Now that it’s all over, all I have left are faint traces that outline our relationship. They’re just harmless memories of moments that cut us open. But the blood is dry, the scab has healed. The hurt is gone, and only the scars remain.*
1. That time we went hiking and we tied our shoes to our backpacks. I dropped something and we both bent down to grab it, but I was faster. When you leaned over, your shoes flew over your backpack and hit my head hard enough that my headband broke under my hat. I had a slight bump, but it wasn’t too bad.
2. That time we were riding our bikes home from our friend’s at five in the morning and some drunken idiot threw himself in front of my bike after you passed. I was thrown off, and the bike landed on top of me, bruising me and breaking my lights and fender.
You yelled him down as he drunkenly slurred that I’d hit him. His friends apologized to us and we rode off as they walked away. “Are you sure you want to get on your bike?” you asked. “Yes, I just want to go home,” I answered.
But within a few meters, I started crying so hard that I couldn’t stay on my bike. You put your arm around me and rode by my side until we slowed to a stop. You pulled me in, and I cried into your chest, hands over my face.
I didn’t stop until you asked again if I was hurt– “How’s your head? Are you bleeding? How are your jeans?” Crying turned into laughter. As if I cared whether my jeans were ripped.
3. That time we were racing on our bikes to make it to the liquor store before it closed. Everyone has their own way of getting places, a fact I forgot when we separated in a flash and sped around different sides of the theater. In a moment of hesitation, I turned to find you and clipped the fence of the tram stop. My knuckle only bled a little bit.
4. That time we were playing soccer with the little boy I babysit, and you crossed me in a way I hadn’t planned. I tripped over your heels and fell, in slow motion, into a pole. I dropped down onto my knees to avoid it, then put up my arm, hitting it, and turning my face into the metal. My knees were scraped and bleeding, my arm had hit so hard that my bracelet cut into my wrist and I had rows of little bead-sized cuts, and had a black eye for a week.
5. That time we made dinner for everyone; you were cutting onions and I was peeling potatoes. I didn’t realize how sharp the potato-peeler was, and you didn’t realize how blind and teary the onions would make you.
At the end of one peel, I sliced off a large chunk of skin off of my finger, and froze as the blood trickled down onto the cutting board. I slowly stood and held my hand over the sink, under the faucet. I was too short to reach the cupboards.
“He-hey…. do you think you could get me a bandaid? Or… or paper towels? Anything?”
You were bent over your cutting board and joked, “I caaan’t move… these onions are making me sooo emotional!”
We were broken up again at this point. So I didn’t say anything, and climbed onto the countertop to reach the napkins, in an acrobatic motion, arms outstretched to keep my hand over the sink.
6. That time we walked along the shoulder of the highway for hours, trying to find the train station. We didn’t know where we were going and I kept finding a footpath that lead into a park area, and we both agreed it would be better to follow the highway which would definitely, eventually lead to the station, than take the path which could lead anywhere.
It started to get dark, and when I saw it again, I yelled, “Hey!” A cyclist happened to be passing at that exact moment and stopped. We spoke with him and he gave us directions via the path to the station, which wasn’t far off at all.
By the time we got home, we were so exhausted, we could hardly move or speak, diminished to the blisters on our feet and the backaches from carrying our bags for hours on uneven terrain.
7. That time you told me you loved me, only to take it back a week later. We went to a festival with all our friends, and in my drunken state, I ran at a game-booth. My goal: a giant stuffed bear holding a heart that said, “I love you.” I punched it so hard that it swung backward and my hand collided with the metal wall of the booth.
We sat at a table and I put my head down, arms thrown out in front of me. It was then that our friend noticed what had happened and was concerned that my knuckles were bleeding everywhere. “If anything, you should clean that!”
I angrily lifted my head, spat on my hand, and rubbed it on my shirt. I knew I was being childish, but the wound was fresh and I couldn’t stand that you could see me bleed. The only thing to do was try and pretend that I didn’t care.
8. That time we were walking with our friends to a party and I fell over my bike as I tried keep up with you. I didn’t want to say anything because I was trying to impress the guy we were both talking to. My legs and arms were scraped and bruised, but I was too excited, and we went anyway.
9. But the worst scars are the things you said that you didn’t mean.
* I know I hurt you too. I remember the times I lied to you over and over again. The times I shut you out when you didn’t deserve it. The times I would run away, sometimes physically, emotionally, or literally, and you would worry that I’d never come back, especially after I almost got hit by a car in the middle of a midnight sprint.
The time we got into our only real fight and I finally admitted that you hurt me. It took what felt like hours and your telling me that you felt like you didn’t know me at all to raise my voice and fight back. You were holding a candleholder I’d given you in the beginning and I ripped it out of your hand, throwing it into the river, saying I’d rather it rot at the bottom of L’Îll than for you to have it. I didn’t notice, but the corner caught you and you bled for a few city blocks, until you finally stopped me and I saw what had happened. We covered it up with a page torn out of Emerson. It was poetic. It all was.
And sometimes, there comes a point. When no matter how you feel about each other, that good feeling gets covered up by too many bruises. And you can’t save what you have anymore.