One More Scar
It was another day that reminded Poppy of so many dark dreary days in her life. She looked in the mirror and checked out the fine lines and creases that had seemingly appeared suddenly. The last time she remembered looking in the mirror, really looking in the mirror was when she was a teenager. Her hair was golden and shining. Her skin was clear and bronzed. Her eyes were the brightest green she’d ever noticed on anyone. She was full of hope and dreams and passion for whatever her days held for her. Today, she wonders, as she has so many times, what happened?
While getting out a jar of pasta sauce from the cabinet, Poppy gauged her wrist. The force took her breath away and then the pain struck. It wasn’t as if she had never felt pain before. It was that she was all too familiar with it. I guess you could say there was a flashback of some event that brought on the same pain only that wasn’t a self-inflicted accidental pain. So many times she remembers a slap here, a smack there. Poppy had been in a cycle of relationships she didn’t understand. The victim persona just wasn’t her. She was a smart woman. Strong. Confident. But, yet year after year, she found herself in situations with men who hurt her; who broke her spirit; who made her question every passionate belief that made her who she was.
She ran some cool water over her injury at the kitchen sink. She went to the bathroom and put some ointment and a bandage on it. She looked up and saw an image in the mirror. It was her, but it wasn’t. Her clothes were different. Her hair was mussed up and ratty. There were red blotches all over her face as if she had been crying, hard. Poppy shook her head a little; she looked down at her wrist. At that moment she was awakened to the reality that her fearful days of abuse were finished. This was a hurt HE didn’t cause. This was not something she needed to cover up or make an excuse for. This wasn’t even something that happened because she did something wrong. She cut the side of her wrist on the cabinet door. That’s all there was to it.
All those years of talk about how he knew everything about her; how he would never let her be on her own and how no one else would know her the way he did – didn’t matter. It was as if she had been living on credit, on borrowed time. At some point she thought that all the things he threatened would still be true. Her current happiness and feeling of security would end any moment, she thought. She always had that idea in the back of her mind. Even while at Cub Scouts with her kids or at the grocery store; she kept one eye on the door and one thought on what do I do if he comes back now. “There will never be anyone who cares for you the way I do. I know every inch of you; every mark, every scar I put there so I could claim you as mine, any time I want.” Yet, this is the first scar Poppy had received since he moved out. He can’t say that anymore. It was one more proof that she was safe and all the threats were not valid.
Her husband didn’t understand why she was so happy to share with him how she hurt herself trying to get ready for supper. He just smiled caringly and gave her a short hug. He knew there was something beyond the cut that Poppy was thinking about, but he didn’t ask too many questions. He couldn’t understand all she went through. Talking about it in order to help him understand wouldn’t help Poppy recover, so he was there for her the best way he could be – there, strong, and loving. He was content to not understand it all; he loved her and would be there with her no matter what. He did recognize that Poppy’s eyes twinkled a little bit more that evening at dinner. It was another sign to him that his wife had taken one more step out of the survival mode and back into living.