Wow, time flies… It surely can’t be four-and-a-bit years since I bought myself a Keris Sundang? That was my present to myself for finally landing a job after my MBA… I couldn’t afford it at the time but, heck, it’s one of the decisions you don’t regret.
The blade is held fixed in the scabbard by a small catch, which really isn’t obvious if you don’t know it’s there.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m in Beijing. The keris is in my living room, in a stand on a bookshelf. One day I decided to take a look at it, and found that it was very difficult to remove from the scabbard – the clip was damaged. Furthermore, the upper brass band around the scabbard was loose. I hadn’t caused this, so what might have happened? At the time, the Siberian and I were sharing the flat with two other women; I was certain that neither she nor they would have been messing around with it. On the other hand, I knew that our Chinese landlady would let herself unannounced in from time to time, creeping around the apartment and taking photographs (I’d caught her red-handed a couple of times). Sometimes her husband came with her, and it was entirely plausible that he might have taken a look, and tried to force it out of the scabbard…
The keris came back to Wales with me, and last Sunday night I wanted to have a look at it. Even depressing the catch, it was still very stiff… until it came out suddenly… and I found myself looking at a thin line across the fingers of my left hand, which oh so slowly gaped open and started to seep blood…
Bah. Many thoughts go through your minds at such a time. (Examples: ‘Can it really be true that I have no first aid kit in the house?’, ‘So where exactly is the nearest A&E, then..?’)
Well, I could still make a fist and – after I’d washed it in cold water and soaked it in TCP – the wound didn’t hurt too much, I decided to see how it felt in the morning. As it turned out, I made it to a doctor, and got some ‘sticky stitches’ and some dressing, and it isn’t too serious. Could have been much, much worse. I’ll probably have scars, but heck, they’ll just add to my collection.
As a learning experience, well… after looking at the split skin and blood running down my arm, the subcutaneous fat cells bulging out past the edges of the wound… I certainly respect knives as weapons a whole lot more – what was previously abstract became a reality, written in my own flesh. Plus, I’ll never trust a Chinese landlord again.