Only sometimes you don’t have to.
Last night, I stabbed myself in the leg with a pair of embroidery scissors—quite by accident, of course, but deeply enough it’s left a lasting impression.
The guilty scissors:
How it happened:
I was sitting at my sewing table, enjoying some light conversation with a couple of PTA friends while making craft items for the upcoming Christmas Fair. So wrapped up in this frivolity was I, and a few sips into a glass of prosecco, that I wasn’t giving my organza gift bags the full attention they deserved—
The thread got tangled in the sewing machine.
After unsuccessfully trying to ease it out of the needle plate, I decided to give it a good old-fashioned yank which dislodged the embroidery scissors I’d been using to cut ribbon, and thus they slipped off the table. Without thought, I snapped my thighs together in a scissor-like motion (the irony isn’t lost) just as the scissors landed in my lap, so that my right thigh rammed their pointy end, the full length of the blade, into my left thigh.
The pain was immediate and shocking. I leapt up from my chair—oh my goodness, it hurt—then, weirdly, I noticed there was no blood on the scissors, only a clear fluid. (I’m not sure if that says more about the thickness of the subcutaneous layer on my thighs or the characteristics of puncture wounds.) The bleeding, however, started seconds later.
Remaining stoic and calm, I limped to the kitchen and applied antiseptic while my husband ran out to the late-night chemist to buy butterfly stitches. I didn’t once entertain the possibility I could die from septicaemia, which would not only be a tragic loss to my family, but also put paid to my aspirations of a writing career. I did, however, pass a restless night in pain, dreaming about tornados and tsunamis. (Because whilst I’m a pragmatist when awake, it appears my subconscious self is given to the melodramatic.)
Today I’m hobbling. Walking down the stairs is particularly painful, the soreness extending almost the entire length of my thigh either side of the cut. (I suppose there are some long muscle fibres in a thigh, which have been summarily dissected. Ouch!)
And thus, always looking for the lesson to be learned and the silver lining, I am reminded that when writing fiction even the most improbable scenarios can be rendered perfectly plausible so long as the context and sequence are right.
Also, from now on I do my sewing with the radio for company, and drink nothing stronger than a cup of tea.