We’re going to play a little game that I like to call “Pretend that it’s August 23 and Lauren actually made this post on time.” Just go with it. Pretend with me.
Whether or not psychic abilities exist, I am uncertain. I am, however, certain that sometimes, our “gut feelings” (an immediate perception of a situation before it’s even happened/before you have arrived, for anyone who’s hanging out on the literal side of things) are correct. The second of August 2012 was one of those days.
Over the course of a couple of months, Elijah and I were growing closer and closer. We shared things with each other that nobody else knew, because we inherently knew that it was safe. Elijah had come to know the shame I felt about the scars that riddled my body. He had sent a text message, at some point in July, asking me if it was weird for him to request to kiss my scars. I responded honestly by telling him, “Not necessarily weird. Definitely unprecedented.” We didn’t speak any more of it.
On August 2, I clocked out of work at an awful food chain that is contained thus far to Minnesota, plus one in North Dakota. I’d be willing to bet that I reeked of sweat and orange chicken. I went home, changed, and then straight to Elijah’s house. We walked to our favorite field, to sit under our favorite tree.
Those pesky little gut feelings were screaming at me: “SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT TODAY.”
Naturally, I ignored them.
We spent an hour or so playing around with cameras and a purple plush elephant. As the laughter faded into comfortable silence, I heard the sharp intake of breath that always comes just before Elijah is going to ask or answer a question. He asked me, “What do you see when you look into my eyes?”
I hesitated for a moment before bringing my eyes to meet his. For the first time, I got to see, really see, the gorgeous green eyes. I saw how gentle they were, I saw compassion. I saw a world of hope and love. I saw pain and sadness so deep that not even he could reach them. I saw a fighter. And then I asked what he saw in my eyes.
He listed some things, but emphasized fear. He told me that some people have a beauty that permeates every bit of their being. He told me that my eyes shone, and that I was one of those people. I smiled, and didn’t say much at all. I didn’t know what to say.
As the night went on, we talked about this and that, whatever popped into our heads or dug its way into our conversation. As it got dark, we laid beside one another. I heard the sharp intake of breath.
“I still want to kiss your scars.”
I showed him my wrist, my shoulder, my hips, my stomach. my back (No, mother, he did not see anything inappropriate). He kissed each visible scar. When he got to my wrist, he looked at the knotted mass of scars and asked me, “How many?” I told him I didn’t know. Over 100, at least. So he kissed my wrist. And again. And again. And again.
“Nintey-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred… one hundred and one.”
After he finished with each section of scars, he placed a hand over them and said, “These are not scars. They are you. And they are beautiful.”
If you don’t have scars like mine, I doubt you understand the feeling. Imagine that the action of which you are most ashamed is exposed to the world. You can cover it up, but a little slip, and anyone can see. Now, imagine that someone comes up to you. Looks at that action and shame. Really looks at it. Studies it the way an astronomer studies the sky. And then they look at you, and they smile. With nothing more than their lips and a slight whisper, they take away the shame that’s plagued you. That’s kind of what it’s like.
We laid together, my head on his chest, arms around his stomach. He told me how he’s ached for this, for the feeling that he is protecting someone, and that someone is protecting him. We laid like that for an eternity. We watched the full moon. Heard a fawn walking around us, curiously inching forward before darting away. We called her Aura.
“What are we, Lauren?”
“I uh. I don’t know. What do you want us to be?”
“I don’t know.”
So we laid for another hour or so, before I heard another sharp intake.
“I think I know what I want.”
“Can I… Can I um. Kiss you?”
He giggled. I imagine he’d turned bright red, but I couldn’t tell in the moonlight. His eyes darted away from me, and then back, and away, and back and away and back and away over and over and over again. He finally worked up the courage and then..
“I don’t know how.”
I laughed. Shook my head.
“Just kiss me.”