From my seat on the subway one evening last week, I happened to glance up at the man standing over me. Just under his chin was a pale, raised scar about half an inch long. Stitches: he must have fallen, bled and had stitches to close the wound. I know, because the same place on my own chin bears a scar just like it.
I looked around at the other passengers swaying inside the car as it hurtled toward 72nd St. I searched for the same mark, but none showed up in the cold, uneven light. Yet visible or not, I have no doubt that every one of those people had taken it on the chin a time or three in their lives. All of us fall on our faces, and the wonder is that we manage to patch ourselves up and keep on going. From time to time I’ve said that the books I write are about loss; but I think really they’re about the miracle of resilience in the face of loss – after we’ve taken it on the chin.