Scarlett Sumac's Blog

MAY 3, 2012 8:31PM

Aw(e) and Then Some

Rate: 39 Flag

 pandora's box

John William Waterhouse: Psyche Opening the Golden Box - 1903

Awww, the awesome story open call has been recalled. Just when I was ready to open the lid of my awe-some stories box. For me it's a place where you can stuff all the personal historical remnants and records. You can press everything deeper and deeper down until there’s no space left and you can hardly close the lid. That’s where I keep all my fading stories from long ago.

I seldom visit but recently I reopened it and came across a black eye patch I once wore. No, I wasn’t trying to be some swashbuckling pirate woman. In fact the sight of it startled me. I had forgotten that I kept it. I should’ve thrown the damn thing out but I guess I kept it as a memento that events can alter your life in a split second.

Like maybe you are minding your own business, returning from a dentist appointment to your downtown Toronto office midday, when unaware, you are about to cross paths with a paranoid schizophrenic stranger, who just that morning, discharged herself from a nearby psychiatric hospital.

Somehow by some strange twist of fate you - or in this case, me - wait for the light to change and proceed to cross the intersection when, traveling at a fast speed, a vehicle picks your body up, hurls you over the hood and spills you onto the hard curb nearby. Meanwhile the hit and run driver behind the wheel goes on her scrambled way, proceeding to hit five other people in different sections of the city that afternoon.

And maybe you once felt someday you might have something to share with the world, but you never planned to make the six o’clock news, this way.

The recovered worn black eye patch brings it all back.

And you remember your mother telling the story years after it happened, how the car was a Buick (and you know it wasn’t, but you don’t correct her, because what difference does it make now anyway?)

She will go over where she was when she got the call saying you were in the emergency ward of the hospital. She will tell you the person who called to notify her of the accident said, without thinking, “Mrs. S _______ are you sitting down?”

I’m still mad at that person for scaring my mother like that. I was unconscious at the time but turns out he had a fifth of whiskey in his breast pocket and took a swig of it before making the call, being shook up and all.

Yes, my mother rewrote the story as she told it with the drama it deserved but she ended on a high note by making a joke. My mother, as a rule, didn't joke, but she knew the value of comic relief and made everyone laugh saying I had a thick head. She was right, we’re a family of hardheaded women. Thankfully.

She knew not to talk about the prison you (me) erected for yourself after that; how you feared large fast moving objects, couldn’t drive on the highway, and how after being her brazen daughter all those years, suddenly at twenty-seven, you feared crossing the street. She didn’t mention that you sat in that apartment while the black and blue turned to purple, then yellow and green. No, she didn’t mention while waiting to heal, you wore that patch while you looked out the window at the traffic mustering the strength to cross the intersection. In your mind’s eye.

However you can now sit back thankful you didn’t become a member of the 27 Club. But it was close.

I don’t know if this was an awesome story. But I have many objects inside that old trunk, each has a story attached; some could fill a chapter, some a book. Many seem to belong to someone else’s life now; not mine. But I think I’ll close the lid again and move on.

After I throw out the eye patch.


© Scarlett Sumac  2012.


Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
So well done, Scarlett, really like the way you unravelled this one.
Holy cow.

Well written, tho.
The story is incredible. The writing is better than awesome. ~r
This is even more awesome writing straight into draft.
I don't know if that's Psyche or Pandora in that picture now.
wicked well done, and then some ~

Maybe that lid barely stays on, rumbles sometimes.
rita shibr, did I ever tell you you've got a great last name? Thanks for being here.

Myriad: Holy Buick. :) Thanks.

Joan: Thanks, coming from you that means a lot.

Kim: Interesting that you mentioned that. I had Pandora's image first but that's such a scary myth -- too much evil unleashed. I switched to Psyche. Her story ends well in that she has a daughter named Pleasure. That's gotta be good, right? I wanted to write a funny story, but this came tumbling out. What can I say?
Wow. Great writing. Awe-some. Keep the patch. I would.
What kind of car was it?
Truly a riveting tale, and one that I'm glad you lived to tell.
Keep the eye patch.
Brilliant - and genuinely painful. The thought of the bruises alone will stop you cold.
Or you could put sparkle on the patch and repurpose it for your next party.

You tell a wonderful story. All of the emotion in just a sketch.
well... i'm awed, i guess...
Keep the trunk open and write that book. The stories are there if we have the eye (patch) to see them.
Well past awesome. I'm not sure if I'd keep the eye patch, depending on how it makes you feel. Except perhaps the next time you stumble across it, the memories will be less vivid. A happy ending.
catch 22: Now that's a story in the making right there. You, catch, could write it. Why do I always wonder what hemisphere you live in?
It's prolly North America but I picture you elsewhere. Why, do I do that?

fernsy & jmac: Too late. It's gone. I've got it written in words now, I don't need it any more. Thanks for your support, both of you.

