Autobiography of a Cold Sore

Last night, I called my mom to see if my sister was still alive. Maggie hadn't responded to a cryptic text I had sent her that morning about St. Euphrasia and another from that afternoon about my desire that both of our children sport Chuck Taylor's, so I was starting to get worried. After my mom assured me she had recently had contact with Maggie, who was not feeling well, and we had been off the phone for a few minutes, I realized what was going on. First Maggie... and Jason was working late, and after I thought about it, my mom seemed to have gotten off the phone with me rather abruptly... I was pretty sure that they were planning a surprise party for me for that very night. 

Earlier that afternoon, after leaving Kohl's, where, standing in line at the register to buy Will's Chuck Taylor's, a girl stared at my face for many minutes while her mom shuffled through her wallet to find all of her Kohl's Cash and Kohl's receipts to combine with today's purchase towards more Kohl's Cash and ended up owing $39.94, I was strapping Will into his car seat, no longer thinking about how I would have responded to the girl if she asked about my face or wondering how her mom might be responding to her at that very moment, no. I was pondering the necessity for teleportation. I had planned on one more stop--Target, of course, to return the third baby gate that didn't work with our stairs and buy random Target treasures like the candles I didn't yet know I would find on sale that said they smelled like meadows but really smelled like my Grandpa whom Will is named after and of which I bought every one I could find--and teleportation would both make the car seat unnecessary (I imagine) and allow us to be home in time for Jeopardy!. When I turned the ignition and my console reminded me that my car is due for "maintenance" and that the tire pressure in the spare tire is low, I continued to ponder the virtues of teleportation while we cut through five or six parking lots on our way to Target.  

This morning, I woke up with a slightly crustier cold sore, wondering if Maggie was feeling any better, completely sober and well-rested myself after absolutely no partying last night, planning my outings for the day between nap times and lunch time and snack time after checking my Facebook feed and not seeing any excitement about any new travel methods, and excited to start the day and puzzle any children (or adults for that matter) that I meet with the large growth on my face that I know won't go away completely for another four or five days and will probably leave a scar that will mirror the misshapen contour from previous cold sores on the other side of my lips. 

And all the while, even without surprise parties and teleportation, I am just feeling so grateful. Grateful that my biggest annoyance of the day is not even my cold sore but contemplating what William will (and won't) choose to eat... and also very grateful that I am not in high school any more (or middle school for that matter) because you know what sucks even more than having a painful, weeping sore on your face? Having a painful, weeping sore on your face whilst spending the day with a jury of your school-aged peers. How's that for perspective? 

Also, the inspiration and title of this post came from Lucy Grealy's Autobiography of a Face, a wonderful memoir that all people should have to read in middle school and high school and once or twice as adults.

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