Ive spent the last 46 years without my full right index finger due to a childhood accident I had before turning 5, having now only a half of a finger to point with. My family had just newly moved to our new home when my older brother & I unintentionally played a game that had gone horribly wrong, leaving us both with life long lasting scars.
My brother Steven & I (7 & 5) were upstairs in the open area alone, discovering the exercise bike that was left by the previous owners as my parents were elsewhere in the house. This was back in the 70’s when stationary bikes or most anything for that matter had no safety features what so ever, leaving the gears & spokes completely exposed. We had double French doors that allowed the natural sunlight to shine in, reflecting some serious rainbows on the bike my brother was riding.
I was sitting on the floor in front of the stationary bike while he was riding, mesmerized by the iridescent swirls going around as the sun reflected on the spokes. He would speed up watching me lean in with my finger wanting to touch as I watched the rainbow whirl around as he peddled away. This went on for quite a bit before I actually ended up making complete contact with the spoke. The rest is history.
I remember the tone of my blood curdling scream, holding my bleeding finger as I ran to the stairs. I remember my dad coming up screaming while he grabbed me & ran me back down the stair to the kitchen sink. My mother was on the phone with 911 as my father was trying to stop the left over finger from bleeding while they both tried to keep their shit together.
The ambulance came to take me to emergency, while the police were upstairs trying to locate the missing piece of my tiny 4 year old finger. Im not sure where or how my brother was at this moment in time, but knowing how the story unfolded for us 23 years later, I can only imagine the emotional internal suffering he endured silently for years as they took me away.
The doctor was unable to reattach my finger due to the damage of the spoke that severed my finger. I was left with a half of finger, but received a roll of lifesavers & a barbie doll as a consolation gift from my moms friend Beverly that met her at the ER as we were released & sent home. Sometimes its the small tiny insignificant things that end up becoming life-size, taking on something all of its own.
I was the new 1st grade kid in the elementary school, having a huge bandage wrapped around what was left of my tiny index finger. On top of being bullied about being adopted, this really got the ball rolling for other kids to make fun of me while in the classroom & on the playground. The ironic thing about this is that the same people who were utterly cruel to me back then, are now the ones who are overly outspoken about the problem with bullying in the schools.
I know I cried a lot as a kid about who I was & how I looked, giving me a real sense of debilitating insecurity. On top of being adopted, flunking 1st grade & being constantly made fun of for cutting my finger off, I think my brother became too afraid to play with me anymore & I felt all alone. I think this is the time where I began to disassociate, finding & creating a fantasy world that was far more endearing that in truth simply offered me a place to feel safe in a world I felt tortured in.
I used to lie & make up different stories with different kids just to gain a reaction & receive some attention. I didn’t want my finger to define me in a negative light, so by creating some sort of mystery around it I thought It would make me seem popular if I had a really cool adventure to share with it. The truth was, I just wanted to fit in & be liked.
I think up until high school was when the teasing started to stop about my finger from other kids who themselves were insecure. Pointing out my flaw was a way for someone else to feel better about their own insecurities & short comings taking a jab at me to puff up their own ego. People still to this day will uncomfortable look & stare at it, mystified if i’m really missing a finger or not too afraid to ask me what happened.
It wasn’t until I was 29 that my brother & I ended up having to talk about that one horrible terrible day when my finger got cut off. For years it went unspoken not really feeling a need to speak to him about something I didn’t blame him for. We happen to be out for dinner with his friend while I was visiting him in Chicago who asked what happened after noticing I was missing a finger.
Watching the light disappear from Stevens face, I began to see the shame he carried with him as he hung his head down in his hands with tears in his eyes. I could see the pain being brought to the surface as we told his friend the story over drinks about how we ended up cutting off my finger as healing 23 years later transpired between the both of us.
Updated Repost April 2016