Larry: Yes, the important things. It was a Porsche ... just kidding!! I recall it was a brown car. In those days I never paid attention to makes of cars. It all happened so fast, it was a blur. Everything was handled by cops and lawyers.

Jeanette: Yeah, me too! I will say, it changed my perspective on things drastically. Even though it was over 20 years ago, I don't really like talking about it too much because at the time, and for quite awhile after, it was all-consuming. In this case it was triggered by the eye patch. I'll leave it for another 2o years or so.

nilesite: Thank you. Yes, bruises, inside and out. The ones on the outside heal faster.

Phyllis: Thanks, but I'll trade the patch for something cool ... like some dreadlocks in honour of Bob Marley's upcoming birthday!
Didn't know there was an awesome story OC, but I'm sure glad you sent me the PM telling me about this. Most excellent evocation of a traumatic incident, SS. You got the words....
There is a reason why you keep things and then sometimes it is just time for them to go.
Well done ma cher.
Bo, Well you know the territory having been in the news business. This might tweak with you too. She came from the Hamilton Hospital; the notorious 'Hamilton on the Hill' as it was called in these parts. Thankfully it was just before 'no fault' insurance came in, and surprising enough she had insurance. Some friends of mine got me a good lawyer. Yes, I thanked my lucky stars for that stroke of luck. Otherwise ....
I would take lessons from your mom as a story teller. It has to be a Buick or it loses the punch it needs.
I've worn an eye patch in the past too. Swashbuckling indeed.
it's riveting writing like this that compels me to return to OS again and again. super excellent writing and hell girl, way waaaaaaaay beyond awesome.

Na, glad you opened it.
Sometimes when I remember things like you did here
I wonder if they really happened, or if a dream.. . but you
have the patch.
Great write
working backwards:

trig the tool man: Hey, I have my few scars too. Arrghh! Trust me, this I didn't dream. You can't make this shit up. Well, now that I think of it, some people might be able to ... *wink*

Thanks Fool Monkey: I've been at a computer so long today, I feel like I need a patch now or maybe I it's just that I still have that *fucking headache* you were speaking of ...

AlsoKnownAs: Yes, I agree my Mum's telling with the big Buick the size of a boat was good, but it needn't be that big of a car. Christ, I'd be dead! But God love her, (an expression of hers) wish she was here now, so I could hear more of her stories.

Linda: Yes, thanks to spring cleaning! You know what our Neil says: There's more to the picture than meets the eyes, Hey, Hey, My, My!

asia rein: Happy ending in that I'm here to tell it. Totally messed with some things like my sense of smell. But on the bright side, that is at times, a blessing ...

Lea: The trunk can be heavy. It's good to lighten the load physically and psychically too. Ah, that feels better. Loved your poem, Ms. Lane.

Inverted In: I like when you come by. I feel the wind in the sails. You know, we need to share both sides of life, the joys and the struggles. Thanks for listening in to this one.
Double damn, Scarlett. That is a hella story *and* hella read. Wow and wow. I'd keep the patch myself, just to remind me of how far I've come. But whichever you choose is okay by me; I just got to read.
lovely writing...well done.

but this: "Like maybe you are minding your own business..." never happens to me. :)
Great way of telling this tale Scarlett. Much more compelling than a straight narrative I think. Funny how those incidents can intimidate you for years. My only car accident was relatively minor, no injuries, when a truck hit me at low speed while I was turning left. For the next few years left turns were fraught with stress and hesitation.
good thing you have a copyright at the end... I was about to steal it. AWE-some...
This made me grit my teeth. Toss the eye patch, save the space for pressed flowers.
I've had a few near death experiences but thankfully, not that one. Keep the patch as a momento of survival and fine writing about it.
I was impressed how you described your self-built prison, fearing to cross the street, large fast-moving must still start at something that comes at you unexpectedly from the corner of your eye. I know I would. Didn't keep the patch and bling it up? Well, you don't need it anymore, and you've written it out for us to see. It's lost its power. Glad you're here to share this with us.
Hard to land perfectly. Thank God you were thrown clear. What happened to the other victims? What became of the perpetrator?
Yikes. Definitely an awesome story, in a frightening terrifying way, like Operation Shock and Awe, remember that?

