Scar Tissue

They were wandering through the park
when she started to imagine how they may appear
to someone who was passing by.
Two people walking,
their faces anonymous
revealing nothing,
avoiding eye contact.
The silence between them invisible,
something a stranger would not notice perhaps?
Or would they have seen that just a moment before,
she had wanted to take his hand
by way of a gesture, as some sort of apology,
but that his footsteps on the gravel,
the way his eyes rose,
not to meet her own
but instead to stare past her
at something in the distance that wasn’t there,
had made her sink her hands
deeper into her pockets
where she clenched them,
digging fingernails into flesh
in an attempt to stifle something.
But the memory rose to meet her anyway.
The memory of that morning when she had woken before him
watching him sleep, watching him breathe,
trying to imagine the dreams
that flickered there behind his eyelids.
His skin the same colour as the sand on the beach
where they had lain the day before, laughing.
Soft, save for the scar that pinched and cracked
along the length of his arm.
She had run her finger across it
caressing it, tracing its course along the vein,
feeling its smoothness, its separateness, its evasiveness.
Once he had said that he could always hear her laugh,
even when she wasn’t there.
This was the piece of her he kept with him, kept inside his head
to conjure up when he needed it.
She had wanted a piece of him for herself,
had wanted to know all about that scar,
about the secrets that had left their mark on him.
But when he woke to feel her fingers there
he had turned away,
rolled over on his side in retreat,
his silence revealing that there were things she would never know.
Things that would always walk beside them,
between them.

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