Only if you kissed me very, very tenderly – then you might feel the tiny ridge of scar on either side of my lip – not visible, hardly even there. It’s not important that I tell you who smashed open my lips against my teeth, enough times that I should carry scars inside on both sides. In fact, it would take a lot for me to tell you or anyone else about that, or my broken nose or the time all the blood vessels in my right eye were burst as I fought for air. I wouldn’t tell you who did it, or for how long – because of that strange thing in most humans that would have you see me as a victim, or just plain unlucky.
I would rather draw your attention to the incredible people who had laid a deep, sure and happy foundation in me by the time the time I was five years old – before my world sank as sure as Atlantis in a welter of sudden loss and adult grief. That, and the faith I found for myself, is the reason that I still have a wide storehouse of love, interest and forgiveness for humankind.
I would rather tell you about the love of learning, a pervading sense of wonder and the gifts of analysis, humour, language, timing and compassion that were woven into the very strands of my DNA by two people who loved each other against fate and, as it turns out, even the clock.
I won’t tell of how it felt to be poor beyond poor right inside a house full of well-off people, to have my education and health railroaded and side-lined as I raised myself – instead let me confirm that all that cutting apart and laying aside formed a fiercely individual someone – I’m not buying into the mob, no sir. I know what mobs are made of.
People speak of privilege, people speak of wealth: I know that they mean me, but they don’t know what metal my coins are minted from. See, I am privileged to have been born of my two parents, and if talent, faith and a grateful disposition are riches, then I am very wealthy indeed.
I wonder, would you really like to have swapped places with me?
(new generation, new page, what it was for)