Visible Scars

Nikola has fallen asleep on the sofa, and I don’t want to wake him. He is sleeping so soundly and so peacefully, and for everyone, peace is so hard to come by, so no, I will not wake him. That would be a crime.

He has a motorcycle, have I mentioned that? That is why he was wearing goggles the day I first met him over lunch. He has an old motorcycle, something from back before either of us was born. I have ridden on it twice now, sitting on the seat behind him, my head against his back and my arms wrapped around his waist. We rode it today, down to Coyote Point and then home again, just a joyride really. It’s a very nice machine, and not once have I felt afraid while riding with him.

He will only ride his motorcycle when he travels. Once, he said, he was in a car accident and was pinned inside for hours, pressed against the steering wheel, bloodied, broken, glass in his hair. He raised his shirt and showed me the scar that runs across his side like a shark bite, where part of the crumpled car door ripped into him. He told me to touch it, and I did. It felt hard, like there was something hiding beneath the skin, a thin cylinder of stone or bone.

“I would rather be thrown across the pavement and have all the skin stripped from my body than be trapped again like that. It is no way to die, that way.”

“No way is the way,” I said. “They’re all terrible.”

“No,” he said. “Some are worse than others, some are better.” He shrugged and put his shirt back down. “But I’m not driving in a car again.”

Now he is asleep, after having dinner with me, after watching a movie, and I would not wake him for the world. I go to the linen closet and take out a blanket, the old blue one, and I unfold it over him. He has no pillow, but the sofa is very comfortable, so I am not worried. He murmurs something in his sleep, and I kneel beside him on the floor, but he doesn’t wake.

I hesitate a moment, and then I put my hand on his side, over his scar. I don’t press hard, not wanting to wake him, so I can’t feel it, but I know that it’s there. It’s comforting for a reason I can’t explain.

In the morning, if he is still here, I will make him breakfast.

We all have our scars.

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1 Comment

  1. So, we do. And your Nikola, too.


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