UnbreakableNovember 6th, 2009
by Autumn Kindelspire
BROOKLYN, NY -
When I was four, a bottler rocket blew up in my face. When I was ten, I swan-dived into the street, knocking out a tooth and damaging the cartilage in my nose. Over the course of my life, I’ve fallen twenty-feet from a tree, had a rusty nail go through my sneaker and most of the way through my foot, and been in more car accidents than I can count. But, I’ve never once broken a bone, and I only have three noticeable scars on my body.
My friend Neil says I’m unbreakable.
“Like the Bruce Willis movie?”
He says when they cut open my skull for brain surgery, they probably had to use an industrial strength saw blade, and more than one probably broke before they got through. That’s how unbreakable I am.
I shake my head. “They used an adamantium saw blade.” Neil and I are both comic book fans.
“You’re a superhero.”
“Save the Autumn, save the world.”
I don’t entirely trust my superpower. Whenever I get hurt (which is often) I always seem to think this is when it’s going to be the big one. The broken bone. The ruptured spleen. The disfiguring scar. On the other hand, a faint belief in my indestructibility also leads me to do really stupid stuff. Not leap-around-New-York-City’s-skyline-in-tights stupid, more like try-to-balance-on-the-top-of-a-folding-chair-while-getting-something-out-of-the-attic stupid.
“If I’m a superhero, what’s my kryptonite?”
“Infection,” Neil says. “You’re always getting sick.”
While my skin and bones may be made of steel, my insides are softer, weaker stuff. I’ve had bronchitis, pneumonia, and an endless number of sinus and respiratory infections. If there’s a germ in the area, I’ve probably wrestled with it. I’m unbreakable, but I’m sickly.
“Doctor Germ is your arch nemesis,” he says.
“Any villain whose name starts with Doctor is undeniably crappy.”
“Remind me to get some better villains.” (Ideas so far include: Amoeba Man, Victor von Viral, and The Black Plague.)
If I were the villain, I’d be one of the four horsemen of Apocalypse from Marvel’s X-Men: Pestilence.
Comic book trivia: Marvel actually had a horseman named Autumn at one time, but she was Famine.
“The trouble with being unbreakable,” I tell him, “is that I’m not impervious to pain.”
Everything that happens to me hurts. A lot. It just doesn’t seem to break any bones or cause any lasting damage. If I were to jump from a tall building, or smash through a glass window in order to save an honest citizen from a crazy supervillain, it would hurt like hell. I’d probably cry, and moan, and roll around on the floor until it felt better. This is not attractive behavior in a superhero, and it certainly doesn’t inspire fear in the hearts of evildoers.
This past weekend, Dave and I moved from Westchester to Brooklyn. I’d been sick with a cold for a week (okay, maybe more like ten days), and just before the weekend it had bloomed into a sinus infection. A big, bad one. Sleepless nights of coughing, a runny nose that was now starting to bleed from all the blowing, and pressure headaches that made my teeth feel like they were going to shatter. Yes indeed, Doctor Germ had my number. But I had my mission, and like any good do-gooder, I was determined to prevail.
I was carrying down a hamper full of stuff when I started coughing. And then I lost my balance. My left foot missed the next step, and came down hard on the landing. My ankle wobbled to the left, then the right, and then I collapsed.
The pain in my ankle was explosive. I had to drag myself back up the stairs. I rubbed the quickly-swelling area, put my shoe back on, cemented on a smile, and started walking through it. By the time anyone knew I was hurt, my ankle was roughly the size of a softball. The bone was hot to the touch, and once I was off it the pain left me speechless and shivering.
I went to a clinic for x-rays (three days later). Sprained, but not broken. I’d forced all the ligaments of my ankle past their stretching point. Only time will tell if I’ve permanently damaged any of them.
I don’t think I have. I can walk on it now, and the pain is only bad if I try to pivot or step backwards too quickly. It’s still swollen.
When I came back to work, I saw Neil in the cafeteria. “Hey! How’s your ankle?” he asked.
“Sprained, but not broken,” I tell him. “Proving once and for all….”
Perhaps. Or I’m just very, very lucky. Either way, I don’t think I’ll break out the Kevlar suit and Autumn signal anytime soon.