Valentine #9

I lost my virginity to a girl who carved my name on her leg with a kitchen knife – little crusts that spelled out “John” on her skin.

I faced the blurry picture she’d sent to my cell phone, and remembered how nights before there’d been other pictures of her body:

Beautiful young girl. Small breasts. A thick nose that protruded from her skull. Traces of hair from where she hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. Sometimes lotion spread on her skin to make it run brighter like glass. Or deep red skin where the hot bath burned her, as she turned the knob a little more and a little more. Or wet – big fat droplets stuck to her skin as if tears were being pushed out of her glands. There are instances in every relationship when our bodies cry out.

Before we did it for the first time, I told her to cover my name with a bandage.

Weeks later – we are older, broken up, back together, smacked, almost caught in the girl’s bathroom in the basement of our Catholic high school.

This time, happy, she sends me a picture of the young, healed skin of her leg.

The caption says, “Look: no scars.”

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