The Scar of Childhood
Mine is on the left side of my right leg, directly below the knee. I cannot describe the shape because it depends on the temperature of the day and what I was wearing. Sometimes, that piece of scarred flesh is blue, but most days it radiates red. The biggest scar from my childhood will probably never go away – as most scars do – but I mean to say, “go away” in another way, in a way others bring it up over and over again. In other words, my scar bothers people.
It is nothing new to me. The bits of whispers or gestures caught in my peripheral senses reflect the summer days I dare to wear shorts. Sometimes, someone even asks if I’m okay or if I need a Band-Aid. I don’t judge them. After all, I am aware of how red the burn scar gets after a day in the sun. Up close, it can look like it just happened. From a distance, it sometimes appears to be bleeding.
Gross? Definitely. But I do wish I could wear shorts without questioning the number of people I will surely gross out during my daily commute. Being asked if I have a disease from a complete stranger isn’t exactly a confidence boost, so I generally wear pants all year around – just to avoid all the trouble.
I’ve tried to overcome this insecurity of mine. Trust me. I have gone through the stare-all-you-want phase. But it ended somewhere along the way – on a day I was too tired to explain, “No, it isn’t contagious” and follow up with the explanation of where it came from.
It happened in 2006. I had just turned 14, and I was celebrating with my favorite gift from 2003. My father had gave me a Vino moped painted a merlot red (my favorite color). Why he thought this was safe for a teenager is still beyond me, but it wasn’t illegal on private property nor is it rare for preteens and teenagers to have mopeds and dirt bikes in the Midwest. Plus, I did drive it for two years without incident. The third year, 2006, brought the incident.
We had a forest of acres behind our house. If you’ve read Take Me Tomorrow, these are the same trees Sophia falls in love with – the trees I crashed my moped into.
It’s impossible to explain the logic going through my head that day, but the forest had mowed trails I drove on all the time. Perhaps it was familiarity that allowed me to ignore the dangers of that specific day. The difference this particular moment was the small amount of moisture on the ground. The end result was enough mud to sling my back tire out from under me.
The engine landed on my leg.
I guess that is how scars are born – singular moments, sometimes in moments much like other moments, with only one dramatic change, but the scarring moment stays with you forever while all the others melt together or melt away.
For me, childhood is much like that scar – a collection of good memories I cannot separate from one or the other and a few, very defined moments I cannot sever from my every day life – but I would not wish it away.
The absence of my scar might make my daily life easier – simpler – but I would lose a story to tell. I would lose MY story. I would lose me.
P.S. I have worked with some wonderful authors this week through my Services, and I wanted to give them all a big shout-out! Check out their work by clicking the links below.
A Time to Reap by Jonas Lee (YA, fantasy, time-traveling)
Red Queen: The Substrate Wars by Jeb Kinnison (YA, thriller, modern-day dystopia)
Along the Way to Happily-Ever-After by T.N. Carpenter (self-help, memoir about marriage)