What happened to that Awesome Stories Open Call notice on the cover? It's gone. I was kind of looking forward to some OS hilarity.
Feeme: The patch is gone. I hadn't even remembered keeping it until I saw it. I wrote about this accident here many moons ago in a narrative form. Sitting last night, this shorter version tumbled out. I love when that happens. And I love when friends like you show up to share this stuff.

Tril: you've got a lot on your plate so extra thanks for coming by.

lorianne: Thanks for swinging by and for the comic relief here ...
something tells me you mind your own business, quite well ;)

Abra: Hey friend, I know all those left turns. I've sweated buckets, a sitting duck in the middle of the intersection after the light has turned red. You betcha, I know that feeling.

Brazen Princess: Hey! I used your word here didn't I? I looked it up first just to make sure it's not always meant in the "brazen hussy" context. ;)

Bleue: Pressed flowers, nice idea. My Mum used to do that. Haven't thought about that in a while.

emma: As I said to others, too late, the patch is gone. I guess it served its purpose. But you, our West coast writer, it'd be nice to read more of you.

ccdarling: yes, that's right, no bling for me!

JP Hart: Not sure about the others victims. I only met the woman - she had a name like Brenda or something - once in court. I was in a haze and not overly observant. After months of imagining this crazed person, I do recall what surprised me about her was how *normal* (or should I say average?) she looked. She was charged with careless driving, failure to remain at the scene of the accident, etc. I settled my claim with her insurance company after two-three years, I should've taken the lawyer's advice and waited. But I needed to put it behind me and get on with my life. I'm currently having some physical issues, that, guess what? That probably happened as the result of that MVA. But life goes on ...
Candace: Sorry about that typo *this time.* Should be Femme, of course!

green heron: Certainly remember the "Shock & Awe" tour. Sounds like a government inspired Death Metal band, doesn't it? I've never listened to "Death Metal" but I can imagine. Thud, Thud, Thud!!!
After reading Kim's pterodactyl in the toilet post, I was looking forward to the hilarity too

gotta run ...
This captured me with its' use of voices. A scary time, S!
Wonderfully awesome.
This was so well done. I felt all the emotion attached to the story and how you really felt about what happened. Things in life do change our trajectory, sometimes for the good, sometimes not. Sometimes they force us to become someone almost different, and in so doing we experience feelings, emotions that we would never have. This can help us to see things that we would never have about ourselves and others.
Seems that the patch can be a symbol of your inner strength to overcome trauma. Exquisite writing.
This lovely box, this place where stories as instructive & insightfully poetic come from, Psyche’s (NOT Pandora’s…you make this clear…) is a possession, a part of you that you simply must access, to not only get the blessed “tumbling out” but to teach and instruct and inspire your devoted intelligent f-ed up crew of loyal readers who come out in “droves” when you share. Share share share..

“share” :another fine word the Idiocracy has stolen, along with “paradigm”…I am still pissed they got “paradigm”…anyway…

That old beard jmac was right…you shoulda kept the patch… it would remind you of so so much , as these weird “sacred” objects of our personal mythos often do…

“I have many objects inside that old trunk, each has a story attached; some could fill a chapter, some a book. Many seem to belong to someone else’s life now; not mine. But I think I’ll close the lid again and move on.”

Well, move on all you like, dear friend..these memories and events move with you though….no way around that…but when they pop up and we capture them, just right, as in this piece, we redefine them in the “past is prologue” way…

I got these ugly damn glasses from jr high. I put em on sometimes…I can still see out of them..and feel the humiliation of being a walking freak, a four eyes, a scared boy clutching his “world almanac & book of facts” which he browsed through when class got overwhelming boring…

The box. Lots of books in mine. Some days they disgust me, other days entreat me to come back to them.

James, Thanks for the nice comment. See, "past IS prologue." I knew you read Shakespeare. Now lean in and listen closely ... that person you were in high school, clutching your world almanac & book of facts, was way beyond most of the others walking those hallways. I suspect you know that. I wasn't even there and I know that. Those glasses are a reminder of the personal mythos or a signifier for something greater. Any humiliation you felt there you never, (hear me?) never, ever have to feel again.

Stim: Thanks. There were molten choc cakes in our staff room today. They made me think of you. :)

Sheila: Yes, that's very true it made me re-examine just about everything.

