This I Believe
Both my knees are scarred from reconstructive surgery. I have done twenty months of rehab. Twenty months of pain, tears, sweat, agony. Twenty months of suffering. I believe any success I have, I deserve. The scar on my left knee has faded after three years and the application of a lot of mederma. But I do not want the scar on my right knee to fade. The scar is a constant reminder of the pain, mental and physical, I have endured. I want to remember.
In what was unexpectedly my last high school baseball game, I hit a dribbler towards the third baseman. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to be a close play at the bag. I took off towards first base to beat out his throw. I leapt for the bag in a final effort to outrun the throw. The third baseman’s throw was offline and I saw it bounce past the first baseman so I tried to cut towards second quickly. My knee crumpled inwards underneath me as a result of the awkward move. It felt like my knee was twisted entirely to the left, but my foot was sticking out to the right. I was afraid to look down because I feared that I would see exactly that. I lay on the ground with my head back, clutching my right knee. “Not again. Not again.”
I hate to cry in public, but the intensity of the pain combined with the stark realization that I had blown out my other knee made me succumb. Choking on tears, the athletic trainer carted me away from the field. According to our orthopedic surgeon, with whom our family has become entirely too close, there was no need to go to the emergency room because they would just tell me to go see him.
I forgot to mention that this all happened the morning of my senior prom. Despite my pain, I was determined to go. My date for the night was my girlfriend of about two months. She was the reason I was so intent on going. If I were not going with someone that I did not care for, I definitely would not have gone. But being with her always made me happier, and I desperately needed to feel happy. I spent much of the night crying on her shoulder. Despite my sadness, all physical pain was gone in her presence. It was on that night that my feelings for her went from a huge crush to being absolutely in love. Not once did she leave my side that night. I believe love can cure pain.
Nearly six months later, the scar on my right knee is still a dark pink. I remember screaming in the middle of the night after my painkillers wore off after surgery. I remember crying in physical therapy with a towel draped over my head while doing an exercise to improve the range of motion. I remember watching two frustrating basketball seasons from the bench. And I remember a night where I fell in love.
I believe something wonderful can come from something painful, and maybe even make pain disappear. Any happiness and success I have, I deserve. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.