The words cut through the sound-muffling glass. "How did you get the bump on your head?" Alexis' dance teacher asked in a concerned voice.
The sentence hung in the air as I waited for Alexis' response. As expected, she sat dumbfounded, unsure what the question meant. She shrugged her little shoulders, making her loopy curls bounce up and down, before saying, "There's no bump on my head."
In that moment, I remembered there actually WAS a little scratch on the kid's forehead. It was a tiny little scab, probably a penance for Alexis' zombie-like sleeping habits. Of course she didn't know it was there, because she likely didn't remember that she had scratched herself in the middle of the night as she flailed around searching for brains or whatever it is that she searches for when she's not really sleeping. I had noticed the little mark the morning before, but thought nothing of it until that moment. Just then, it was like a little arrow pointing to her birthmark, blurring the line between injury and fate. That which had been previously unseen was now prominently featured.
The dance teacher persisted, clearly not realizing that seriously, the kid has absolutely no knowledge of the remaining hints of a hemangioma. Every few months someone will ask about it. Every few months Alexis will act like it's the first time anybody has ever spoken English to her. In what is obviously an indication of her priorities, she remembers every line to every episode of Hannah Montana she has ever seen, where I parked when we went to the mall last year, and what she was wearing that time Ethan jumped in the puddle. She does not remember that there is a small maze of strawberry-colored lines and dots on her forehead.
The teacher eventually accepted Alexis' confusion and moved on to a new topic of discussion, even as I pondered how I should equip Alexis to be more prepared for the issue in the future. Teach her to say, "It's a hemangioma?" in a condescending tone? Instruct her to ask, "What is THAT on YOUR face?" Or just let her keep on acting like a confused little girl, knowing full well that the hemangioma is so very close to being completely gone? It is just a matter of time, really, before it won't be an issue anymore.
Of course, you know, people could just stop asking my kid what is wrong with her forehead.