It was the final stretch of school, I had just handed in the the second to last of my papers before I would get my degree, and I was still under the gun and not able to enjoy the accomplishment. As I rounded the corner towards the elevator, on my way to finish the last paper, it happened.
We came face to face. She had no reason to be in the language arts building, so it was a chance meeting that never should have happened. While we knew OF each other all to well, each one standing tall in the opposite camps after the split of friendships, we each knew the other’s story, background, and role.
It was a moment in time that stood still, it seemed. Neither of us spoke, and to the outside world it passed without notice. But to us, to me, it was a form of closure, another final test I needed to pass before moving along from my college life.
I could feel her staring, wanting to see the scar, the one that even after two and a half years of careful tending to, had not fully healed and was still readily visible. I could feel it burning under my shirt as she seemed to will it to appear. I had never spoken of my side, but the wounds, the scars told enough of my story that I hadn’t needed to.
As I looked to the side past her eyes I could see the hint of the bruise her makeup had missed, a mere caption for her now obviously swollen eye. My shoulders sank.
I wanted to show her the scar, to give her the closure she needed, by proving her beliefs wrong, her rationalizations to be untrue. I wanted to give her a hug and let her know I understood, but nothing in the universe at that moment would have been more wrong for either of us.
It was not my place.
It was not my responsibility to give her the closure she craved. The answer I had was not the one she wanted. I lowered my gaze with a sad smile and as I saw her growing belly, I hoped for a girl.
Slowly I moved aside and walked past the elevator, to avoid the long awkward ride down the 6 floors. I turned the corner to the language lounge, where I knew I could breathe again.
There I would be safe, safe to recover from the person I just was, the one I was not yet ready to fully be, and to once again mourn the loss of the person I had been. I hadn’t yet learned that letting the memory flow was safer, better, shorter in the long run. That growth was still a few years away.
Instead I reached into my bag for my ever present relief, and drank it deeper, curled up on the couch, alone and quiet, allowing only me to know the memories. Allowing the scars to stop burning, if only for a little while, while their lore lived on.