Scars I Keep

My body is a cage
We take what we’re given
Just because you’ve forgotten
That don’t mean you’re forgiven

I have a little indent above my right eyebrow, left over from the chickenpox I had in the third grade. When the blisters turned to scabs, I couldn’t help but pick at them. My mom scolded me, saying “One day you’ll care what you look like, you don’t want scars!” I defiantly told her that I’d never care, and went right ahead.

I have a faint pink line on my left shin. Jake Bean was the fattest baby and then the skinniest child as we grew up together on Millview Court, skateboarding down the “cut-through,” learning how to ride our bikes, hiding in the bushes, and dirtying his mother’s clean carpet with our gloriously muddy shoes. He was almost like a brother to me, so we fought like it. One sunny afternoon we were wrestling and he pushed me and I fell onto a rusty nail on a board of our wooden platform in my backyard. It bled a surprising amount and he was more scared than I.

Some tissue in my heart’s AV node is lifeless, burned and frozen to death by two rounds of catheter ablation. It never worked as it should and now it doesn’t at all. The incision points on my neck and the tops of my femoral arteries in my groin bear the only external reminder of the murdered bits in my most important muscle. That, and the deep exhaustion under my eyes that I’ve yet to kick from having two heart surgeries in the space of five months.

In the middlest-middle of my back is a small circle the size of a dime, where, when I was 16, a nice lady who smelled like bleach scraped off a mole to be tested for cancer as it grew and grew. My first touch with feeling as if my body had limits.

I have a matching round pink scar on each knee. One from gleefully racing my best friend down a steep hill and skidding into a patch of gravel, which I picked out of the wound for days. The other is more fresh, from literally running after a man in a time of alcohol and my most potent insecurity. He was never good to me in the first place and neither had the one before. My mind has spun 360 degrees, but the knee scar remains.

My arms and fingers are dotted with a few swipes of the lightest pink; burns from learning how to cook in my first few strange adult years as I figure it all out.

The scars we keep.

They break us, they make us, they take us, they forsake us. They fade and we forget but the littlest patterns and lightest dappled parts are part of our tapestry forever. And the imperfections make us perfect…

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