“Ouch. This one is from when I was eight and fell in the woods,” she said, pointing to a long scar on her thigh.
“Doesn’t look so bad,” he snorted.
“No, no. That’s just the gash where I got the stitches. My dad screamed at me in front of the whole block for going into the woods and getting hurt. When one of the neighbor ladies took up for me, he started screaming at her. When we got to the emergency room, he put his arm around me and smiled and told the nurse, ‘Kids will be kids. I’m just glad she’s okay.'”
He squinted and cocked his head, and leaned in a little closer. “Oh yeah, I see it now, that’s an ugly one.” He reached down and rubbed a jagged scar on his ankle. “This is from when I was ten. My friend sicked his dog on me because I was stealing his bike.”
“Was it a nice bike?” she asked, trying to get a picture of the event in her head.
“No,” he laughed, “that mother-fucker was poorer than me, but my parents never bought me a goddamn bike.” He pulled his hand away from his ankle and turned toward her, waiting for her to reciprocate.
“This one is from my Grandma,” she beamed, “I told her I had a hard time making friends because I was shy, and I was at a new school all the time. After that, whenever she was mad at me, she would say, ‘That’s why nobody likes you.'”
“That’s a good one,” he laughed. “This one is from my mom’s drunk boyfriend with a broken beer bottle when I was fifteen. That’s when my mom kicked me out for good.”
“This one is from my babysitter. He was fifteen and I was five.”
“That one doesn’t look like it healed up right,” he observed. “You probably should have had that one looked at, you know?”
“Yeah, well… you know.”
“What are those, right there?” she asked, reaching her hand out to touch his chest. He instinctively pulled just out of her reach. He covered his wounds with one hand and reached for his shirt with the other. He fumbled with his shirt for a moment, but made no attempt to put it on.
“Those are all of the birthdays in juvie when my parents didn’t come see me or call.”
“Oh,” she said, withdrawing her hand. “How many?”
“All of them,” he said with a chuckle. He leaned in to kiss her and she instinctively pulled just out of his reach.
“Would you like a Coke?” she asked as she stood up.
He dropped his shirt as he reached over and grabbed her arm, pulling her down on top of him. He tangled his hands in her hair and pulled her head down and kissed her lips.
She moved down slowly, kissing his chin, and his neck, and his shoulder. Finally she began to kiss his chest, one kiss at a time. One for each birthday.
Heather Annastasia Siladi