Do you hide them? Do you wear them like a badge of honor? Do you own them like a scarlet letter?
We all have them.
They are not all visible to the public.
They beg questions: when, where, how did they appear?
What or who do they bind us to?
They hurt when they’re fresh. They let you predict the weather.
They never let you forget.
Do you pick at them or own them as if they were a messy pet who showed up on the stoop and you kept?
How often do you use the time machine that they fuel?
The old man spit, sucked another mouthful of the PBR, put his finger on a dead, white, gully on the underside of his left forearm, swallowed, and rasped, “Got this in ’59; hurt like hell.” He drifted into the whirlpool of his memory.
“Don’t remember why we started; maybe . . . maybe doesn’t matter anymore. The place burned down long time back. They never rebuilt it. Pieces just keep fallin’ into the bay. A body can see more at low tide.”
Do you try to hide them?
How deep and old are they?
Do they mark regret, triumph, or just carelessness?
The girl stared at the ring, touched it, tried to unfurl it from her finger. Salt water rolled down her memory. “Is this what forever feels like?” This one is deep, old, but still pink and sharp.
Are they echoes in your psyche or shouts in your soul?
Do they speak to you in the scalding shadeless noon hour?
Do they whisper through the midnight wasteland of your dreams?
Are they your play-by-play record as you keep score?
There are six of them, like small reminders of a bout with a low calibre machine gun stitching a line across the man’s abdomen. They will endure until his last breath, an outward scoreboard for a losing match. The surgery they remember did not cure the illness. There will be deep, creeping, growing scars never seen by those in the room. They will force beautiful memories in someone’s forever.