My mom and dad were on a boat on vacation in France. It was the first time my mother had ever been to Europe. “A dream for me for my entire life!” she exclaimed before embarking.
While going below deck just before dusk one night, she tripped over a short lip in the doorway of her cabin in the boat. She fell, and in twisting while trying to right herself, cracked her head against the corner of the bed, blacking out. She awoke in a considerable puddle of her own blood.
Meanwhile, up on the open deck, my father was collaborating on a bottle of local wine with a few friends. Someone - a deckhand, I imagine - rushed up from beneath the deck and said “Sir, I think you should come down here…it’s your wife.” He silently put down his glass, sensing the shipmate’s urgency and followed him below.
Mom was sitting on the bed, holding her head with blood peaking through her fingers. My father knelt down to make sure she was okay, administering various tests for concussion, awareness, etc. No doubt ticking off the results on an imaginary medical form, permitting his professional impulses to override his anxiety. I should state he’s a veterinarian by trade, and not a medical doctor. Though, to us, his medical bag has held the same magical solutions as it did for the menagerie of animals constantly under his care.
To both of their relief, the wound was deep, but not permanent or too affecting. My dad kicked himself for not bringing suture materials (as only he figured any rational person would have done). Instead, he took double strands of my mother’s hair - still attached to her head - and from both sides, tied sutures with those strands to close the wound. He sat with her as the bleeding ebbed. I imagine his arm around her shoulder and a hand on her knee as she repeatedly confessed how stupid and embarrassed she was. He pats her leg and says no, that he’s just glad she’s ok.
They told me all this when they returned. I’ve been turning it over and over in mind, the scenario as I imagine it. Taking strands of their story and sewing together a little memory that I made my own. That action, sewing her together with her own hair, it’s the kind of love I’ve always admired my parents for.11 months ago