When you see a challenge on the internet, most people just laugh and ask themselves who's stupid enough to actually go through with the quirky task. Well I guess you could call me stupid then. My arms had been scar free for almost 13 years up until the night of January 20, 2017; now whenever I look down and admire my arms I’m left staring at a blobbed shaped scar with more memories than a single picture. You lose pictures but I will never lose my reminder of that Friday night. There’s only one thing to blame for the blob on my arm, the salt and ice challenge. I had seen the challenge once or twice before, heck I’ve even tried it, but it never ended this bad.
“Ouch, it burns” I mumbled while clutching the ice on my arm. Normally when people feel the pain they stop; that wasn’t not the case with Annie and I.
Up until that point everything was just dandy. I was hanging with one of my best friends, Annie R, and since we were dying of boredom we decided to do a popular internet challenge. I thought nothing bad would happen and my gosh was I wrong.
“Girls, what are you doing?” My mom asked as I hopped down from my counter hiding the jar of salt under my shirt.
“Uhhh- nothing,” I smiled while meeting Annie’s eyes from across the room, “we’re just trying to have fun.” My mom shook her head and wandered over to the living room. I could tell by her curled up nose that she knew we were up to no good. Doubt crossed my mind but I continued to gather the necessary ingredients.
“We need Morton Salt, Ice, Paper Towels, and a cup,” I instructed. I proceeded to gather the paper towels while Annie grabbed the ice tray.
If you were to ask me to do an internet challenge nowaday, I would laugh in your face and walk away. Looking back on that day, Annie and I should’ve just went swimming but no, we had to be dumb 13 year olds and do something completely insane; now we will forever live with our regret.
“What do we even do?” Annie asked. I placed her hand on one of the paper towels laid out in front of us and poured a ton of salt on her wrist. I then poured even more salt on my arm.
“Now we just put ice cubes on it and wait until the pain is unbearable I think,” I instructed.
I should have googled it first, I know, but at this point I was too bored and way too impatient.
“Nothing happened,” I moaned while picking the ice cube up, “what did we do wrong?”
“Lets just do it again except with more salt and ice this time,” Annie suggested.
“We should see who can keep it on the longer” Annie and I agreed.
Annie was going to a different high school and we didn’t know what would happen to our friendship; all we wanted to do was make some memories and have fun. We just wanted to hold onto our middle school days for a little longer and that we did. I can promise you now that whenever I look at my arms, Annie of G.C, will always pop into my mind.
I felt nothing for the first few minutes, all I felt was the ice slowly dripping down my arm onto the paper towel. The three minute mark was when the stinging began; not terrible stinging, I could handle it. Four minute mark was when I knew something had happened; the stinging continued to grow and grow until I was clutching the counter trying to ease the pain. Did I take it off? Nope, I went until I couldn’t feel it any longer.
“Do you feel yours anymore?” I asked Annie.
“It’s numb but something doesn’t feel right,” she explained while her worriedness showed on her entire face. I knew what she was saying though; the place where we had placed the salt before was now hard as a rock.
“I think we should take it off,” Annie suggested while picking the ice cubes off of both of our wrists. What was left behind was stunning; the salt had hardened into our arms. I’m not going to lie, it looked pretty cool. It looked like a massive blister that was made out of frozen crystals.
“Can you feel your arm?” I laughed nervously.
“Nope!” Annie cried.
“This is not good.”
“UH ya you think?!?”
“Your mom is going to never let you come over to my house again.”
“You think that's our only problem? Ella what if this is permanent? Do you understand know ugly this is going to be?”
“Like you should be talking! Mine is in the middle of my arm and looks like a heart just got stretched to its limits!” We continued to bicker back and forth until we both came to the conclusion that what was done was done. Besides for the fact that my mom went ballistic and continued to tell me I was never allowed to use the salt again, the rest of the night was a lot of fun. Annie and I went to the mall that night and had a sleepover after returning home; my mom wanted to keep a close eye on our now pale as ever skin. Our skin continued to change colors every night. On that friday it was as if a section of my arm was sucked of its color, on saturday it turned into a honeycrisp red, sunday it was the color of blood, and for the rest of week it was a deep shade of red with several blisters popping up here and there. The worst part of all was how much pain that little blob caused me; it ached, it burned, it peeled, and it made me hate my skin.
Looking at my little tan blob today all I see is a birthmark that I received at the age of thirteen. Sure, I have to take a little extra care of it when we’re out in the sun and it starts to burn but besides that it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve come to terms with the cards I was dealt with and learned that it was my own stupid carelessness that got me into this mess in the first place. Although I only see a birthmark when I quickly glance down at my arm in class, there's much more to think about when I glance at it a little longer. It not only reminds me of my stupidity during my eighth grade year but deep down it reminds me of a million memories from that night, January 20th 2017. Annie and her obnoxious laugh laughing uncontrollably at the fact that we just gave ourselves 2nd degree burn, wearing long sleeves to the mall the night to deflect a million questions, my friends showing concern for not only our skin but for our smarts, and most importantly how one scar could connect me and one other person forever, through thick and thin. I’m going to have this one scar for the rest of my life and maybe, somehow, that isn’t so bad; afterall, it is my favorite mistake.