14 December 2011


I take a break from the overwhelmingly large number of cookies I am frosting to tell you the following interlinked stories:

A couple of days ago, I somehow brushed against wood that deposited about eight or ten tiny splinters at the bottom of my right pinkie. They were too small and soft to get out with tweezers and I could not manipulate a needle with my left hand, so I had to leave them until they got inflamed enough that my body pushed them toward the surface and I could just squeeze them out. I got the last ones out this morning.

The whole situation reminded me of the jiggers we used to get in our feet in Liberia. (I am not even kidding. That is what they are called, even though it sounds off, somehow.)

One of my parents would sterilize a needle and dig them out of our feet, which didn't really hurt much, in my opinion, but my brother went through a stage where he would not allow it to be done. In the end, we (I say we. What I mean is: my mom) took him up to the ELWA hospital to have a jigger surgically removed.

The ELWA compound of my childhood memory is all little white houses on a road leading to the beach. We were staying in the guesthouse, and after my brother's surgery was finished, the doctor sent him back to the guesthouse to recover.

I think they actually put him under. It took him a while to wake up.

R. was sleeping on the bottom bunk of the bunk beds when my mom decided to leave to go get something. She left me alone with him.

Since we left Liberia when I was 10.5, I assume that I was 9 or less at this point, and R. was 6 or less. For some reason, I think he might have been five. Or, um, three. Or I don't really know.

While our mom was gone, R. started waking up. He was incoherent and thrashing, and I remember bracing my feet against the floor and my back against the bed to keep him from falling out. It seemed like forever before mom came back, even though it was probably only a few minutes, and I felt this great sense of responsibility for making sure that he was okay.

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