My late husband believed that everyone has a superpower. That it was so easy for us to imagine the possibility of a superhuman because the universe affirmed the possibility in tiny ways. We all know someone who can accurately guess how many jelly beans are in a jar. Someone who can pour out a perfect cup of rice without any measuring tools. Someone who can find what other people have been searching for.
Seeing tiny possibilities helps us imagine bigger ones.
If you have ever seen a houseplant, you can understand the existence of a tree. If you have ever seen a lake, you can imagine an ocean.
All this to say, I’m pretty sure my ears are immortal.
Or super-healing, at least.
You see, in my mid-twenties, I bulleted them with piercings. I didn’t want to wear them all at once, I just wanted to wear an earring wherever I wanted it. The lovely woman doing the piercing made sure I understand that some of the placements would probably never close up.
“If you stop wearing earrings, you’ll just have several tiny but visible holes in your ear forever. Are you sure?”
I was sure.
But, true to my ear’s healing abilities, the first time I went a couple weeks without wearing earrings— they healed closed without a scar or sign.
I have two piercings on the lobes of each of my ears. I’ve had to have them re-pierced seven times. One time they closed up after just four days.
While incarcerated, so desperate to keep them from healing, I bit the teeth off a cheap plastic black comb and slid them in. I kept those in until my late husband, Dave, was able to send me an actual pair of stainless steel stud earrings.
They arrived on my anniversary, the day after Christmas. I wore them every day until I came home.
I’m wearing them again today.
They’re a good, easy, daily type of earring. Something you can wear into the shower, or even fall asleep with.
Most of my jewelry is not like this, especially not my earrings. I like big clunky things. Oversized modern or outright ridiculous, if I can get it, but tacky will do in a pinch.
“Won’t those drag down your ears?”
“Won’t they turn your ears green?”
“Won’t you get an infection?”
People whose ears are not super-powered have many worries in life.
My own ears heal too fast to consider any of that, but I always wonder what worries the askers do not have, what super power in their life eases a tiny thing.
Do their plants just… bloom? Can they hang a painting straight without a specialty laser tape measure? Can they look at a ball of dough, press it between their fingers, and know whether or not it is going to be a good bake?
Is there someone out there with immortal eyelids? How did they find out? Would we recognize each other on the street?
My own eyelid has a scar on it, which isn’t too shocking considering how much of my body is covered in them. It’s slightly more interesting that I don’t remember where the scar came from– but when you consider all that I no longer remember, maybe that isn’t as suspicious as it seems.
But I remember everything about these stainless steel studs. So different from most of my collection. My anniversary gift, sent in a prison catalog box.
We laughed about it.
I can hear the laughter even now, free and clear of any pain from the loss or the experiences. I told myself what happened to me. I said all the broken and jagged bits of that story out loud.
My ears took it all in, and did what they do.
I tell myself all my secrets. I name my shames. I explain my faults and failures and flights of faithlessness.
I let my ears hold them right before I go to bed. In the mornings, I wake to bird din and leaf clatter, and the thrums of love. Everything heals into a story I can give away.
The universe keeps finding ways to pierce me — to dig graves in my heart, and scoop hope from my hands— and I hear this is just how life works sometimes.
I take in that wisdom. Listen closely.
I give it time.
And sure enough,
I can hear myself filling all those holes.