When I was very young-- two years and ten months, to be exact-- I made my first and only emergency room visit. We were having a party for Kelsey's first birthday, and my best friend and his family were coming over. I was naturally excited. While we were waiting for them to come (I think Mom was either napping or just doing some things upstairs), I was playing in the living room. I picked up an empty Easter candy tin (one that I had received at Grandma Rice's) and held it in my hands and spun around and around and around. I was dizzy and giddy and all I could see was the tin in my hands.
The next thing I remember, I was in the kitchen, staring at the ceiling, with Daddy standing over me pressing a bunch of paper towels against my cheekbone. The next scene I remember is the bright light they shone on my face, the feeling of being bound like a mummy (so I wouldn't fight or get my hands in the way), the doctors and nurses staring down at me, the hand descending toward my face.
The hand must have had a needle. But I don't remember it.
It's funny how trauma and drama obliterate themselves like that. I remember perfectly what happened before I fell; I remember perfectly what happened directly after I fell.
I don't remember the fall.
I don't remember the pain or the blood.
I don't remember the car trip or the ER waiting room.
It's like the scariest parts of the story are gone, and I'm left with a vivid mini-film I can replay whenever I want, review from the safety eighteen years provides, and file away whenever it gets too intense or uncomfortable.
I wonder if that phenomena-- of pain and fright blotting themselves out-- continues past the age of three. I hope so.