By Aleithia Low, Yale-NUS ’17

With his fingers he showed me the scar underneath his collar, a pale sliver etched into his sculpted ivory collarbone. No one notices it there, he murmured into my hair, with lips that had been split by hands which were supposed to have loved him – hands which should have held his as they crossed the road to the soccer field opposite their house; hands which should have folded him into hugs.

I tried to show him the scars that lay inside me – too well-hidden to be found even if my corpse were to be laid out, exposed, stark naked, spread cold along the metal of the mortuary table.

Dragging his fingers along my rib I told of how when I was nine, my father sat my sister and I down, a family gathering around the dining table. He told us to get a knife each and fight till the death so we would finally stop quarrelling. That was the first stab wound.

I told him how the skin of my back was burnt by the the devastation of the car seat I sat in when my father told me he would be leaving.  The back of my eyes burned with anger and helplessness as I went through the rest of the day, yet I only remember how the hot leather adhered to my skin, how I only stayed upright because  its metal frame was forcing its way against my body.

The twisting of my arteries every time I saw how my mother loved them more than me. How she loved them more than I. How she stopped caring, how she cared too much. The twisting of muscles inside my bloodied knuckles, skin broken from trying to force the darkness back behind my teeth, straining to stop myself from gripping the window grill too tight, all the while looking down at the trees below, a scared fourteen year old needing to know how to stop the pain.

I folded my twisted, gnarled self into his lap and traced that pale sliver with my fingers. Where he hurt you – it’s healing over. We’re okay now.

Resting my eyelids against his, the damp underneath his eyelashes on my cheek, I felt the hollows between his ribs fill up with hope.

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