Small trauma gather and compound over time.
“Minor trauma” I’ll call them.
Like slicing your finger with a paring knife and hitting your head on the door sill as you enter a car. Minor trauma. The kind that doesn’t require professional intervention or hospitalization. But still, the trauma leaves its series of indelible marks and as you get older, your body is a blackboard of a life’s treasure chest of minor and forgettable traumas which coalesce to create a pockmarked body of scars and bruises.
Minor trauma can be emotional as well. I’ve experienced so many small and inconsequential events that they are too numerous and ancient to recount. Some loiter in my memory stubbornly which leads me to believe perhaps they were not that inconsequential. Still, they were not grave, and though they resulted in a temporary bout of incredible embarrassment, were not excruciatingly long-lasting through the adverse affect they had on my psyche.
All the minor trauma is cumulative and with enough of them to fill the collection, you reach a state of shell-shocked existence in which many of the minor traumas of your youth linger in your memory like unsavory guests who were handed keys to the house.
There is this memory that has always haunted me. A memory of something that happened in the 6th grade, give or take half a semester. It is laughable now but then it was a mortifying and hugely embarrassing and humiliating spectacle. See, I liked this girl, her name was Katie Brown. She was a white girl with straight light brown hair. I can’t remember exactly what she looked like, but apparently I thought she was the shit because I had a major crush on her. In my truly nerdy manner, I used to write, “David likes Katie” and “Katie likes David” repetitively in a small notepad and carry it around school. It was as if I believed that writing the mantra enough might make it real. Breathe life into it this fantasy. I was shameless in carting that notepad around school. Shameless and a bit stupid. I remember some other guys and me were playing handball one afternoon and in the heat of the handball action, my notepad flew out its pocket. Some guy, I think his name was Danny, picked it up and had to flip it open. He began reading my looping recitation of schoolyard love aloud so everyone could hear it clearly. He laughed, everyone laughed. Finally someone actually told him to just give it back to me, to lay off. Eventually he returned the small notebook to me and I was petrified. I put it back in my pocket and to this day I can’t remember if Katie Brown ever found out. I’m positive she did, and I’m positive I never became her boyfriend after that.