Mary: Thanks. Are we going to hear some stories from you soon? Hope so.

mypsyche: Did you see your lovely picture at the top of this post?
Easy to see why that would have been a traumating event. Glad you’re still here with us in one piece, sans eyepatch.
Your writing blows me away Scarlett.
sorry to be late but do love this....
ah such a sweet comment. thank u.
if only it were so: that we saw ourselves as others do,
all insecurity and ancient humiliations
brought into the light of a kind of sacred redemption
wherein the stuff that sucked, really really hurt, in the past
was somehow a necessary step in our personal evolution,
is now flooded with significance and beauty...
I know a few Shakespeare quotes…
“Time's glory is to command contending kings,
To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.
 The Rape of Lucrece

Thank you for your sweetness. I guess the Canadian gals are a-ok in my book.
I still lust, intellectually, for my World Almanac. Ay! So many facts..
A`we . . .
Scarlett S. You N.S.
as in Nova Scoatia's
pulsing pure blood `
It pulsates a`Real Life.
Ay, and find Treasures.
Look without Snooping.
Keeper . . .
The Bluenose is being rebuilt.
I just read ref Canada's ship.
I remember You mentioned:
The Canadian`Bluenose Vessel.
It's history that make Nova Scotia.
It be fun to Treasure Chest Search.
Imagine what's Lost n Ship Hulks?
I bet we'd find some bottles. Wine.
Wish You were here.
Lunenburg is a fun stop.
The 'Bluenose' is rebuilt.
pulsing pure blood `, art says. Oh I could not agree more…
It pulsates a`Real Life.
Ay, and find Treasures.
Look without Snooping.

This reminds me of that other weird beard, jmac, who says listen without hearing…

I am happy to hear the news of the Bluenose. Being rebuilt. Cool.
Wine if found should be a communal sharing kinda warm fuzzy thing.
Art with wine in him is a thing I would pay money to see on you tube.
Art with wine in him? I suppose he would leak out all secrets of his hillbilly healthy pragmatic mystical mind.

I would have a tape recorder to tape such leaking, I think.
It would be in my pocket, a slim one.
Those teeny tiny tapes..
Various & Mission: Thanks and enjoy the Supermoon!

Art: Yes, the Bluenose, fastest schooner. The Canadian gov't commemorated it on our dime but didn't save the original schooner :( and it wrecked rum running somewhere. A travesty! Been aboard the Bluenose II. I wish I was there too. I have been thinking a lot about Nova Scotia lately. I have both a brother and sister that returned there to live. So now I have nephews and even grand nephews there in Wolfville too. And my near, Halifax (where I was born) and a place called Tatamagouche, near Jost Vineyards.

We will probably be going to N.S. late July or early August when the weather is best. Maybe you will be there?

Lunenburg is beautiful and the Fishermen's Maritime Museum too. Enjoy Art and please take in a deep breath of salty air for me.

James: You are close there in New England, hop aboard a plane or ship and go see Art in Nova Scotia and drink in his mystical mind. But take warm clothes ... it's still chilly. Enjoy the foggy views!
o no no no nova scotia for me.
i say, if art wanna be drunk, his mind, then he can come to me.
what the heck is a bluenose/

sounds like one of his confabulations...
then again, sounds like alot of old new england dames i know.
Ugh, Just re-read this after a few days ... there were still two typos, in there in this case a missing word and a dyslexic turn around of words. Just a heads-up, if any of my readers come across typos and errors, feel free to PM me and let me know. Thanks.

James: A Bluenose was a famous racing schooner built in 1921. Those of us born in Nova Scotia are known as "Bluenosers" which is way different than a brown noser, trust me on that!
Keep the patch...and keep writing!!!
seems our easy-bake world rarely stops to consider the effects
You don't need an OC to write an awesome post; all of your posts are awesome. I love the way your mother's assimilated your story so that now it belongs to both of you. Mothers do that sort of thing - don't we. And how sensitive she was to how the accident affected you. I hope you keep pulling things out of that box and you should post a pic of yourself wearing that patch. I'm thinking about getting one, after seeing a picture of that journalist (Marie Colvin) who was killed in Syria a few months ago. Nick Fury is not the only one who looks cool with an eye patch.
Margaret: No pics from the era. My injury was temporary. Thanks for reminding me of Marie Colvin. She was a war hero, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

JD: I will keep on writing.

Damon: Easy-bake. Do you care to elaborate? ;)
I love it! Awesome, for sure. There's always a story behind an eye patch. I think if I ever had to wear one I'd make up something AWE(ful) and enigmatic -- Like, "pitchfork" and a shrug.
Good line. Thanks for coming by, Belle!

Now I'm off on a weekend trip to visit my 'girl.' If anyone comes by here Happy Mother's Day and Nurturing Day to all the women out there.

Love hard headed women, the very best kind ... Strong legged speed horse you've given us. Nice ride. Thanks for sharing. R>>>>>