Tuesday, March 20, 2012

With my broken face across the Drakensberg

In a recent soccer match, I kicked the ball at exactly the same instant as an opponent, then found myself pitched forward into his shoulder, breaking my face.

I believe I cracked my left cheekbone. There was a week of exquisite pain, and a blue-ish, off-green bruise that gradually abated. But today, about a month later, I still have a sore face.

Not only that, but my face looks different. And not only that, but because I look different, people treat me differently. Superficial society that we live in, I attribute all of this to my cracked face.

Since I broke my face, I have not fielded a single glance of glad-eye in a public space. Not at the mall, at the gym or any place of business. Not that I would have acted on the glad-eye. Fact is, I'm generally dispensing generous doses of glad-eye everywhere I go, so to have it reciprocated is more of a pleasant surprise than anything else.

But there will apparently be none for the likes of me, with my broken face. I'm not blessed with a medical aid at the moment, so there was little chance of me ever getting my face seen to. But I went and had a look online, just in case. Here's what they prescribe for a fractured cheekbone on surgerydoor.co.uk: "However, if there is a deformity of the face, surgical correction my be needed. This involves incisions inside the mouth or under the lower eyelid, and then application of a titanium plate and screws to stabilise the bone."

No thank you! I'd rather go through life like this.

But I'm so ugly! My face has lost its symmetry. I can see it in the mirror. When I can bring myself to look! I've got a broken face!

But you know, I let go of my modelling career a long time ago. The days when women would give me glad-eye have been consigned to the bank of pleasant memories, along with my round-the-world surfing tour and the time I played pool with Rodriguez.

So in some ways, breaking my face was a symbolic fracture, marking the end of youth. My response to it too. When I was the biggest swordsman in Port Elizabeth, I might have gone running to the plastic surgeon to repair my precious visage. Now, not so much.

Back in the days of my intact face, I was lucky enough to pique the interest of a lovely young lady in the events industry. In a moment where she wasn't quite concentrating, I proposed marriage, and she accepted, little suspecting what deformed horror she was letting herself in for.

So now I have her in my clutches. And life is good.

My assymetrical bonce, my broken face, has not so much freed me of the burden of handsomeness, as blown the last shavings of youth from the woodpile of pride we towed behind us on our wagon of self-regard during our trek across the Drakensberg of young manhood.

Today I stand naked. Shaven headed, greying, droopy-eyed and with one cheek three millimetres lower than the other. My only weapons are my intellect, my skills, my humanity and the love of a beautiful woman.

I may not be much to look at, but I'm confident that those weapons will be all I require for the next leg of my journey, across the undulating highveld of middle age.

Well, those weapons, and some beer money.


krommeboy said...

A lasting reminder of your life inland... you should have been surfing!
I suppose, like Hendrix, ...it's alright, you've still got your guitar...

Hagen Engler said...

I made that coming inland call way back. And ja, the guitar does soften the blow!