It’s as though each of us were born with a tender spot somewhere that we are completely unaware of until someone or something pokes around in it; suddenly, with a blinding pain we can barely remember afterwards, we are expelled from our innocence, from childhood, and then it can take us years to comprehend that a spot exists, to learn where it is and what it means, to find a way to protect oneself. Eventually, we learn that the spot is the locus of our greatest sensitivity, that some of our highest endeavors have come about in response to it; that the scar tissue that grows over the spot can be as beautiful as a spider web, or the texture of a leaf. But before that happens, it can seem as though the spot were gaping out from the middle of our forehead: a hideous defect, an all-encompassing shortcoming that invalidates the rest of our existence, that we do all we can to conceal from others. Sometimes we toughen up in response, sometimes this occurs at the cost of a larger receptivity, but sometimes the wound won’t heal and goes on oozing for a long time, emitting a strange odor that others instinctively pull back from.
62. a hideous defect, an all-encompassing shortcoming