“I got this scar, the one you keep fondling, when I dropped my curling iron, and it grazed my boob. It hurt – a lot. I have some other scars as well. I might as well tell you about them.”
She looks over at the alarm clock set up on the nightstand beside the chair they’re sitting in. The green glow proudly declares that it is five in the morning. She yawns and continues to speak.
“I have another scar on the inside of my left forearm. It’s – “she yawns around the next few words – “faint and barely there anymore; I got it while cooking dinner with my mom several years ago. I was pulling the yams out of the oven — I think it was around Christmas time.
“Anyways, I was pulling yams out of the oven and wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing, and I nicked myself on the dish. Boy did that sure made me pay attention. I ended up dropping the dish on the floor – we didn’t get any yams that night. My dad was really upset about it. He loved yams.”
The creaking of a rocking chair fills the room as she goes silent for a minute.
“I have another one on my foot. I got that one from stepping on a piece of broken glass. The” – she gives into another yawn – “dog had knocked the glass off of the coffee table. I hadn’t been paying attention to where I was stepping; I got twelve stitches as a result.”
She rubs her right foot with the left one gently, as if remembering the ridges the stitches had made.
“I wasn’t allowed to step on that foot for a couple of weeks. It was hell – shit – crap – I need to stop saying that. I’m sure you’ll forgive me, though. It’s not like you’re going to remember or say anything about my little slip. Now, where was I? Oh yes. It” – she again heaves a yawn past her lips – “wasn’t very pleasant walking around on crutches and losing mobility. I hope you never do anything as stupid.”
The squeak of the rocking chair stops as she plants her feet and gives one protesting groan as she hoists herself out of the chair. She begins to slowly pace back and forth while pulsating her arms up and down softly.
“Not all of my scars are physical. I’ve got a couple of them on my heart,” she stops talking and stands in one place as she stops moving her tired arms up and down. She sways back and forth slightly in one spot. She gazes down at her arms for a minute and then lets out a sigh that quickly turns into yet another yawn.
“They’re not physically there, but they’re there all the same. The biggest one would have to have been when my father died. We were really tight and hung out a lot. It was like losing a piece of myself – like losing your thumb. Just something important, and that made your life better for having it.
“It happened while he was on the job. One of the cables broke on the crane lifting a couple of tons of rebar. He didn’t have enough time to get out of the way. He died where he was talking.”
She sniffles and swallows hard while blinking her eyes rapidly to dry out the tears that are on the brink of starting a journey down her face.
“He would have really loved you, you know. Not just because you’re mine, but because you were something that he wanted so much for me and for the family,” she says with a faint smile as she lost the battle with her tears as one quickly made its way down her cheek.
Feeling the moisture, she immediately rubs her face on her shoulder, trying to wipe away the liquid salt off her face before anymore fell. She is silent for a couple of minutes as she tries to stem any more tears from falling. She brings her arms closer to her body and bounces them gently up and down again.
“It’s not all bad, these scars on the heart. I have fond ones for my first love before I fell in love with John. Terrence had been my high school sweetheart. It was in my third year of university that he and I broke up. I had no idea that anything was wrong between the two of us. He was seeing my best friend behind my back.
“How he managed that I have no idea. It’s not even how he managed it, but more like how come I didn’t see it happening. I think it was because I was too wrapped up in my feelings for him that I was oblivious to everything but my feelings – this isn’t the point, though. The point is that dumping me freed me up so I could meet John, and it was one of the best moments I could have wished for.
“It showed me that I can repair the damage that my heart had inflicted upon it. Plus, I got my best friend out of the deal.” She yawns again as she starts to just sway gently while standing still.
After a while, she walks over to the window and peers into the darkness. The bundle squirms in her arms, she looks down and starts to jiggle her arms softly. She then raises her head and looks back out into the darkness beyond the windows.
The sun starts to appear after a while by touching the sky with deep mauves and violets with quick, violent flashes of orange and yellow, as it makes its way into view. She gives another massive yawn as she looks down. She slowly walks towards the other side of the room.
“Mom keeps telling me I should put vitamin E oil on my stretch marks to get rid of them. I’m not concerned with looking perfect, though. Getting rid of those marks would mean I would have to lose a part of you and the memories you created both in my heart and on my body. I wouldn’t change giving birth to you or having you stretch and distort my body. It was both thrilling and scary.
“To get rid of those marks is a lot like giving you up. You’ll always be the first to put these stretch marks, these scars, on my body. Even when I give you a brother or sister to torment later on.” She places her infant son in the crib and slowly backs away.
John pokes his head into the room. “Julia?”
Julia jolts and places a hand on her heart before turning around and glaring at John sleepily.
“Is he asleep?”
“Yeah. Finally.” She rubs her eyes and tries to stifle yet another yawn. “Why are you up?”
“My alarm went off five minutes ago. How long have you been up?”
John walks into the room slowly and softly. He stops in front of Julia and wraps his arms around her before kissing her gently on the head. John releases her and goes over to the crib. He gazes down at his sleeping son and smiles goofily. Julia walks up beside him and slips her hand into his as they both look down at their son.
“You have to go to work soon,” Julia reminds him quietly as she drops her head to his shoulder.
“If I have to.” They both chuckle softly. “Why didn’t you wake me up? I would have sat with him for a while.”
“You pushed me out of bed, John.” She looks at him with a look of contempt.
“No, I didn’t. You lie.” The dimples in his cheeks crease, and crow’s feet develop at the out corner of his eyes as he smiles at her. They back away slowly from the crib together. When they hit the doorway, John picks Julia up and sweeps her down the hallway to their room.