some days take surprise left turns

Sunshine, high clouds, another gorgeous lazy day in Bernal. I was strolling back from Charlie’s Cafe to Precita Playground with a couple of cafe lattes when I realized it was *Claire* making all that noise. Liz popped up in my field of view to remind me that scalp wounds bleed like crazy, but I was already accelerating toward my screaming kid. Jeremy lifted the blood-stained paper napkin off her head. I took one look at the gaping wound and said “Hospital.”

I lifted her as if she weighed nothing and swept her to the car, Jeremy and Julia scrambling in my wake, saying our hasty goodbyes to Liz, Danny and Ada. We drove the five blocks to St Lukes with Claire howling and my hands white-knuckled on the wheel.

If you have to go to an ER south of Market you should go to St Luke’s; we waited five minutes for the nurse, who rushed us in to see a doctor. I suppose it helps if your five year old girl is awash in her own blood. The doctor was fantastic, very patient with Claire, explaining things to her so she would understand them. He checked her thoroughly for concussion – “Touch your nose. No, not with my hand, with *your* hand!” – and put local anaesthetic on the cut.

Jeremy took Julia home for her nap while Claire and I waited for the anaesthetic to work. We did addition and subtraction and ventured into negative numbers. I told her the story of when I broke my ankle. We played Rock Paper Scissors for a while, then when we got bored added new game options: Dynamite, Cannon, Meteor, Nova, Supernova. What beats Supernova?

Doctor Bell came back and put three neat staples in Claire’s scalp. I looked into her eyes as he was doing it. She was so scared and she had to go through it alone, even if I was there holding her hands. And she faced it, and came through.

“I know what beats supernovas,” I said. “You do.”

And then we went to the library.

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