I suppose I was a tomboy. My hands are rougher than adult me might like. Little slices and nicks and irregularly shaped juts of paler, new skin that might have healed if young me wasn’t a compulsive scab picker—trying to claw and pluck out the secret underbelly. The scar on my hands I like most is on the knuckle of my left middle finger, it’s shaped like a pound sign. I don’t remember what I pounded to create it.
The rest of scars on my hands came from fashioning ductwork out of sheet metal. It’s awfully uncooperative. It crackles and thwaps when being unrolled and only cuts apart jagged and snared, slicing the hands that separate it. The raised, new skin could always be old burns from an engine or close calls with a belt.
I’m sure at least one or two are from exploring. We lived on twelve wooded acres and my brother and sister and I would set out on “Muckiest Muck Expeditions” to catch frogs and slide down miniature waterfalls. Once, the sun set on an expedition and turned the woods violent, we crawled through clasping briars and swam across the still pond to make it out.
Near the pond sat our rust, white and blue pool. My Aunt gave us her old one to make room for an in ground pool, right after a hospital visit for an eye infection. It’s the kind with a deck that converges into a small walk on either side and is connected round by a small four inch deep top. The semi circle wasn’t for walking, but it was enclosed and us kids hung on to the enclosure for balance on our way round.
Mom didn’t usually swim, or play, but one day she did. She was in the water chasing me around the semi-circle, splashing and grabbing at my ankles. I slipped and my arm caught on a jagged, uncapped post on the enclosure where the bees made nests, slicing a pi symbol on the inside of my left elbow. Mom lost her smile and dragged me crying up the hill. Later Mom played that game with my brother, his pi-scar is on his left armpit.
There’s a slice on my upper thigh from Bandit. He jumped whenever he got excited. I didn’t mind. I had gotten to pick him out at Lollypop Farms. Me. He was my dog, and I loved him. When we brought him home he dragged me around the yard on his leash, happy to be free. My brother told Mom Bandit bit him in the face while he was sleeping.
My brother is a liar.
The grass got overgrown sometimes, Dad wasn’t home most days to cut it. When he did I liked to jump on the back of our little red mower and go for a ride. The blades shot out dark green clumps, and I wondered how they got wet. I’d close my eyes and breathe and lift my face to the sun and it would burn white lightning through my closed lids. I smiled at the electricity. Dad got off to get something in the woodshed and I laid down.
He didn’t know I was there, I guess. Couldn’t hear me screaming through his earplugs. He backed up and those blades hacked their way through my kicking legs and spit me up onto the fresh cut grass. It got black.
Dad rolled over the mower, slumped me over his shoulder, set me in the tub, turned the water on. Mom screamed at him. I didn’t move. I stared at myself leaking, at the water droplets trying to splash away the gashes, fuse my muscles back together, suck back in my precious blood. I don’t remember crying.