like a soldier… “Just bandage me up and send me back out, Sarge” (and you didn’t mention all the other bumps and bruises and aches).
    You are my favorite Alley Rat.

  4. mattpaw said

    A nice thing: Learning a new word, such as “debride,” from a harrowing vicarious experience. Bet it hurts worse now than when you wrote this. I hate when cuts like that happen on feet or thumbs. The pain gets worse for a while and then seems as if it’s there to stay. Good excuse, tho, to get catered to a little more.

  5. Yep. Sometimes some of those protective layers need to come off. Sometimes, when we take them off, we find we didn’t need them.

    Other times, we get glass in our foot. Some layers are there for a reason.

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