I’ve always wanted a big scar with a great story. Something peaking out of my t-shirt, a massive burn maybe, that people would be uncomfortable asking me about. It would be a sign that I had “been through something” and make people like me out of sympathy and respect. When I was in grade school I used to make up siblings and then kill them off slowly as a way to get attention. I told my best friend I was born on a houseboat in the Irish Sea and my middle name was Banana. At summer camp a couple of years later I convinced this same friend that I was a mermaid. It took a couple of days, but by sticking by my story I got her to ask, “Well, what are you doing on land then?” This was a personal triumph.
The point is, I’m only beginning to understand scars. That silly, wishing girl didn’t understand anything about pain. By sheer luck I have gone through this life on the periphery of tragedy. I’ve been witness to it, helped others through it, but have never experienced the sharp pain that earns a true scar, physical or otherwise. I do know, however, the dull ache of scars just beginning to surface. I’m only beginning to understand how foolish one must be to wish for them. Those little mangled girls and boys lived in another world, bitter and so much faster than mine.