The Last Word

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When I was a little girl, about three or four, I had a bad reputation of being afraid of everything. It used to drive my parents to the verge of insanity! Even the simplest thing, like a bus ride, would scare me to death. There was always one thing that had occurred when I encountered a scary situation, and that was to get the last word in, to somehow convince my family to not go through with the frightening deed. It wasn’t until a cold December night in 1995, where my last word really mattered.

It was a slick and chilling December night, (December 12 to be exact, and only remembered because that was my oldest sisters birthday), and it was the same as any other day I had spent with my mom. I went to pre-school, got picked up, and took my usual two hour afternoon nap. My mother was in a rush because we had to pick my three older sisters up from school, and go out to our traditional celebratory birthday dinner. On our way, my mother had stopped to fill our old, clunker of a station wagon up with gas, and to also wash the frosted salt off of the windows. Now, I always wanted to do what my mom did, so I got out of the car to watch her, and to hopefully get some candy from inside the gas station. After my mom stuck the gas pump into the car, she stepped over the hose to wash the rear window. Wanting to do the same, I pretended to stick the hose into the car, and attempted to step over the hose myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick my landing. I had tripped over the gas hose, and the next thing I knew I was laying on the counter in the gas station with a police man hovering over me. A chunk of my upper lip was missing and was left on the cold cement next to my car.

My lip had stopped gushing blood and was now bleeding at a slow rate, which I knew because I was constantly licking the salty, warm liquid. We had picked my sisters up from school, and were now on the way to the emergency room. I, at the time, had no idea what that meant.

What I remember next is being strapped down to a table on a mat with Velcro straps, screaming as if I were never going to see the light of day again. (When my sisters tell this part of the story, they can’t help but laugh.) I was only three, and I was trying to make a deal or bargain with the doctor, to convince him that sewing my lip back together was a bad idea. He wasn’t listening and just kept pouring antibiotics in my mouth. “Just let me say one thing, just one thing”, was all I kept yelling. Aggravated, the doctor looked at my mom, and then glared at me and answered, “Yes, Danielle?” Well naturally, I had nothing important to say except, “Don’t do it!” He just strapped my head down and continued with the procedure.

Today, all I can do is laugh when I hear this story, and the important moral I learned is that even having the “last word” may not always change the minds of others.





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