The injury is dull and crusty, peeling up at the edges, blood dried hard by the passage of time. The recollection of it is sharp and vivid, bright with pain and horror.
When the damage occurred the plasma flowed freely and unbound for but an instant before coagulation began, collagen sending out the distress signal, fibrin threads catching platelets in a web of criss-crossing proteins, cells springing into action without any thought or due process required on the part of brain or nervous system.
The response was immediate and unqualified, the action of preservation. Whatever the distress on the part of the larger being, the internal machinations were no less measured and precise. Damage control was the aim, and such was attained, the scab now evidence of nature’s precision.
It is a magnificent scab, too–hard and impenetrable, keeping out pathogens and other debris, allowing the new skin to grow beneath its protective shelter. Cells knit together and form a tender covering over the damaged dermis, slowly growing and thickening to replace what was lost. Time is all that is needed for healing to come. If nothing disturbs the clot, all will be well enough.
But how can such a thing be resisted? Pluck the edges ever so slightly and it lifts, pulling at the epidermis, nerve endings twanging ever so slightly in alarm. Let it be the brain urges, ineffectively.
Maybe this time it will be different. Maybe this time it will not bleed again. Maybe this time it’s ready to come off in one piece, revealing only the beauty of the healing process behind. Maybe it won’t hurt. Maybe it’s ready.
It’s not ready.
Once more the cells spring into action: collagen, fibrin, platelets, etc. Once more they do their work and the bleeding is staunched.
Again the scab grows.