Scar by Michael Keeble

Every scar has a story.  Some scars are disfiguring, some may be unobtrusive, and some may be hidden, but they all tell a story.  There are those scars that are perceived to enhance the wearer, but that is usually because those observing them want to know the story.

Anyone who knows me will know that I have a scar that runs for about 3 inches down the left side of my face from the top of my cheekbone towards the corner of my mouth.  My friends have often speculated about how I came to get this facial feature, but I have never told them the true story.  My late wife knew the truth as she was there when I got it,

in fact it was the reason I married her.  It was such a defining moment in our lives together that we both decided that it would be our secret.

I am fortunate that I have never considered my facial scar to disfigure me.  Over time it has faded from the once livid gash to hardly more than a crease in my cheek.  I am over six foot tall, in fact the metric system favours me as I stand at exactly 2 metres in my stocking feet.  I used to play rugby for one of the premier league clubs, and though I have a broken nose which is testament to my efforts on that field of sport, that is not where I got my scar. 

Rugby has been the source of many of the stories I have told about the origin of my scar.  Perhaps my favourite relates to an incident I fabricated from a fictional game in which we were playing away to a particularly physical team who were not averse to threatening behaviour both on and off the pitch. 

After the first half, despite poor refereeing and a great deal of off the ball action, we were winning by a converted try and a penalty.  In those early amateur years, we stayed on the pitch during the ten minute half time break and sucked oranges for refreshment.  We had gathered in a group and waited for the oranges to be brought on by a member of the opposing club.  A chap came on carrying unprepared oranges and proceeded to cut them up and hand them out to each member of the team.  About half way through the process he suddenly threw the remaining oranges down and ran at the group slashing wildly with the knife.  Unfortunately, I was the first person he came to and he caught me with an upward swing of the knife.  I never felt a thing but reacted by aiming a punch at his head which made contact and felled him like a tree.  The ensuing fracas between both teams, ground staff, officials and the few spectators, was finally stopped by the police wading in with truncheons. 

There were some sore heads the next day, and one or two of us spent a dismal night in the cells of the local police station.  My wound was not deep, but very bloody, and once the police duty doctor had cleaned it up and stuck a plaster on it, it had healed up on its own, creating the scar that I still bear.  Except of course that none of this happened and was not the cause of my scar.

In quieter times when asked about my scar I have simply told of a slip of a knife in the kitchen or stumbling against a sharp fence.  Often it is easier to offer a simple solution to avoid further enquiry.  Of course, the story must be credible.  The nature of my scar is such that “I cut myself shaving” is simply not acceptable.  Given my build, the first thought that comes to mind is that I was in some sort of a fight.  There is some truth in that, though apart from the rugby pitch, I am what some would call a gentle giant.

I can tell you that the scar was created by a knife, and that despite my bulk, I was helpless to resist.  The person wielding the knife was the person who later became my wife.  She was the surgeon who saved my life by removing the tumour that had been growing on my cheek, and I miss her every day.

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