Unlikely Friends, a Broken Nose, and Loss - a tribute to Simmie Cotton

I have a flat spot on the bridge of my nose. It makes it difficult to find glasses that fit. And my deviated septum makes it hard to breathe out of my left nostril and might make me snore (you would have to ask Jennifer). This is all the result of multiple nasal fractures. Each one has a story. Each one is a part of me. Wounds are funny that way. 

When I was thirteen, I was at my friend's house playing basketball with him, his brother, and some of the neighborhood guys. Simmie and I were on the same team, and his brother, Mark, was on the other. The game ended rather abruptly when I gave Mark a terrible shot fake. As a result my face, or I should say, my nose took the brunt of his attempt to block the shot that never left my hand. So, I live with this constant reminder of that sunny summer afternoon. It is a part of me. Wounds are funny that way.

Simmie was one of my best childhood friends. He was the first person that made me feel welcome on the playground of my new school on the first day of second grade. We quickly became attached to one another. Or as my mom tells it, "Brian came home from school talking about Simmie all the time. There was a special bond between the two. You see Brian was a very white blond little boy and Simmie was very brown with black hair. From that first meeting our family had Simmie in our lives. He was in and out of our house all the time as was Brian at his. You see color did not make a difference. Sometimes when we would have him at a restaurant with us people would stare, we did not care. He called Jim and I dad and mom all the time. Time passed, and we did not see each other often but always got a hug and kiss from him and was always introduced as Mom.

Today, I said goodbye to Simmie much too early. Saying goodbye hurt. Even though we had not seen one another much after high school, we remained connected on a deeper level as only childhood friends can. I carry his impact in my life every day in much the same way that my nose reflects that afternoon on the basketball court. This loss and his life are a part of me. Wounds are funny that way.

What stories do your wounds tell?

I love you, Simmie, my friend and my brother. May you rest in peace.


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