She chewed on the syllables of my name. Her accent changing everything about it. She never used it directly, it was only used in conversation with other people, as if saying my name to get my attention might cause damage – to whom, I was never sure.
She was so held together. The clothes, the hair, right down to her vocabulary, she was totally in control. She had an air of confidence about her that contradicted her self deprecating comments. There was no way she could have anything in common with me. My dishevelled appearance, stutter and obvious anxiety was surely grating on her.
I envied her control. I could never keep it together like she could. A glass statue that never moved – faultless. She was golden and I was the unpolished brass, not even classy enough to be the dirty silver. Control in its best form, and something I could never achieve.
Her held together appearance was just that – appearance.
She was different now, damaged. She was older than me and I thought that in itself was enough to put her on a better level. I saw the scratches, I tried to convince myself it was something else, but I knew I was lying to myself. I counted, I tried to – five, I counted five.
Those five little scratches proved me wrong. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know who else noticed. I wanted to know if anyone else knew this was happening Most of all I wanted her to know I understood.
Five perfect imperfections. Five perfect examples of a life that was not so in control as it appeared to be. Her behaviour, her attitude, none of it had changed. There was simply this physical blemish I was meant to ignore or never see – but I couldn’t.
I understood all of it. From the feelings that drove her to do it, to the location she chose and the pressure applied – every piece I understood. Even though now is the time when she needs to know I understand, how can I cross that line? You can’t – so you become another one of the people who notice but don’t say anything. Another person she wonders about. Another nobody.