Collecting Scars

Yes! It was bleed­ing. Not ter­rif­i­cal­ly, but it looked like it should be enough. One of the gran­ite shards had def­i­nite­ly bro­ken the skin on my right arm, just above the elbow. It was a slight wound, but expe­ri­ence gave me the con­fi­dence that it would scar. I mean, if the scratch from the lilac bush last sum­mer had left a grace­ful hair-thin line of white curv­ing the length of my tan fore­arm, sure­ly this would leave a mark.

Some­where ear­li­er in my teens I had become obsessed with scars. Slo­gans like “Sev­en scars make the man” and “Chicks dig scars” were con­stant­ly play­ing in my head. So every mishap that drew blood, and there were no few of such on a farm, I greet­ed with antic­i­pa­tion of a new badge of viril­i­ty, per­haps this time a “good one” I could real­ly flaunt.

Of course, being the scrawny wuss that I was, they were most­ly pret­ty pid­dly, and this was not going to be much either. I watch the red bump swell ever so slight­ly. After a minute, I give up hope that it would be suf­fi­cient to break sur­face ten­sion and form a trick­le down my arm. I hoist­ed the eight-pound sledge ham­mer and turned back to the small boul­der I was smash­ing for no real rea­son, oth­er than the haz­ard of the project. Maybe there was a big one in there yet.

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